Communication aids: beyond face to face communication!


Dr May Agius & Sharon Borg Schembri. Affiliation ACTU, Agenzija Sapport.


High tech communication aids, in particular dedicated aids, have evolved to become more and more multifunctional offering the possibility of participation in society which goes beyond face to face expression. Such communication aids can play an important role in enabling users of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to participate in communication activities which may not be face to face, for example, through written emails, online communication using video, as well as social media apps which allow community with others through pictures and text. Furthermore, communication aids may also be utilised to support leisure activities including play and other computer activities, employment and education such that one device is used to meet the needs of a variety of activities which support participation in society. This session will explore how AAC assessment and intervention should consider prospective use of the communication aid for more than face to face communication from the outset using a Participation Model framework. Implications for both assessment and intervention will be discussed focusing on the client’s present and prospective needs. Resources to support assessment and intervention will be presented.

Expected learning outcomes

  1. Learn how communication aids can be used for other activities beyond face to face communication.
  2. Learn how to consider other functions of communication aids in the assessment process.
  3. Learn how to plan AAC service delivery for AAC users which focuses on more than face to face communication needs both at the current time and for future needs.