Communication- AAC and AT

CAAT (Communication Aids and Assistive Technology Team)

In 2015 Highfurlong  established the Highfurlong Communication Aids and Assistive Technology Team (CAAT). In June 2016, Dancing on Ice Champion Dan Whiston opened the Communication Room which is a bespoke area to trial equipment, train staff and carry out assessments.

The team assess individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities who have complex communication difficulties and may be  non-verbal or have unclear speech. They then provide a report with recommendations and advice regarding alternative forms of communication. There is an option to trial equipment on a short term basis, to find the most suitable means of communication for the individual.

We also offer support and advice for those who need assistive technology in their educational setting for work output. Bespoke training and support can also be provided to support the individual, family and wider support network. To date we have supported schools, colleges and adult service providers with assessments, staff training and equipment loans.

If you are interested in our support services please contact Erica on 01253 392188.

AAC and AT at Highfurlong

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to any means by which an individual can supplement or replace spoken communication. Communication may range from any movement or behaviour that is observed and interpreted by another person as meaningful, to the use of a code agreed upon between people where items have specific meanings, i.e. a language. We all use some form of augmentative communication in our daily life, for example, gestures (waving goodbye) and graphic symbols (washing label symbols, road signs).

AAC is both a means of accessing an educational curriculum and language in its own right. It is appropriate for individuals who have difficulty with receptive and expressive language due to physical, sensory or learning disability. It provides an opportunity to attain emotional, social, educational and vocational goals. (Sue Chinner et al, 2001)

Forms of AAC include gesture, signing, symbols, communication boards and books, as well as powered and computerised devices such as voice output communication aids (VOCAs).

Highfurlong School facilitates and encourages the use of ‘Total Communication’ in which a variety of modes of communication, including speech may be used in order to communicate effectively.