Supporting successful lives through independent communication
For Immediate Release
June 27, 2019

VANCOUVER Adults with severe communication disabilities will be supported in living with
independence and as full participants in their communities through $9.3 million for
augmentative communication technology and professional support.

The Province will provide the funding over three years to Communication Assistance for Youth
and Adults (CAYA) to update aging equipment and client systems, and to continue helping
people with severe communication disabilities.

Speaking aids help people with communication disabilities to overcome barriers to full
participation in their communities, said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and
Poverty Reduction. This funding supports CAYA’s important role in providing services and
technologies that help hundreds of British Columbians to communicate and participate equally
in all aspects of their own lives.

CAYA gives a voice to people through a provincewide program that supports adults aged 19
years and older who require an augmentative alternative communication system due to speech
that is not functional for daily communication. Over the past three years, CAYA has provided
new or replacement communications technology to about 820 clients annually.

This new funding ensures that adults in B.C. living with communication disabilities, as a result
of conditions ranging from autism to ALS, will continue to have the supports and technology to
communicate independently with their families, co-workers, friends and neighbours, said Jeff
Riley, program manager, CAYA.

Communication assistance is more than just handing out devices, said Glenda Watson Hyatt,
a CAYA client. It is also equipping people with specialized strategies and supports to deal with
challenging situations, such as when you find yourself in a serious health-care situation without
access to your communication system.

The funding was announced at a CAYA demonstration and information session for alternative
and augmentative communication technology, highlighting B.C.’s diversity and the importance
of accessibility for everyone in the province.