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Province raises more voices through speech support program

The provincial government is giving a voice to those with speech disabilities, investing $4 million for the Communications Assistance for Youth and Adults program (CAYA).

The initiative provides technology aid for residents suffering from cerebral palsy, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or ALS.

Program Manager Jeff Riley says this is one of the most debilitating conditions one could have.

“The way you navigate life is by communicating with others and getting people to help you, to cooperate with you, to socialize with you; everything that we think of as the full human life revolves around communication.”

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More than 2,300 people in BC need professional support to get them through everyday life, but Riley says however, the actual number could be greater.

“Not all of those people come forward for assistance and some people never come forward for assistance, as it is with a lot of different conditions. If something is offered, then people have to take it; they have to avail themselves of the opportunity to have that.”

He says people in Northern BC rarely report any help needed from CAYA, and encourages anyone with possible needs to simply ask.

The money itself will go towards technology advancements and upgrades, like monitors on wheelchairs or text-to-speech devices.

Riley adds he’s grateful for the boost, but emphasizes that you can never have too much donations, whether it be from government or the public.

“You can imagine that this is like a piece of technology that you take everywhere and you use it for every interaction that you have in all circumstances. So they do wear out at the end of its life span and needs to be replaced.”

Since 2005, CAYA has received a total of almost $27 million from the province to support the cause.

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