NAVIGATING THE LEGAL WORLD WITH A COMMUNICATION DISABILITY CAN BE HARD
Accessing police, legal, and justice services when you are experiencing a speech or language difficulty can be challenging and could have serious consequences if the individuals involved do not have a proper understanding of your communication difficulties.
A person experiencing communication difficulties as a result of cerebral palsy, autism, cognitive disability, traumatic brain injury, learning disability, stroke, dementia, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or other conditions may need assistance when:
- Making statements to the police/participating in police investigations
- Giving reliable testimony in court
- Expressing opinions at legal meetings
- Giving informed consent
- Participating in capacity evaluations, child custody cases, will and estates and other matters
WE CAN HELP!
Communication Intermediaries are qualified speech-language pathologists who have received additional training from CDAC (Communication Disabilities Access Canada). They help anyone who has a speech and/or language disability to communicate in legal and justice settings. These services include:
- Explaining how a person communicates
- Providing clarification around a person’s level of understanding
- Helping a person to understand questions
- Helping a person to communicate their answer
- Protecting the integrity of a person’s communication
S. L. Hunter Speechworks is proud to employ several clinicians who are CDAC-trained Communication Intermediaries and are registered with the official Communication Intermediary Roster at www.access-to-justice.org/p/comm_intermediary_roster
WHO CAN USE THESE SERVICES?
Communication Intermediaries can be useful for any individual who has a speech and/or language disability that makes it difficult for them to:
- understand what is being said
- express their thoughts in a clear manner
Or if they:
- communicate using pictures, symbols, a letter board, or device
- require a neutral, arms-length, qualified person to assist with communication
Or, if the police, legal, or justice professionals:
- require validation on the communication assistance provided by another individual
- wants input on communication access accommodations and how to record testimony provided in ways other than speech
WHO PAYS FOR COMMUNICATION INTERMEDIARY SERVICES?
Like other accessibility services (e.g. sign language interpreters, language translators, etc.), the services provider (i.e. police, lawyer, court, victim services, health care facility) is responsible for payment of communication intermediary services.
For more information or to arrange for communication intermediary services for yourself or a loved one, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org