Therapy Outreach and Assessment Services

Augmentative and Alternative Communication ( AAC) Services


Hannah’s Trust have an Alternative and Augmentative ( AAC) Assessment and Outreach Centre for the south west. The term ‘Alternative and Augmentative Communication’ (AAC) refers to the use of various means of communication which can replace or support speech. These include a wide range of systems from complex PC based communication aids with synthesised voices (high technology aids), to simple technology aids which may contain only a few spoken messages, to books and boards, (low technology) which a person with a disability may access via a finger point or by using their eyes.

All of these methods can make a huge impact for individuals, in terms of being able to express themselves independently. AAC enables people without the use of coherent speech to express basic needs, feelings, thoughts, and ideas and to connect with others. Independent expression has many positive emotional, social and educational advantages. AAC “offers people with a wide range of impairments new aspirations, expectations and life chances” (Scope, 2008).

We are now contracted by NHS England in partnership with the Bristol Communication Aids Service (BCAS) to offer the following:

• Specialist AAC assessments helping the client to explore various communication aids.
• Flexible assessments that can be carried out by our experienced staff at Seale -Hayne/ Ivybridge or in the person’s home/ education setting.
• A multi-disciplinary team of speech and Language therapists, O.T, specialist teachers, AAC technician with many years of experience and expertise in the field of AAC.
• Assessment which are carried out collaboratively with families, carers and professionals.
• A bank of AAC devices to trial.
• Bespoke training to learn about the communication aid and how to implement most effective use.
• Continued specialist outreach to support implementation of a communication aid.
• Opportunity of maintaining up to date knowledge on the latest technology via training/ communication aid roadshows.

Referrals:

The service is for all age groups who have a need. Presently most referrals are made by local speech and language therapists and this is a preferred route.

If you would like to find out more please email adam.clark@discoverhannahs.org or telephone 01752 892461.

Once you have completed the form please forward it to our partners at the Bristol Communication Aids Service at cacadmin@nbt.nhs.uk or Bristol Centre for Enablement, Highwood Pavilions, Jupiter Road, Patchway, Bristol, BS34 5BW.

Currently funding for assessments comes from a variety of sources including education authorities, continuing health, private funding.

If the client has complex needs and requires a Specialist Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Assessment, they may fit the ‘Criteria for NHS England Specialist Services’ (See below for download). If you / the client, fits this criteria a referral can be made using the referral form via your local Speech and Language Therapist (See below for download).

Wheelchair mounts: ‘if you/ your client uses a wheelchair and would need a communication aid mounted, please could you fill in the Wheelchair Mount Referral Form (See below for download). You can also make a referral for a communication aid to be mounted without needing a communication aid assessment’

We are working in conjunction with BCAS ( Bristol Communication Aids Service) to deliver an equitable AAC service to the south west.

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