BC's Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute

First Nations Speech and Language Assistant Certificate

Program Delivery Location: Community 
Credential: Certificate
Format: Full-Time, Part-Time
Start Dates: September, January, May

First Nations Speech and Language Assistant Certificate

The First Nations Speech and Language Assistant Program (FNSL) is a certificate program. The FNSL program in a 10-course, 33 credit program offered through community-based delivery. The program will prepare students to work at the paraprofessional level in the speech and language field under the direction of a speech language pathologist. Due to the unique challenges of many remote and semi-remote First Nations communities, participants will also receive training in the use of technology as a way of delivering speech language services.
This program is specifically designed for people working in First Nations communities: schools, head start programs, preschools, etc.
Admission Requirements
  • English 060 or English 12 or equivalent assessment

  • Math 050 or Math 11 or equivalent assessment

  • Minimum of 19 years of age on or before the first day of classes


    For more information, contact Chelsea Vaughan 250.378.3378 or cvaughan@nvit.bc.ca

    FNSL Certificate Completion Plan
    Students are required to successfully complete the 30 credits as prescribed below:
  • ENGL-110 - English Composition
  • FNSL-110 - Introduction to First Nations Speech & Language Assistant Program
  • FNSL-140 - Communication Exceptionalities
  • FNSL-150 - Therapy Procedures for Communication Exceptionalities
  • FNSL-170 - Principles of FNSL Intervention
  • FNSL-180 - Technology and FNSL
  • FNSL-190 - Practicum
  • PSYC-213 - Lifespan Human Development I
  • STSC-101 - Strategies for Success
  • Course Listing for this program

    ENGL-110 - Credits: 3.000
    English Composition
    English 110 prepares students to write successful college essays. This course focuses on the writing process. Students will learn how to develop, organize, write, revise, document, and edit essays. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: ENGL 060 / or English 12 or English Studies 12 and/or English First Peoples 12 or permission of instructor.
    FNSL-110 - Credits: 3.000
    Introduction to First Nations Speech & Language Assistant Program
    This course is designed to introduce the student to the certificate program and Speech Audiology Canada guidelines for Speech Language Pathologists and Speech Language Assistants. Students will become familiar with the role and responsibilities of speech language pathologists, speech language assistants and other professionals on the student planning team in First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) and First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) schools. Students will explore mainstream and community views on child development with particular emphasis on speech and language development. Students will explore ethical concerns and topics of professional practices including: confidentiality, informed consent and best practice standards. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program admission.
    FNSL-140 - Credits: 3.000
    Communication Exceptionalities
    This course will explore the types and causes of speech, language and social communication exceptionalities and the effect of these on social, emotional, cognitive and educational domains. The impact of speech and language exceptionality and classroom participation /development of literacy skills will also be discussed. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program Admission.
    FNSL-150 - Credits: 3.000
    Therapy Procedures for Communication Exceptionalities
    This course will concentrate on teaching the student to be able to use both indirect and direct methods of language intervention to support individuals with exceptionalities in language acquisition in their environment. Students will learn how to support students with severe problems in language processing or production to facilitate learning and participation in class. This will include information on visual language supports or augmentative/alternative forms of communication, using pictures, symbols or voice output devices. The emphasis will be on providing evidence based, culturally appropriate services for First Nation students, Kindergarten to grade 4 and beyond. Understanding of and programming for augmentative/alternative forms of communication will also be discussed. Preschool and school age prepared programs for language support will be introduced with adaptations for First Nation culture. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program Admission
    FNSL-170 - Credits: 3.000
    Principles of FNSL Intervention
    This course will concentrate on the principles of speech and language therapy intervention and the role of the speech-language assistant in carrying out program recommendation to provide effective intervention and respond to the needs of First Nations students. Topics will include principles of evidence-based practice such as data collection, treatment techniques, use of effective prompting/cueing and feedback, and effective intervention strategies across various therapy models (i.e., individual intervention, small group intervention, and whole-class intervention). More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program Admission
    FNSL-180 - Credits: 3.000
    Technology and FNSL
    This course will provide students with information and practical experience using different forms of technology. Students will develop skills in the use of computers/tablets for accessing and sharing information with professionals. Specific tools for screening, assessment and intervention will be introduced. Hearing screening and support for individuals with hearing loss will be covered. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: Program Admission
    FNSL-190 - Credits: 6.000
    This practicum is designed to provide the students with experience as an assistant under the direction of a qualified Speech Language Pathologist. Behavioral competencies will be provided as a guideline to assist the supervising Speech Language Pathologist to facilitate the understanding of the student's objectives. In cooperation with the Speech Language Pathologist NVIT will provide support in practicum monitoring and evaluation guidelines. All admitted students will be required to obtain a current clear Criminal Record Check from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Refer to the Ministry website for details on this process: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/criminal-records-review. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: FNSL 110 / FNSL 180 / FNSL 170 / FNSL 160 / FNSL 150 / FNSL 140 / FNSL 130
    PSYC-213 - Credits: 3.000
    Lifespan Human Development I
    This course covers human development from conception to adolescence. A variety of theoretical perspectives and research data will be examined, including the study of the physical, cognitive, psychosocial development from infancy to middle and late childhood. Theories will be considered in a multi-cultural framework. More Details on this course
    Prerequisites: or permission of instructor. / PSYC 111 / PSYC 121
    STSC-101 - Credits: 3.000
    Strategies for Success
    This course introduces students to higher learning and academic culture. Students will explore a variety of topics that will help them connect to resources that will aid in their student success, including test-taking strategies, note-taking, time management, research, student responsibilities and ethics, learning styles, and setting educational goals that will contribute to lifelong learning. In addition, students will connect with other academic supports like the Librarian and Student Success Centre and have access to Elders who will introduce learners to some Indigenous cultural traditions to help students maintain a healthy balance during their studies. More Details on this course

    Current Course Offerings

    01 = Merritt Campus
    V1 = Burnaby Campus

    Spring 2024 (January - April)

  • ENGL-110-01
  • STSC-101-V1
  • Fall 2024 (September - December)

  • ENGL-110-V1
  • STSC-101-01
  • STSC-101-V1

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