Individuals eligible for CAYA include:

Adults aged 19 years and older who require an AAC system due to a severe communication disability, i.e. speech that is not functional for daily communication*

Adults aged 19 years and older who are already using an AAC system, but require further training and resources to improve or maintain communicative function

Students in Grade 12 (or the last year of their K-12 program) who require an AAC system post-graduation

*This does not include individuals whose primary communication disability is a hearing loss. CAYA does not provide hearing aids or assisted listening devices. Individuals with hearing disabilities are encouraged to contact the Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility (formerly the Western Institute of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) in Vancouver

Service Priorities

In 2019, CAYA received a renewed mandate in the BC provincial budget from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to continue to the important work of addressing the needs of adults in BC with severe communication disabilities. The official news release from the Government of BC may be viewed here.

This welcome funding will allow CAYA to continue to provide communication devices and services to people with complex communication disabilities in BC until March 31st, 2022.

There is a wait list for service. As of July 2019, the wait-time for service is…

  • an average of 9 months,
  • a range from 2-to-26 months.

CAYA operates on 3 intake cycles per year. To ensure that we address the needs of individuals with fairness and responsiveness, Requests for Service will continue to be triaged and activated based on a range of individual factors including:

  • urgency (e.g. terminal diagnosis, imminent loss of housing or employment due to loss of communication)
  • geographical factors (CAYA provides service across BC, to keep costs down we cluster visits to remote regions)
  • transition factors (enabling individuals to smoothly leave school, or move from institutional to individual living situations)
  • length of time on waitlist
  • other factors as identified

Who Are CAYA Clients?

CAYA clients have either never had or have recently lost the capacity for functional speech. The origins of these problems stem from problems at birth (e.g. cerebral palsy) or genetic conditions (e.g. Down’s Syndrome) or acquired conditions (e.g. traumatic brain injury, ALS). Most CAYA clients have long-standing communication disabilities and CAYA is there to ensure that they have the communication supports to build an adult life of the greatest possible independence. Teams who support CAYA Clients must agree to participate in the assessment process and continue the implementation of the communication system on a daily/regular basis as part of the Personal Support Plan.

Approximately 50% of CAYA clients have congenital disabilities, and 50% have later acquired disabilities.