UIWONA Family AreaThe Aboriginal Speech and Language Program (ASLP) based at Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry (UIWONA) has the privilege and honour to support Indigenous children and families that live in the Comox Valley on the unceded traditional territories of the Pentlatch, E’iksan and K’ómoks First Nations. This program seeks to offer a strengths-based, collaborative and culturally minded approach to supporting First Nations, Métis and Inuit families with children from birth to 7 years of age.

ASLP aims to walk alongside families in learning ways to nurture their child’s growth and development in many areas of communication including social interactions, play skills, language understanding and expression, speech sound development, voice, fluency, early literacy, and assistive and augmentative communication (AAC). ASLP services may include consultation, monitoring, screening/assessment, and intervention at a place and time that best works for each family.

The Aboriginal Speech & Language Program is a free, voluntary and by appointment service for families with Indigenous ancestry.


The Aboriginal Speech & Language Program:

  • Offers a culturally-based service to help families and caregivers take the lead in supporting their child’s communication development.
  • Focuses on the unique strengths, journeys and aspirations of each family and child.
  • Aims to build ongoing, respectful relationships with families as a foundation for service.
  • Offers flexibility to meet the needs and priorities of families.
  • Works collaboratively with families, caregivers and community service providers towards shared goals and plans to support each child’s learning and development.
  • Partners with other UIWONA programs and community groups/events that serve young children and families.
  • Can meet children, families and caregivers in-person at their homes, in the community or at the UIWONA office. Virtual visits and phone consultations are also available.
  • Have individual or small group visits that welcome participation from children, families and team members all working towards the same goals.
  • Provides speech & language services for families and young children up to 7 years of age.


What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a health professional who helps people of all ages develop to their full potential in the areas of communication, feeding and swallowing.

SLPs at the CVCDA and UIWONA work with infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and along side their parents or caregivers using a family-centered approach. SLPs ask parents about the priorities they have for their child and support parents in encouraging their child’s communication development in everyday activities and routines.

Communication may include:

  • Understanding language
  • Using language to connect with others in conversation and play
  • Using clear speech sounds
  • Speaking smoothly (versus stuttering)
  • Socially connecting with peers and adults (social communication)


When Do You Need A Speech-Language Pathologist?

Children are often referred to SLP when they:

  • Have speech errors that make it difficult for you or others to understand
  • Are not talking or using fewer words than expected
  • Show difficulties using words to tell others what they are thinking
  • Show difficulties understanding language and/or following directions
  • Get stuck on sounds and words (i.e., stuttering)
  • Speak with an unusual voice (scratchy, raspy or nasal sounding)
  • Show difficulties eating a variety of foods or drinking liquids

Who Can Refer?

If you have concerns or questions about your child’s speech and/or language, you can refer your child yourself. Additionally, referrals to the program come from families and community service providers such as family physicians, pediatricians, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, childcare providers, and teachers.

What Happens After The Referral?

  1. The CVCDA Family Advocate will meet with you to gather relevant information and consent for services.  The Family Advocate will share information and resources with you.
  2. The SLP or therapy assistant will contact you to schedule an Initial Consultation (IC) appointment.


What Happens At Your First?

During the IC appointment:

  1. You will have an opportunity to talk about your priorities.
  2. The SLP will provide you with information on your child’s development and offer suggestions and resources on how you can help your child.
  3. The SLP will discuss plans for further services.  Sometimes this includes direct intervention and assessment, parent coaching, consultation or monitoring.  Referral to other service provider may be recommended.  Please note, there may be a wait for services to begin.


How Can I Help My Child At Home?

  • Have your child’s hearing evaluated if there is a concern
  • Celebrate your child’s communication attempts
  • Practice using new words
  • Expand on what your child says by adding more information
  • Talk about the activities you do and places you go
  • Model correct speech (it is not necessary to ask your child to repeat exactly what you say)
  • Emphasize sounds that your child may find difficult to say, such as “sssssocks”
  • Speak slowly and clearly, repeat for your child if necessary
  • Give your child lots of time to respond
  • Read books and talk about books with your child every day
  • Provide opportunities for your child to talk and play with others

Meet The Team

Dana Falcioni
Dana Falcioni

Speech-Language Pathologist for Aboriginal Speech & Language Program at UIWONA

Phone: 250-331-1638
Jenn Legarie
Jenn Legarie

Speech-Language Assistant for Aboriginal Speech & Language Program at UIWONA

Phone: 250-465-0420
Email: jenn@cvcda.ca