I-ASC: Identifying Appropriate Symbol Communication

Access features

Access features

Access features include the child’s access method as well as mounting and positioning factors.

Access method

This defines the selection methods used to access the AAC system(s) to communicate. Findings suggest that for many children getting the right access method was the first consideration and that at times this compromised the amount of vocabulary available for the child to communicate.

Implications
  • Determine how the child or young person will access communication in the interim while developing the skills for the longer term.
  • Provide access training opportunities for the child/young person.
  • Provide communication opportunities with lower access demands to maintain the child’s motivation to communicate and at the same time ensure language and communication skills can continue to develop.
  • Recognise when trade-offs are needed between the access method and vocabulary organisation. Where access demands reduce the availability of vocabulary on the aid, efforts should be made to make vocabulary available in other ways.
girl using eye gaze
girl using eye gaze
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Judge, S., Randall, N., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Murray, J., et al. (2017). The language and communication characteristics of communication aids – a systematic review. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 242, 347-350.

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Higginbotham, D. J., Shane, H., Russell, S., and Caves, K. (2007). Access to AAC: Present, past and future. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23(3), 243-257.

Light, J.C. (1989). Toward a definition of communicative competence for individuals using augmentative and alternative communication systems. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5,4, 137-144.

Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S., and Murray, J. (2019) What’s important in AAC decision making for children? Evidence from a best-worst scaling survey, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, doi: 10.1080/07434618.2018.1561750

Mounting and positioning

This considers the positioning of the communication system for use. It includes mounting, the interface with other equipment as well as issues related to making the communication aid available. Findings describe the physical abilities of the child and the positioning solutions mounting systems could offer.

boy switch access to aid mounted on wheelchair
boy switch access to aid mounted on wheelchair
Implications
  • Ensure the child or young person has adequate head, neck and trunk support to enable functional use of AAC. This may require input from a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
  • Ensure sufficient arm and hand support for functional use of AAC and seek appropriate support to determine what is needed.
  • Wheelchair mounting where appropriate can be important in ensuring the availability of the communication aid.
  • Where there are trade-offs between weight and size of the device and mounting constraints, provide on-going access to other AAC systems.
I-ASC Resources
Other Resources

Please email i-asc@mmu.ac.uk if you know of resources that should be included here

Learn more

Judge, S., Randall, N., Goldbart, J., Lynch, Y., Moulam, L., Meredith, S., and Murray, J. (2019) The language and communication attributes of graphic symbol communication aids – A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Murray, J., Lynch, Y., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Goldbart, J., Smith, M., Randall, N., and Judge, S., (2019) Professionals’ decision making in recommending communication aids in the UK: Competing considerations Augmentative and Alternative Communication.