A Communicative Disorders Assistant, or CDA for short, is a person who has been trained to perform hearing and speech-language screenings, implement therapy and work with a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and families. They come from a variety of academic backgrounds, but usually in social services, child development, or speech sciences. They are uniquely trained in the delivery of therapy under the supervision of a Speech-Language Pathologist. For more information you can go to Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists or the Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada
All About Communication uses CDAs with clients when appropriate and this decision is made with families after assessment has been completed. Families choose CDAs for a variety of reasons. One of them is because CDAs are highly trained to provide therapy in all areas of speech and language. Sometimes they have training in providing therapy in an area that an SLP is not as proficient. For example, one of my CDAs has extra training and experience in Augmentative and Alternative Communication that outweighs my own experience (although I continue to learn so that I can catch up!!). Another reason that families choose a CDA for therapy is budget. At All About Communication, CDAs bill less than SLPs allowing for more therapy for some families. Whatever your reason for choosing a CDA, remember that they are always supervised by an SLP and that an SLP will be coming to see your child regularly to reassess and update goals.
I’m often asked if CDAs are covered by insurance. While every private insurance company is different, I have never come across one who will not cover therapy by a CDA who is being supervised by an SLP. Receipts should always contain the name of both the CDA and the supervising SLP ensuring that submitting to insurance goes off without any difficulties. I have often fielded calls from insurance companies about CDAs and once the relationship is explained insurance claims have been approved. All the CDAs that provide services with All About Communication are highly educated and experienced and all have memberships with the Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada.
CDAs are magical. Families love them, I love them. I often ask them for therapy ideas and the CDAs that work for me are some of the most dedicated, selfless individuals I have met, who will bend over backwards to help clients and families!