Communication Assistance

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Communication Assistance: Team

Our team members are experienced in either using or providing communication assistance. They will be guiding you through the Communication Assistance course.

Anne Abbot

My name is Anne Abbott. I am an artist, a writer and an advocate for people like me who have communication disabilities.Within my full and active life, I sell my artwork in-person and online; write a personal blog, and manage my own attendant services. I also take care of my two kittens Sherlock and Watson.

Christine Hunt

My name is Christine Hunt and I work at North Yorkers for Disabled Persons in Toronto. I support people communicating in situations such as applying for services, medical appointments and social events. Being able to help people convey what they want to communicate is so important because they know their message has been heard and it yields an immediate positive impact on the individual.

Dan Watson

My name is Dan Watson. I am a theatre artist. I work with a lot of folks who have communication disabilities. I am also the father of three and my oldest son, Bruno has a communication disability. He uses a communication book. I believe being a communication assistant is very important because everyone deserves the right to be heard and to be listened to.

Eva Miodonski

My name is Eva Miodonski. I work for an agency that supports people with disabilities to live independently. Whenever you are working with people, communication is key otherwise we don’t really understand each other. It’s important therefore to support people who have communication disabilities to be able to fully participate in their communities and interact with people around them. I am very passionate about this work.

Farrah Sattaur

My name is Farrah Sattaur. I am an advocate for people with disabilities. I like to educate the public about those us who have communication disabilities. I have worked on a number of CDAC projects.

Gabriel Ly

I am Gabriel Ly. I like the Toronto Blue Jays. My favorite musician is Justin Bieber. I often use communication assistance when communicating with people who don't know me.

Jared Scratch

My name is Jared Scratch. I have worked as a personal support worker before becoming a communication assistant. For the last several years, I facilitate communication for a university professor who has a communication disability – first as a student and now as a work place accommodation assisting him delivering his lectures.

Sarah Kilpack

My name is Sarah Kilpack. I work as a personal support worker and a communication assistant for Anne Abbott. I had no experience doing either when I started working with Anne years ago. Since then I have become a fluent communication assistant – which was very hard work to learn but very rewarding.

Tony Diamanti

I’m Tony Diamanti. I live in Toronto. I am a writer and actor. I have written a number of plays that reflect my experiences as a man with communication disabilities. I have been advocating for communication assistance services for many years.

Barbara Collier

Barbara Collier is a founding member and Executive Director of Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC).  She is a Speech-Language Pathologist and Augmentative Communication Clinician with extensive experience working with people who have significant speech, language and communication disabilities. She has worked as a clinician, educator and researcher and has headed up CDAC’s socially innovative projects relating to communication accessibility, human rights and social justice for people with speech, language and communication disabilities. In 2013, Barbara started up communication intermediary services across Canada. She is the primary author of CDAC’s resources and training programs. Barbara is the author of a number of peer reviewed publications and is a frequently invited speaker at national and international conferences. In 2010, Barbara was honoured as a Fellow of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. In 2016, on behalf of CDAC, she was awarded the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility and in 2019, she was awarded the honors of the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Sam Savona

My name is Sam Savona. I’m an advocate for people with disabilities. I sit on many boards and committees. Other than that, I do a lot of community work.

Shelley Deegan

My name is Shelley Deegan. I recently retired as a Speech-Language Pathologist from the Technology Access Clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences. I worked in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for 40 years. I am pleased to be the moderator on this Communication Assistance Course.

Jason Jang

I'm Jason Jang, Web Developer for CDAC. I have over a decade of experience in web and software. I am also a musician, taco chef, and student of chinese medicine. I'm happy my efforts with CDAC will provide help to so many.

Laure Préchonnet

My name is Laure Préchonnet. I have been working for many years as a French translator with Communication Disabilities Access Canada.

Other CDAC team Members

Videographer: Sean Story

Recruitment: Diana Kinslikh


Participants in Video Scenes

Jim Bull

Jim Bull lives in Woodstock, Ontario. He is active in his community and enjoys hockey, baseball and wrestling. Jim communicates by pointing to pictures in his communication book. Terri-Jo Shaw is his assistant in these videos and she works at Woodstick and District Developmental Services

Krystine Donato

Krystine Donato is a research assistant and project manager at Brook University. Krystine speaks and uses a device when her speech is not understood. Krystine is an active advocate for people who have communication disabilities.

Tien Hoang

Tien Hoang graduated from high school and plans to continue his education in the near future. Tien is studying screenwriting at the Toronto Film School He communicates by operating a speech-generating device with his foot.

Scott Ngo

Scott Ngo lives with his family and enjoys swimming and going to the library. He works in a local gym. In these videos, his communication is facilitated by his sister, Melissa who is Executive Director of Hand over Hand - which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering a community where people with disabilities will feel safe, accepted and supported through peer networks.

Colin Phillips

Dr. Colin Phillips is a Contract Lecturer in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University, having also held sessional appointments at Renison University College, University of Waterloo. Colin teaches courses on social policy, decolonising social work practice, and advocacy as a part of practice. Colin communicates by spelling out his messages on his communication board or typing on his speech-generating device. His communication assistant in these videos is Michael Posthumus.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott is retired. He worked as an environmental planner with Ontario Hydro. After a stroke, he communicates using his speech, pointing to words, pictures and maps and using his smart phone and a communication device.