Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Presentation of key findings from Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) research project to Communication Matters conference

This week RAT group member Dr Sarah Creer presented key findings from the “Communication Matters - Research Matters: an Augmentativeand Alternative Communication (AAC) Evidence Base” research project at the annual Communication Matters conference. The conference, held at the University of Leeds, is the UK’s leading AAC event and attracts researchers, practitioners, suppliers, developers and people who use AAC.

Sarah’s talk presented some of the key findings of the project, which is now complete, focusing on describing current service provision for AAC. Some of the key findings can be found below:

·      The data collected identified a number of components that were required for effective service provision of aided AAC and the ongoing use of aided AAC. The study has provided validated definitions of each component to allow for a common language in describing service provision shared amongst the community.
·      There is no consistency in the elements/components of service provision of either local or specialist services in the UK.
·      Funding arrangements for services and equipment was the issue of concern most commonly raised by professionals, AAC users and communication partners. Lack of consistent arrangements for maintenance and replacement of AAC devices and a lack of clarity and consistency was the experience of most.
·      Continuing support for developing communication skills through use of AAC varied by services and the age of the person.  The lack of on-going support particularly for adults was raised by professionals, AAC users and communication partners.
·      Whilst most AAC users and partners expressed that they received sufficient support, timing and training in choosing a communication aid this was not the experience of all with some expressing significant dissatisfaction.

The full report for the project "Shining a Light on Augmentative and Alternative Communication" can be read via the research project website and the more detailed report for the work completed by RAT group members at the University of Sheffield and Barnsley Hospital can be found on the project website titled: "Beyond the anecdote: examining the need for and provision of AAC in the UK".

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