Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Research into the need for and use of AAC in the UK

The Communication Matters – Research Matters: an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Evidence Base project has been completed with the findings from the project being disseminated through a series of events across the country.

The project was led by Communication Matters, the lead UK-wide charity which works for and aims to bring together everybody who has an interest in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, strategies and devices to help people with little or no natural speech to communicate. The research was carried out by researchers within the RAT group from both ScHARR and Barnsley Hospital Assistive Technology team and in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University.

The aim of the project was to find out fundamental information about the need for, and provision of, AAC, which can be used to improve services across the UK.

Key findings of the research showed:
·      0.5% of the UK population could benefit from AAC
·      0.05% of the UK population could benefit from powered communication aids
·      on average 0.014% of the UK population are currently known to use powered communication aids. This means there may be an unmet need of 23,000 people who are not getting access to these services and technology
·      There is little consistency across the UK for AAC service provision, with some gaps in access to services
·      The project produced a set of key components for full and satisfactory service provision to help inform future service planning

Full details on the project including the project report and presentations given on the dissemination events are available at the Communication Matters project website with a full report from the Sheffield and Barnsley team due to be made available there as an online resource within the next month.

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