Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) has been busy over the last few weeks, spreading the message about communication access for individuals with speech and language disabilities. Here are a few highlights…


On January 26, 2015, Barbara Collier, Executive Director of Communication Disabilities Access Canada, and India Ochs, member of the Executive Board of Directors for International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), met with Judith Heumann, US State Department Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. They discussed the need to include accessibility requirements of people with speech and language disabilities in policy and guidelines.  Judith Heumann reported that she will do her best to raise awareness of the needs of this population.

On February 4th, fifty federal government workers representing 20 departments attended an information session given by Barbara. As a result, citizens can expect to see more communication access symbols going up around Ottawa and hopefully more accessible government services for people with speech and language disabilities, especially services typically provided over the telephone. Canadians with speech and language disabilities also should expect government services that host public events to  include communication assistance as an accessibility accommodation. Let us know your experiences.

Barbara also had a good meeting with policy analysts from the Senior Policy Unit. The group is excited about connecting the dots between communication access and supports for seniors.

Our Latest Resource:

No two individuals with speech and language disabilities are the same. We have different accessibility requirements, depending upon our unique situation and abilities. Communication Access Now (CAN) has released the new resource Communication Profiles, which describe what two individuals with speech and language disabilities need to effectively communicate. Other profiles will be added over time.

On the West Coast:

Lois Turner, CAN Regional Coordinator for BC, conducted an Ambassadors Workshop for individuals living in Victoria. The participants learned about the CAN project, what their communication rights are, how to communicate their accessibility needs and how to promote communication access. They are all interested in working with a Speech-Language Pathologist to spread the CAN message.

Last week, our Social Media Coordinator Glenda Watson Hyatt had the pleasure of sharing about the communication access symbol and the communication access card with the  Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults (CAYA) Chat Group.

It was exciting to hear that several participants with speech and language disabilities have already been using the communication access card at banks, restaurants and other places in their communities. It is quite an empowering tool!

In Ontario:

Communication Access Now was at the Riverbrink Art Museum in Queenston, Ontario. Regional Coordinator Tracy Shepherd presented to the Museums of Niagara Association (MONA) including managers from the Niagara Historical Museum, Jordan Historical Museum, Riverbrink Art Museum, Niagara Falls Museums, Grimsby Museum, and St. Catherine Museum along with some members of the community.

It was a pleasure to arrive at the Museum to see the communication access symbol already prominently displayed!

In Atlantic Canada:

Atlantic Regional Coordinator Debbie Maud has been writing a flurry of letters and emails to groups interested in learning more about communication access. Hopefully, a slew of meetings and presentation will soon follow.

To have someone speak to your city, business or organization about communication access, please contact your regional coordinator.

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We look forward to sharing and connecting with you.