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 Western Institute of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Vancouver

Service Priorities

In February, 2015, CAYA was recognized in the BC Provincial Budget with budget line funding of $5.7 million for the next three operating years 2015-2018 ($1.9 million annually) from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. On March 31, 2017, the Province of BC committed $4 million dollars of funding to CAYA over the next two years, to March, 2019. This welcome funding will be applied to…

  • An increase in the annual operating budgets for 2017-18 and 2018-19 ($2.3M annually), with a temporary increase in clinical staff to address client wait times for service
  • Expanding community SLP capacity to enable more clients to be assessed and served.
  • Replacing older, obsolete, and unrepairable equipment in active use by clients and in the loan bank, with updated technology
  • Updating and enhancing CAYA’s key information system, CAYAdata, the backbone of services provided by CAYA across the province

This funding will allow CAYA to continue to provide communication devices and services to people with complex communication disabilities in BC until March 31, 2019.

There is a wait list for service. As of July 2017, wait-time for service is…

  • an average of 10 months,
  • a range from 2-to-38 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.