AAC includes a range of strategies and tools from simple letter or picture boards to dedicated computer based systems. The purpose of AAC is to enable someone to communicate as effectively as possible, in as many situations as possible.
Assessment routes vary depending on the person's age, and where they live. In general the first step is to contact a local Speech and Language Therapist.
Children and young people may start the assessment process through school services. The local service may refer on to a specialist Assessment service who can assess, advise and make recommendations.
Assessment services will be able to advise about funding. NHS England have a system for the provision of communication aids. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own systems. A thorough assessment is necessary before requesting funding from health or education services.
AAC users need training and support. Carers and professionals need training to be able to provide the necessary support.
Equipment and services suppliers conform to the Communication Matters Code of Conduct. They can demonstrate, supply, customise and deliver training about communication aids. Some suppliers can offer trials or loans of equipment.
AAC commissioning can be complex. We need to gather evidence to make the case for the appropriate provision of AAC services and equipment.