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Assistive Technology and Augmentative / Alternative Communication

Assistive Technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often times for students with disabilities performing everyday school and daily living activities can be a challenge. Assistive Technology devices are tools to help students overcome such challenges and increase their independence and overall quality of life.

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.† People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. Special augmentative aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices, are available to help people express themselves. This may increase social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth. AAC users should not stop using speech if they are able to do so. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication.

The SWCEC Assistive Technology services include assessment, evaluations, trials, consultation and/or recommendations. An Assistive Technology evaluation targets both a studentís strengths as well as weaknesses. Understanding how the student participates in his/her environment is an important part of the evaluation process. It is beneficial to hear perspectives of parents, teachers, and TEAM members along with gaining input from the student. The studentís preferences, likes and dislikes must be considered along with the environments in which they need to access Assistive Technology (classroom, home, playground, public places, etc.) Ultimately, an Assistive Technology evaluation can help identify tools that may best assist students with disabilities to have full access to the curriculum and to promote academic success and independence.††

The SWCEC AAC services include case histories, evaluations, trials, consultations, written reports, recommendations and/or attendance at team meetings. The Augmentative Communication Evaluation will assess current means of communication as well as recommendations for supplemental or alternative means of communication.† Consultations with family and staff working directly with the student are part of the evaluation.†

Students with disabilities may use Assistive Technology or AAC for travel, recreation, learning, working, communicating and all aspects of living. Assistive Technology can be anything from a simple low-tech device like a pencil grip or magnifying glass, to a complex high-tech augmentative communication device that provides voice output for non-verbal individuals. Our Assistive Technology professional will work with your student, to provide the most affective technology to service their needs and support their education. All Augmentative Communication Evaluations are completed by an ASHA certified Speech Language Pathologist.

To request an Assistive Technology Evaluation or an Augmentative / Alternative Communication Evaluation click the link below, download the Referral Packet, collect the request information and mail or fax the information to the SWCEC.†

†Augmentative Alternative Communication Referral Packet

Assistive Technology Referral Packet
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