FAQ’s & Information for The Speech Clinic’s New Clients

Is there any coverage for private speech-language pathology services?

Do you work with motor-vehicle accident benefits insurance?

What should I expect at my first private visit to the clinic?

Are your speech-language pathologists registered?

What is the difference between a CDA and an SLP?


Here are some common questions our clients have about our speech-language services. If you don’t find the answer to your question here, please call or email The Speech Clinic.

Do I need a doctor’s referral to see a speech-language pathologist?

No, we do not require a referral from your doctor to see one of our speech-language pathologists. You can call our office and book your free screening, or book an assessment yourself. Your insurance company may require a doctor’s note before the first visit however. Each plan is different, so you need to check your plan for those details.

Is there any coverage for private speech-language pathology services?

Yes, most extended health care benefits cover a yearly amount for speech-language pathology services. It is important to check your insurance company’s requirements – some require a doctor’s note before the first visit in order for you to be reimbursed. All plans are different which is why it is important to check. As well, our services are tax deductible.

Do you work with motor-vehicle accident benefits insurance?

Yes, we have a number of speech-language pathologists who have worked with clients with acquired brain injury for over 5 years. Our SLP’s also have completed OSLA’s (Ontario Speech-Language and Audiology Association) recommended cognitive-communication courses levels I and II, as well as additional extensive continuing education in acquired brain injury (ABI). We are familiar with SABS/FSCO guidelines, and are registered with the HCAI web-based billing service.

What should I expect at my first private visit to the clinic?

Our speech-language pathologist (SLP) will gather information and/or review basic information that was provided on the phone when you booked your appointment. They will also ask you a number of questions specifically about the concerns you are having.

In addition:
Screening Appointment: The SLP will complete the screening which may include cursory testing, a discussion about the concerns, and observation. The cursory tests, questions, and observations chosen are based on the concerns that you or your family member have expressed. From this screening, our SLP will let you know if they feel an assessment is necessary.


Assessment Appointment: The SLP will ask you a variety of specific questions about the concerns you or the family member has. They will also have you complete a series of tasks and/or tests to assess the areas of concern. If it is a child being assessed, it is likely that the SLP will want to observe how your child communicates with you, and how your child plays. The SLP may watch your child for a while, and then interact with your child to get further information on specific communication exchanges. Although this might look like the SLP is either ‘just watching’, or ‘just playing’ with your child, please be assured that they are looking for specific speech-language milestones. These observations provide invaluable information during the assessment process, and will help determine appropriate and personalized goals.


For parents or family members that are interested, we also have one-way observation mirrors in some of our treatment rooms. This allows the parent/family member to observe their child in and assessment or therapy session. The mirrors are a great tool for having the child undistracted by the parent/family member during the assessment or therapy session.

Are your speech-language pathologists registered?

All of our speech-language pathologists have a master’s university degree in speech-language pathology, and all belong to the College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists of Ontario (CASLPO) as mandated for regulated health professions. Our speech-language pathologists also belong to other important organizations such as the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists of Canada (CASLPA), the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA), and other organizations that are of particular interest to each SLP.

What is the difference between a CDA and an SLP?

At The Speech Clinic there are roles for both Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) and Communication Disorders Assistants (CDAs); however, all of our direct therapy sessions are carried out by our Speech-Language Pathologists. At The Speech Clinic we feel strongly that clients and their families see greater benefit, have more effective sessions, and see faster improvement when they are seen by a speech-language pathologist for direct therapy. We feel this way because in our clinical experience, we often see the need to modify and change goals within a session to ensure the most up to date and effective goals, something a CDA is not permitted to do based on our regulatory college guidelines.

The main differences between Communication Disorders Assistants and Speech-Language Pathologists are as follows:

  • The SLP is a regulated health professional and is recognized as such by the Ministry of Health in Ontario. As their title suggests, the CDA is an assistant to the speech-language pathologist.
  • An SLP has a master’s level university degree and is specifically trained in diagnosing and treating communication disorders. A CDA has completed a college level program that specializes in how to assist a speech-language pathologist.
  • An SLP will complete your assessment, score it, and provide you with the results of that assessment. A CDA will not complete an assessment, and does not score or provide results/reports.
  • An SLP will develop appropriate goals based on the assessment, and will actively change/modify goals as needed. Goal changes and modifications can happen within a session, and over a number of sessions. A CDA cannot develop or modify goals; they can however, work on goals with the direct instruction and supervision of the speech-languagepathologist. The SLP is responsible for all programming that the CDA implements.
  • Some health care benefits will cover the costs of therapy with an SLP, but not with a CDA. If there is any question with coverage you should contact your health care insurer directly.


We are happy to have some CDAs working on our augmentative communication team for Children’s Treatment Network – a consultative program for children with significant communication difficulties. The CDAs assist the SLPs with developing communication aids, and help to train clients and their communication partners how to use these communication aids.

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