The Province has committed to providing an additional $1.5 million in support for the Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults (CAYA) program, announced Moira Stilwell, M.D., Minister of Social Development today.
CAYA's innovative technology solutions give people who do not have the capacity for functional speech the ability to communicate and participate more fully in their communities. By offering people with communication disabilities the tools to work, volunteer, and build relationships, they are able to create opportunities for greater independence and an improved quality of life.
Using communication devices like Dynawrite, Vantage and other tools, individuals with complex communication issues can do things that many take for granted - the ability to have a phone conversation, order food in a restaurant, use Skype and participate in group discussions.
In 2012, the Province committed $5.7 million in funding over three years to help support the CAYA program. The addition of this one-time conditional grant of $1.5 million brings the total provincial contribution for CAYA to more than $16.8 million since 2005.
CAYA provides equipment and services to adults and youth aged 19 or older with complex communication disabilities. Since 2005, CAYA has provided approximately 915 British Columbians with communications technologies.
The goal of CAYA is to ensure that eligible individuals have access to the communication tools and professional support to enable them to create an adult life to the best of their abilities.
B.C. is committed to creating a system of supports to ensure all British Columbians with disabilities are given every opportunity to participate more fully in the province's social and economic life.
Minister of Social Development Moira Stilwell, M.D. -
"To appreciate what a life changer this technology is, you simply need to talk to someone who has been given the means to communicate, to realize that every dollar we are able to provide CAYA will positively impact the quality of life for the recipient, their families and their greater community."
Jeffrey Riley, manager of the Communication Assistance for Youth and Adults program -
"This additional funding will ensure that at least 60 more people with severe communication disabilities in B.C. will have their own voice, and the communication supports and technology to create an adult life of the greatest possible independence."
"On behalf of CAYA and the hundreds of CAYA clients we serve, we are extremely grateful for the responsiveness of the B.C. government to the significant challenge faced by people without functional speech."
CAYA client, Cheryl Jaud of Richmond B.C. -
"My portable Litewriter makes it so much easier to communicate with my family, co-workers, friends and people in my community. I find that my everyday life has improved greatly. I am so happy to be able to talk to people and be understood over the telephone. I am proud that I can now make my own appointments. Thank you CAYA for forever changing my life!"
- Over 700,000 people with disabilities live in B.C., and about 4,480 of these individuals are living with a communication disability.
- By October 15, 2012, CAYA had assisted approximately 915 people with communications disabilities with equipment enabling them to speak.
- CAYA clients have either never had or have recently lost the capacity for functional speech due to problems at birth or early life (cerebral palsy) or genetic conditions (Down's syndrome) or acquired conditions (traumatic brain injury).
For more information on CAYA visit: www.cayabc.org/
For more information on the Employment Program of British Columbia, which provides services to individuals with disabilities, visit: www.workbccentres.ca
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Social Development