Communicative Disorders Assistant | Lambton College (2023)

Program Information

This Ontario Graduate Certificate program is designed for students who wish to work as a Communicative Disorders Assistant in a supportive capacity with a qualified speech-language pathologist and/or audiologist. This 12-month program runs from September to August and prepares graduates to design and implement programming based on the assessments and treatment plans outlined by qualified speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

The CDA profession is not governed by a regulatory body or college therefore there is no accreditation pathway for our program. Lambton College itself is an accredited college and our CDAS program is recognized by the Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada as having met or exceeded the association’s standards.

Experiential Learning

Students in the Communicative Disorders Assistant program have opportunities to participate in clinical observations within a variety of populations from infancy to geriatrics. These partners include: Pathways, Bluewater Health and the EarlyON Child and Family Centres. This exposure happens before the students participate in placements.

Guest speakers who work in the field or represent family members speak to students regularly to provide a well-rounded view of the impacts of communicative disorders.

Students also participate in two clinical placements - learn more about placements.

This program is recognized by the Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada (CDAAC).

See Course List

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed, at minimum, a post-secondary diploma or degree with emphasis on communication disorders, linguistics, human anatomy, physiology, social sciences, or human services. Applicants are required to submit a transcript of their post-secondary diploma and/or degree.

Technology Requirements

In order to keep pace with the requirements of each and every course in your program, it is mandatory to own a reliable laptop to complete tests and assignments.

Course List

CDA-1003: Anatomy and Physiology of Speech Mechanism

This course will introduce key terms of anatomy and physiology used by Speech-Language Pathologists. The basic structure and function of the systems that underlie the production and perception of speech, language, cognitive communication and swallowing will be explored. Typical development and function of the structures of respiration, phonation, articulation and the nervous system will be emphasized. Reference will also be made to several communicative disorders and their clinical implications.

CDA-1053: Child Language Acquisition and Related Disorders I

This course will provide learners with an overview of typical language development. Learners will be exposed to various screening and assessment approaches and reports. The nature of language disorders will be explored with respect to the impact on the child, the family/caregivers, and community. Language intervention approaches and strategies will be presented. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be emphasized throughout.

CDA-1042: Introduction to Communication Disorders In Adults I

Course emphasis is on the communication disorders of the adult population. Basic neuroanatomy as well as normal speech and language functions will be reviewed, along with changes to these areas seen during the normal aging process. Acquired communication disorders, their cause and neuroanatomical basis with be examined, with a particular focus on those acquired conditions following stroke. The impact on patients, families and caregivers will be addressed. In addition, students will be exposed to assessment protocols and the various intervention methods and treatment approaches available.

CDA-1012: Clinical and Professional Issues I

The focus of CDA 1012 is to introduce students to the field of human communication disorders. Students will learn the roles and scopes of practice of Communicative Disorders Assistants, Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, and will examine key documents on the use of supportive personnel. Pertinent associations (CASLPO, SAC, OSLA, and CDAAC) will be discussed. Students will be introduced to a variety of methodologies used in management of communication disorders, record keeping and data collection. The topics of clinical placement, working with a supervisor, preparation of resumes, community agencies, work settings and related professions will also be covered.

CDA-1033: Introduction to Audiology

The fundamentals of sound, the human auditory mechanism and associated pathologies and syndromes will be examined. Basic audiological measures will be practiced to prepare the Communicative Disorders Assistant for the work environment. Test measures and topics specific to pediatric, adult, non-compliant and special-needs populations will also be explored. The course is designed to familiarize the student with the field of Audiology and the educational requirements to work within the field. The practical use of the equipment and computer software through in-class labs will provide the students with hands-on training of basic audiometric skills, audiometric equipment maintenance, and infection control in the Audiology clinic. The student's ability to understand etiology of a disorder/syndrome, its symptoms and treatment will help prepare the student for employment in a variety of clinical settings.

CDA-1023: Articulation and Phonology

This course is designed to provide students with introductory skills and theoretical background pertaining to treatment methodology in the areas of articulation, phonology and oral-motor function. This course involves the study of speech sound production with some emphasis on the development of phonetic transcription skills and application of these skills in describing the speech of children. Content will include normal development of speech and oral motor milestones and sequences, distinction between delayed and disordered development, typical speech production errors and phonological patterns, determining the need for intervention, and the intervention process. Students will be exposed to a sampling of assessment reports, tools, intervention activities, as well as strategies reflective of various treatment approaches. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be emphasized throughout the course.

CDA-1062: Principles of Therapy Programming

This course will focus on the principles of speech and language intervention. Learners will develop the necessary skills to create lesson plans, collect data, document behaviours, create SOAP notes, and write reports. This course will also instruct learners how to observe, elicit, and maintain desired client behaviours during intervention.

