Why a CDA?

How I imagine language stored in the brain ready for output.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I am a Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA), more commonly known as a Speech Language Assistant (SLA), (recent grads may be using Communication Health Assistant), who supports a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) (and/or Audiologist) by:

  • Providing treatment that is customized for the client, their family, and their learning styles.
  • Targeting speech and language therapy goals from the SLP (or Audiologist) in a treatment plan.
  • Collecting data or language samples for measurement of progress of goals, types of prompts and cues.
  • Creating and programming Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) visuals.
  • Writing progress notes documenting types of prompts and cues to support.
  • Providing feedback to the client and their caregiver about weekly progress and homework.
  • Monthly meetings with SLP for documentation review and joint sessions as per allotted supervision.

How Do I Do All of This?

  • Play – songs, books, toys, sensory, pretend & imaginary play, constructional.
  • Activities – art, music, drills – anything that is interesting to the client.
  • Games – people games, rule-based, structured, made-up, reinforcers.
  • Conversations – with the client and their families, with the SLP and colleagues, with the community.
  • Handouts – visual representation of strategies and homework for carry-over.
  • In-person (strict guidelines during pandemic).
  • Virtual care (mostly during pandemic).

What Are the Tricks?

  • Encouragement
  • Engagement
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Interpretation
  • Adaptability
  • Understanding
  • Compassion

Educating on Communication

  • Language is the understanding and knowledge of the world around us.
  • Speech is a way to verbally express our understanding and knowledge.
  • Communication is how we connect with others to share these messages: verbal and non-verbal.
  • Connection is the key to a good interaction.
  • A good interaction has a balanced back and forth which leads to opportunities for learning and sharing.

Lessons Learned

  • Foundational skills of a good interaction should not be skipped!
  • A lot of layers of strategies within strategies come into play.
  • Naturalistic approach integrated with structured approach always seems to be successful.
  • Speech, language, and communication are my passion.
  • I can go on forever about these linguistic subjects!

This is me…my ‘why’. Unraveling more potential after my Technical Writing journey, resurfacing for more.

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