So You Want to Learn About Speech-Language Pathology? New Student Resource Guide

Credit: Evonne Syed & Imad Ali, McMaster University

Two students from McMaster University have developed a student resource guide which serves as an introduction to the profession of speech-language pathology for high school students, youth and all aspiring speech-language pathologists.

Written and designed by Evonne Syed and Imad Ali, in consultation with their professor and SAC member, Dr. Lyn Turkstra, the guide aims to inspire generations of speech-language pathologists to come.

The guide answers questions like:

  • What is a speech-language pathologist?
  • What do they do? Who do they help?
  • How much money can I expect to make?
  • Is this career right for me?
  • … and more!

Access the student resource guide now.

Report on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Communication Accessibility for Adults with Hearing Loss

Credit: Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility

The Survey & The Report

Earlier this year, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), University of British Columbia (UBC), and Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility worked together to collect information from Canadians who experience hearing loss and deafness about how the pandemic has impacted their daily lives.

They received insights from close to 700 responses who noted the demand for universal captioning, impacts of masks on communication, and the ability to receive accessible information from the government and media outlets on COVID-19.

The results from this report will provide a foundation to better understand the impact the pandemic has had on our communities and to ensure that moving forward, we can address these challenges as we continue to manage COVID-19 throughout the recovery phase and beyond.

Click here to read the full report.

Key Findings in The Report

  • More than 80% of individuals with hearing loss found it difficult to understand others with face masks.
  • 60% of individuals reported that their mental health has been negatively affected as a result of the pandemic.
  • At least one-quarter of individuals with higher severity of hearing loss were unable to obtain hearing health services due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Only 16% of respondents reported obtaining hearing or hearing aid services remotely from a specialist such as an audiologist or hearing instrument practitioner.
  • Over 60% of respondents reported difficulty in understanding others who are behind plexiglass barriers.
  • At least 60% of respondents indicated that having captioning available would help improve communication with others in video calls and at virtual events.

The Webinar

In May 2021, the research team hosted a webinar where the principal investigators, Dr. Brenda Poon, Wavefront Centre Senior Research Fellow and Assistant Professor at UBC, and Dr. Lorienne Jenstad, Associate Professor at UBC School of Audiology & Speech Sciences, presented the preliminary findings from their work.

Watch the recording of this webinar.


Launch of the World Health Organization’s HEARING screening: considerations for implementation

Credit: The World Health Organization


The first ever World Report on Hearing was launched in 2021, as a technical guide outlining the  ongoing shifts  in the global epidemiology  of hearing loss, capturing available solutions and  current challenges for  ear and hearing care and also establishing priorities to be addressed. It highlights the link between addressing hearing loss and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The rational for hearing screening across the life course is well outlined in the report. The report shows that increasing hearing screening and early intervention coverage during the next 10 years requires an additional annual per capita investment of US$ 1.33. The resulting health gain during the 10-year period would avert nearly 130 million DALYs (disability adjusted life years), benefit 1.4 billion people and yield a return of nearly US$ 16 for each 1 dollar invested.

The World Report on Hearing recommends that World Health Organization (WHO) Member States take urgent and evidence-based policy action to prevent, identify and rehabilitate hearing loss.

To render technical support to the  Member  States  in implementing the recommendation of the world report into, WHO has developed the HEARING screening: considerations for implementation. This handbook provides technical guidance required for establishing evidence-based programmes for hearing screening facilitating early identification and interventions to address hearing loss and related ear diseases in target groups.
The purpose of the handbook is to provide guidance on how to undertake:

  • Hearing screening in newborns and infants
  • School-based ear and hearing screening
  • Hearing screening in older people

Series of Webinars

The WHO invites you to a series of webinar on the HEARING screening: considerations for implementation.

October 6, 2021

Focus on HEARING SCREENING: considerations for implementation guidance on the hearing screening for newborn babies.

Where: via Zoom

To Register:


October 27, 2021

Focus on HEARING SCREENING: considerations for implementation guidance on the hearing screening for school children.

Where: via Zoom

To Register:


November 17, 2021

Focus on HEARING SCREENING: considerations for implementation guidance on the hearing screening for older people.

Where: via Zoom

To Register:



2021 Clinical Research Grant Recipients

The winners of the 2021 Clinical Research Grants are Rina Dulku and Shannon Kerr!


Rina Dulku

Cultural Humility and Cultural Safety in Early Intervention Services for Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their Families: Perspectives from Parents and Practitioners

Early intervention effectively mitigates communication and other delays in deaf and hard of hearing children, but how are these potentially impactiful services being accessed by families who do not identify with the dominant culture? This study will explore families’ and clinicians’ perpspectives on barriers and facilitators to culturally safe practices.


Shannon Kerr

Swallowing outcomes following McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Program using a combination of in-person and teletherapy sessions

This study aims to determine the feasibility of providing McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Program (MDTP) via a combination of in-person and telehealth swallow therapy sessions.
MDTP is an intensive exercise-based swallow therapy program for adults with dysphagia which uses a hierarchy of food consistencies to provide varying resistance.