CDA-2073: Populations with Special Needs

This course will provide learners with a comprehensive review of special populations with communication impairments. Presenting features, related communication impairments and their management will be presented. Learners will also explore the importance of a team approach to intervention. The family/parent perspective will be considered throughout the course. Overall course emphasis will be on developing empathy for the situations and circumstances surrounding people with disabilities and their caregivers to better work with these individuals in the future. This will be accomplished through presentations and interviews with guests from the community who have disabilities or care for and serve those with various disabilities. Current trends and issues will also be considered. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be emphasized throughout.

CDA-2053: Child Language Acquisition and Related Disorders II

CDA 2053 builds upon the coursework of CDA 1053 to advance the learners' understanding of and ability to provide language intervention services for school-aged children. Learners are exposed to screening and assessment tools, data collection methods, lesson plans, reports, language intervention approaches, intervention activities, and strategies reflective of various treatment approaches for this population. The developmental stages of early literacy, reading and writing will also be explored, along with intervention strategies for literacy skill development. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be emphasized throughout.

CDA-2042: Introduction to Communication Disorders in Adults II

The course is a continuation of CDA 1042. Communication, cognitive and swallowing impairments following stroke and degenerative neuromuscular conditions, will be examined in detail. Classification, assessment and treatments for dysarthria, apraxia, traumatic brain injury, dementia and dysphagia will also be discussed. Students will be exposed to assessment/screening protocols and treatment tools/methods pertinent to the conditions and impairments discussed. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in the care of adults with communication, cognitive and swallowing impairments will be discussed throughout the course.

CDA-2083: Introduction to Augmentative Communication and Technology

This course is intended to introduce students to a set of strategies and methods designed to temporarily or permanently assist, support, or enhance the communication of individuals with a variety of physical, perceptual, motor and cognition disabilities. Students will demonstrate an understanding of a range of augmentative and alternative communication systems and demonstrate an understanding of the programming and maintenance of those systems in addition to practicing various treatment methods. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations will be a focus throughout this course

CDAF-2005: Field Practicum I (seven weeks)

Practicum I is designed to provide the CDA student with their initial experience working with a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist and/or Audiologist. The practicum placement provides the CDA student with the opportunity to incorporate and apply the knowledge and concepts covered in the preceding academic courses. The CDA student will spend a minimum of 245 hours at an approved agency, working under the supervision of a registered Speech-Language Pathologist and/or Audiologist. A series of competencies will be provided to demonstrate the students' desired learning outcomes. Support for the student will be provided collaboratively by agency and college staff.

CDAF-3005: Field Practicum II (seven weeks)

The second practicum helps the CDA student gain additional experience working in an assistive capacity with a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist and/or Audiologist. As with the first practicum the CDA student needs to spend a minimum of 245 hours at an approved agency. A series of competencies will be provided to demonstrate the students' desired learning outcomes. Support for the student will be provided collaboratively by agency and college staff.

CDA-3103: Fluency and Voice Disorders

This course provides an introductory understanding of theoretical and clinical issues relating to voice and fluency disorders. It focuses on the characteristics and management of speech impairments associated with voice and fluency disorders. Intervention and prevention methodologies, as well as techniques and activities for facilitating transfer, maintenance, and generalization, are discussed. Emotional and psychosocial factors related to these disorders are also considered. The role of the Communicative Disorders Assistant in implementing program recommendations is emphasized.

CDA-2013: Clinical and Professional Issues II

This course is designed to provide students with expanded skills and knowledge pertaining to professional behaviour and issues in the areas of speech-language pathology and audiology. Students will share diverse practicum experiences with each other. Professional issues such as professional practice, advocacy, and interactions with colleagues and clients will be emphasized and integral to the course. Job search strategies and preparation will also be discussed as well as current issues in the field through interactive discussions and activities.

CDA-3114: Amplification Systems and Aural Rehabilitation

This course will provide students with a broad understanding of the principles and methods of aural rehabilitation as they apply to hearing-impaired children and adults and their families. Students will develop an understanding of cochlear implants, the Deaf community, room acoustics, amplification technology, and assistive listening devices.

Program Maps

Current Students

Current students can view program maps from previous years on the mylambton website.

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Employment Opportunities

Graduates will work under the direction of a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist and/or Audiologist. Our graduates find employment as Communicative Disorders Assistants, therapy assistants, speech assistants, audiometric technicians and hearing screeners, to support individuals of all ages with a variety of communicative disorders. Employment opportunities could include positions within school boards, children's treatments centres, early years centres, hospitals, public health units, Local Health Integration Networks, or private speech or audiology clinics. Many graduates have relocated across Canada for employment opportunities in this field of study.

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