Frequently asked questions and information
Q: What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
A: Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP's) are highly educated professionals who have a minimum of a master’s degree in their field. As in any health-care related profession, SLPs are required to study anatomy and physiology, but they also study neuroanatomy, genetics, human and language development, linguistics, psychology, acoustics and more, which is why they are qualified to evaluate, diagnose (restricted in some provinces/territories) and treat a broad range of delays and disorders.
Q: What is a Communicative Disorders Assistant?
A regulated profession: Information on the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (CASLPO)
A: A Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA) is support personnel under the supervision of a Speech-Language Pathologist. CDAs possess a graduate Certificate in combination with various undergraduate degrees or diplomas in areas such as Linguistics, Early Childhood Education, Social Work and Educational Assistants.
CDA's are highly trained and can provide one to one or group treatment for communication disorders in adults, adolescents and children with communication difficulties, language and hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and speech disorders.
CDA's possess a diploma and/or an undergraduate degree, typically in human services or social sciences,
a post-graduate CDA diploma or certificate, and, in most cases, prior work or volunteer experience in the field of communication disorders.
CDAs’ coursework and training covers all of the following areas:
speech (including anatomy and physiology, sound acquisition and developmental errors, phonological processes, apraxia, dysarthria, transcribing using the international phonetic alphabet, fluency and voice),
language (including typical development, special populations, language sampling and calculating mean length of utterance),pragmatics, adult neurogenic disorders, audiology (including anatomy of the ear, basic audiometric screenings and hearing aid technology), augmentative and alternative communication (including Voice Output Communication Aids, the Picture Exchange Communication System and use of communication software such as Boardmaker)
CDA's under the supervision of an SLP are fully eligible for insurance re-imbursement.
Q: Why might my child need Speech Therapy?
A: Communication Development Begins Earlier Than You Think.
Hearing your child’s first word is one of the most highly-anticipated moments for any parent. While the joy of hearing your baby speak for the first time is a momentous occasion, a child's communication development actually begins long before the first word. From the time they are born, children start communicating. Even during those first few months of life, babies learn to understand what you are saying and begin making sounds of their own.
One of the first tests your baby undergoes should be a newborn hearing screening; this quick, easy and painless screening should be carried out by an audiologist before you leave the hospital. In some provinces, early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) programs will carry out this test automatically; if they don't, you should ask about the availability of the service.
The First Three Years Are Critical! The ability to communicate effectively with others is the very foundation of a child's social, emotional and educational development; and, research has shown that the first three years is the most critical period for growth. Early identification and intervention of speech, language and hearing disorders is absolutely key: the earlier a communication disorder is identified, the better the chances for improvement or even recovery. Because learning is a cumulative process, difficulties early-on can have a cascading effect on the rest of a child’s life. A slow start out of the gate will mean playing catch-up for years to come.
Speech-Language Pathologists can help with language, speech and swallowing, and audiologists can help with hearing, balance and auditory disorders such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). But the first step is up to you; for your child, parent, friend or yourself: being aware of the signs and knowing what to do are your most powerful tools.
Q: Do I need a referral to receive Speech Therapy?
A: No. A doctor's referral is not necessary for a speech and language assessment or treatment. You can book an assessment directly with the SLP. (Speech-Language Pathologist) It may be required, however, by your extended health care plan for reimbursement of fees.
Q: How do I know if my child needs treatment with an SLP or CDA?
A: Some of the indicators your child might need treatment with a Speech Therapist;
You or other people are having difficulty understanding your child
If people think your child is younger than they are because of the way they speak
If your child is being teased or showing frustration because of the way they talk
If your child is using fewer words compared to same aged peers
If your child stutters
If your child’s interactions or play seems unusual or inappropriate
If your child is struggling with reading or writing
If your child has a diagnosis that could affect his/her speech or language such as hearing loss, auditory processing disorder, autism, cleft palate, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, etc.
Talking using mostly vowels, omitting whole consonants, saying "a" for "cat"
Still saying single words only, and not phrases or sentences
Using a limited vocabulary. Or saying a word once and then not using it again
Not pointing to objects in books. If you say, "Show me the kitty cat," he flips the page or repeats the phrase but doesn't actually point to the animal
Answering a question by repeating part of your question. If you say, "Do you want milk?" he responds by saying, "...you want milk?" instead of nodding his head or saying yes (this is called echolalia, and may be an early sign of autism)
Not following simple directions and understanding prepositions such as under, on, or over. For instance, he doesn't turn around when you say, "Your ball is right behind you"
Struggling with grammatical markers (pronouns, verb tenses)
Not changing or developing his language much from month to month
If you are unsure or have any questions, please email us. We'd be happy to discuss your concerns.
Q: How long are sessions?
A: Assessment sessions are typically 1-2 hours in length. This allows for the necessary testing to be completed, as well as consultation with parents to review the assessment findings and recommendations.
Therapy sessions are typically 45min to one hour in length. This includes work with the child, as well as consultation with parents to discuss progress, strategies and home programming. It is strongly encouraged that parents are involved in the therapy so they may continue the therapy goals at home and incorporate them into their child’s daily routine.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Our fees are highly competitive and follow the recommended fee schedule from the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA). Clients are responsible to pay directly on a per session basis. Our services are not covered by OHIP; however, many clients have extended (supplemental) health care plans that provide partial or full coverage for speech and language services. You are encouraged to check with your benefit plan for this coverage.
Q: How long will my child require therapy?
A: Every child is unique and this depends on the child's diagnosis, age and treatment plan.
If you have any other questions we have not covered on our website, please reach out to us HERE. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. We're here to help.