Join the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care

Credit: Government of Canada

The Government of Canada is investing in Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) to help Canadian children get the best start in life and have a fair chance to succeed. In support of this commitment, the Government of Canada is establishing a National Advisory Council on ELCC.

The National Advisory Council will provide expert advice and a forum for consultation to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality on issues and challenges facing the ELCC sector in Canada. The Council on ELCC will be a forum for information sharing and discussion. Its members will bring a diverse range of perspectives and will provide expert advice to the Ministers on ELCC-related issues and challenges.

In carrying out its mandate, the Council will provide third-party expert advice to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality on topics including:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, reopening, and the recovery period as it relates to the ELCC sector
  • Promoting information sharing across jurisdictions
  • Developing standards of practice within the sector
  • Establishing a Canada-wide ELCC system
Call for applications: become a member

Apply before September 28, 2021. They are looking for individuals with knowledge and experience in ELCC from a variety of fields.


Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canadian Children with Cognitive, Behavioural or Emotional Disabilities

Credit: Government of Canada

The Government of Canada pleased to announce the release of a new data blog titled “Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian children with cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities.

Using data from Statistics Canada’s crowdsourcing questionnaire: Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians: Parenting during the Pandemic, 2020, this data blog highlights the experiences of parents of children aged 0 to 14 years with cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities during the early response to the COVID-19 pandemic (questionnaires completed between June 9 and 22, 2020).

The data blog includes a snapshot of parents’ concerns related to their children’s general physical health, general mental health, loneliness or isolation, screen time, physical activity, school year/academic success and their family’s ability to manage. Comparisons are made to the experiences of parents with children that do not have a disability.

Key Findings:

  • Close to two-thirds of parents of children with cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities expressed concerns about their children’s general mental health.
  • Almost two-thirds of parents who have children with cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities were concerned about their children’s loneliness or isolation.
  • About 9 in 10 parents reported their children engaged in screen time on a daily basis; however, more parents (close to three-quarters) who have children with cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities were concerned with the amount of screen time their children engaged in, compared to parents who have children with no disabilities.
  • Half of parents with children who have cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities reported their children engaged in physical activity daily and half reported they were very or extremely concerned about their children’s amount of physical activity.
  • More than half of the parents (59%) reported they were very or extremely concerned about their children’s school year success, although school aged children with cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities received more help to engage in learning activities related to school.
  • More parents with children who have cognitive, behavioural, or emotional disabilities are concerned about their family’s ability to manage compared to parents who have children with no disabilities.

If you have feedback or questions, please contact

New Communiqué Article – Perceived Benefits of the AuD Degree Among Canadian Audiologists

Credit: Andrea Ruotolo, AuD, Rex Banks, AuD and Melanie Gibson, MA

The United States is the only country that requires a doctoral degree (AuD. PhD, or equivalent) as the entry-level requirement for audiology professionals. Currently, Canada requires a master’s degree to practice. However, an increasing number of Canadian audiologists with a master’s degree have enrolled in and completed an online doctorate in audiology in recent years.

Researchers have conducted a study aiming to assess perceptions of Canadian audiologists with an AuD degree who previously practiced with a master’s degree.

Read the results on SAC’s Communiqué Blog


* Please note that this article was originally published in the Canadian Audiologist

Introducing SAC Connects – an online member engagement tool

Launching in fall of 2021, SAC Connects will allow members and associates to build meaningful connections online through the use of communities (i.e., discussion boards). These communities will foster conversation, peer-to-peer support, sharing best practices and resources, building connections and more. 

Have an idea of a community that you may be interested in engaging with? We need your help to determine what you would like to see first! 

Suggest a community now! 


2021 Speech & Hearing Month Kids’ Contest Winners

Every year, the Speech & Hearing Month Kid’s Contest is always a hit! We received many submissions from across Canada and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who participated!

Now, we are happy to present the 2021 Kid’s Contest winners:



Visit the Speech & Hearing Month website for more information. 


McGill speech-language pathology students work with Kahnawà:ke first-graders

Six Master’s students engaged in telepractice with children to maximize learning to read amidst COVID restrictions

“Grade one is a critical time in a child’s development. While learning to read, which mostly happens in first grade, may seem fun and effortless for some children, “it can be a great challenge for others” says Sophie Vaillancourt, assistant professor (professional) in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’ School of Communication Sciences and Disorders (SCSD).

So when COVID-19 forced thousands of school-age kids to stay at home, young children lost valuable learning time at a crucial moment in their lives.

Simultaneously, many speech-language pathologists (S-LPs) in schools, clinics, rehab centres and hospitals, whose work is normally to help adults and children with learning difficulties, were being re-assigned to test for COVID, or to care for the elderly in long-term-care facilities, or were just unable to see their clients safely. This led to significant reductions in clinical opportunities for the speech-language pathology students.

Amidst these challenging times, a collaboration between Kahnàwa:ke Education Center’s Kateri Elementary School and the SCSD was established, to support children who could benefit from additional intervention in reading, while at the same time opening up some clinical opportunities for SCSD students.”

Read the full article.

* This article from the McGill Reporter features SAC members Alexandra Lauzon, S-LP(C) and Claudia Hogan S-LP(C), as well as SAC student associate Bianca Mercadante.