Legal Information for People with Speech and Language Disabilities

Project Name

Increasing Communication Access to Legal and Justice Services for People with Speech and
Language Disabilities (SLDs)

Project Partners

Lead Agency: Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC)
Partners: Human Rights Legal Support Centre, Gage Transition to Independent Living, PooranLaw Professional Corporation

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Project Summary

This project will conduct a needs assessment and provide a three-part webinar series aimed at increasing access to legal support and justice for people with specific language disabilities (SLDs). The webinars will be provided to 100 people including disability advocates, social workers, speech-language pathologists, peer support workers, and family members. The content will provide information on legal rights, how and when to access legal and justice services, the use of communication intermediary services, and a range of resources that people with SLDs can use to communicate in these situations.

Legal Topics for Training

The webinars will provide information and resources about when and how to access police, legal and justice services. Specifically, participants will learn about:

  • vulnerabilities and experiences of people with SLDs
  • their legal rights within key identified areas
  • when and how to access legal and justice services
  • when and how to use communication intermediaries
  • a range of resources that people with SLDs may require when communicating in legal and justice situations

The intent of these webinars is to provide information that can then be shared with people who have SLDs and family members.

Target Audience

This project will provide information and resources to disability advocates, social workers, speech-language pathologists, peer support workers, family members and augmentative and alternative communication consultants. Community leaders who have SLDs and who act as mentors and ambassadors to others who have SLDs will also be invited to attend.

Key Activities

CDAC will host three 90-minute webinars. The format will include a 1 hour presentation using PowerPoint slides followed by a question and answer period for 30 minutes. Participants will receive copies of the slides and resources at the end of each session. The webinars will be hosted twice (total of 6 webinars) with approximately 50 participants in each session. The webinars will be recorded and archived for others to use. This will provide an opportunity for people to access them at their own convenience.

Need for Training

CDAC recognizes that people with communication disabilities experience a high rate of abuse, crimes and violation of rights. They may not know their legal rights or know that they can access an intermediary to assist them communicating with legal and justice professionals. Moreover, they can experience significant communication barriers when interacting with legal, justice and social services, which in turn can lead to serious consequences.

Innovative Approach

This project is highly innovative in that there is no other initiative provincially, nationally or internationally that focuses on increasing access to legal and justice for people with SLDs. This marginalized group is at high risk for human rights violations, abuses and crimes. They lack information and communication supports to access legal and justice services.