We are now accepting registrations for our fall 2024 program on a first come, first served basis (maximum three clients). Future program dates are TBD.

Questions Commonly Received from Potential Clients and Their Family Members

Q:  What is aphasia?

A:  Aphasia is a communication impairment resulting from damage to the language areas of the brain, such as may occur from a stroke or brain injury. It can result in mildly to profoundly reduced abilities in any or all of the language modalities of listening, speaking, reading or writing. Because communication is so central to every aspect of human life, aphasia can interfere with family roles, employment, hobbies and social life;  often, aphasia leads to social isolation and depression. See About Aphasia on this website for more information.

Q:   Who is this program designed for?

A:  Our intensive aphasia treatment program is best suited to people who have “chronic” aphasia (that is, aphasia of more than one year duration).  However, we will certainly not turn someone away who is less than a year post-stroke, if we otherwise feel they will benefit from our approach.  There is no upper limit on time post onset. In order to be eligible, you must have been diagnosed with aphasia by an SLP, neurologist, neuropsychologist or physiatrist (a rehabilitation medicine doctor); you must be medically stable and have sufficient stamina and attention to take part in an intensive treatment program of this nature. Participants must be independent for toileting, eating and transfers, or bring someone with them who is capable of assisting with these needs. The program is designed for those who had fluent command of English prior to developing aphasia, who also have sufficient vision and hearing to participate in a non-adapted program. To discuss whether or not this program is suitable for your needs, please contact itawc@columbiaspeech.com or call us at 604-875-9100.

Q: What kinds of treatment will be offered?

A:  The specific type of intensive aphasia therapy provided will be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on your needs and goals. The program is comprehensive, in that multiple treatment approaches are available. In general, treatments will focus on speaking, auditory comprehension, reading and writing, conversational skills, functional communication, social participation and use of technology as appropriate. All treatments used are evidence-based.  You will receive 3 hours of daily therapy from our SLPs.

Q: What sort of results should I expect?

A:  No guarantee of outcome is provided.  However, you can rest assured that the treatment you will receive will be based both on extensive clinical experience and on current research, including the latest knowledge in the field regarding evidence-based practice. The team developing our intensive aphasia therapy program includes veteran SLPs Wendy Duke and Alisa Ferdinandi, who together have almost 50 years of experience working with clients with aphasia and who have trained numerous student SLPs over the years.

Q: Is the involvement of family members required?

A:  You need to bring a family member or communication partner with you but they do not need to be with you throughout the entire four weeks of the intensive aphasia therapy program.  They need to be there for at least the first day and the last day. Additional family involvement is encouraged. We recommend against having family members involved full-time, however, as we wish to foster independence for our clients.

Q:  What are the program dates?

A:  The next scheduled program will take place in the fall of 2024, and will run for 20 days, for 3 hours per day, Monday to Friday (Tuesday to Friday for the first week). We anticipate running two to three programs per year, with the next session after the fall scheduled to run in the winter of 2025 (dates and cost TBC).

Q:  Where does the program take place?

A:  The programs will take place at the wheelchair-accessible offices of Columbia Speech and Language Services, Inc., at 1755 West Broadway in Suite #507.

Q:  Are there accommodations nearby?

A:  We will be happy to put you in touch with hotels in the vicinity.   Some of our clients have also booked private accommodation through on-line bed and breakfast services.

Q:  What is the cost of the program?

A:  The program costs for the iTAWC fall 2024 program are as follows and are subject to our refund policy (which follows and which we recommend you read carefully):

Register on or by (DATES TBD) – $12,000 CAD ($9000 USD)*
Register after (DATES TBD) – $15,000 CAD ($11,000 USD)*

The price includes all assessment, treatment and supplies.  It does not include accommodation, meals, parking and other miscellaneous items of a personal nature.  There is no tax on the treatment fee.

* does not include a $395 CAD ($300 USD) non-refundable application fee.  This covers our costs in reviewing the application and does not provide a guarantee of acceptance into the program.  Please note, upon the discretion of management, this fee may be waived for clients who have been treated by us in the past.

Q:  What is your application/payment process?

1.  Call us (604-875-9100) to enquire about the suitability of our program for yourself or your family member.
2.  Request an application package from us.  Return the completed package to us.  Allow some time to complete this, as multiple components are required, along with payment (see point 3) and other documentation.
3. In the application package, you will be asked to provide two cheques; the first cheque will be a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $395 CAD ($300 USD).  (For returning or current clients, this fee may be waived at our discretion).  The second cheque will be for the full amount of the registration fee ($12,000-$15,000 CAD ($9000 – $12,000 USD) depending on when you register) and will be subject to the refund policies outlined in the next section. We recommended that neither cheque should be post-dated as our limited registration is on a first-come first-served basis and your registration will be effective as of the date of full payment.  In the event that we do not accept your application your second cheque will be returned to you or shredded.

Q:  What is your refund policy?

A:  Upon confirmation of each client registration, we immediately begin work to ensure the best possible experience for that client;  we also must commit to paying certain fixed costs, such as staffing and space allocation, for the program’s entire duration.  For these reasons, full refunds are not possible, regardless of reason, at any point after registration.  Under certain circumstances, we will consider written requests for partial refunds on the following schedule:

65 days before the start date – $2500 CAD ($2175 USD)

After 65 days before the start date, no partial refunds will be provided unless we are able to move a client from our waiting list into your spot;  in this case a $2000 CAD ($1200 USD) refund will be provided.

Note that the application fee of $395 CAD ($300 USD) is not refundable under any circumstances.

Q:  Is there any funding available?

A:  There are no consistent funding sources currently available.  We recommend that you contact your local Health Authority’s Acquired Brain Injury Services to see if they would assist you with the funding and that you explore your extended health benefits if you have these, or any other sources of funding that might be specific to you, such as through the Department of Veterans Affairs, ICBC, WorkSafe or Crime Victims Assistance Program if relevant. We have had clients successfully fundraise through “GoFundMe” and similar initiatives.  If you are an SLP referring a client, we recommend that you do not let financial considerations stop you from informing a client of this program;  in our experience, clients can be very resourceful about fundraising for their own treatment.

Q:  When should I register?

A: We are now accepting applications for our fall 2024 program. If you are interested in future programs, please inquire. For more information or to request an application package, please get in touch with us at itawc@columbiaspeech.com or by phone at 604-875-9100.

Questions Commonly Received from Referring Speech-Language Pathologists

Q:  Will you accept people with fluent aphasia?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Will you accept people with concurrent apraxia of speech?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Will you accept people who are very high functioning?

A:  Yes.  In fact, if your client has mild aphasia, you may be interested to know that the clinicians at iTAWC have had extensive experience assisting people with stroke or traumatic brain injury in returning to work and/or school.

Q:  Will you accept people who have global aphasia or are non-verbal?

A:  Yes.

Q:  Is there a lower or upper age limit?

A:  No.  An individual’s ability to participate is determined by their stamina, medical stability and willingness to work in an environment where many of their fellow participants will be middle-aged.  An older person with energy and stamina is more than welcome in our program. For younger people such as teens, we suggest only that they consider carefully if they would be comfortable in an environment in which they will likely be the youngest client present.

Other Questions? If you have any other questions, please email us at itawc@columbiaspeech.com or phone us at 604-875-9100.