Without doubt, AT such as communication aids can be life-changing! The problem is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ communication aid solution. It’s vital that an assessment is carried out before a communication aid is chosen, and we’re not just saying that to drum up business for ourselves!
Ace Centre offers an interdisciplinary assessment which enables us to consider variables such as seating, mobility, access, motivation, individual preference, educational / workplace needs and cognitive levels. It’s essential to build up an accurate picture of a person’s abilities before trying to identify a suitable communication aid.
It also makes sense to try out a communication aid before making a decision about purchase or provision. We have an extensive loan library of equipment that we can call upon. Sometimes the people that we assess need to trial more than one option before we all feel in a position to make a decision on the best way forward.
Communication aids can most definitely improve quality of life, but using AT to help fulfil potential is a lifelong journey that requires teamwork throughout. Very few people manage to get the most from AT in isolation: individuals, families and professionals all need to work together from the first step of identifying a need, through to the ongoing support of the long-term goals of the individual.
Once a communication aid has been purchased or provided, everyone involved with the individual – family, carers, teachers, therapists etc. – will need to know how to operate and support use of the communication aid. Here we can offer help through our training service. Not only do we give technical skills training in the operation of the communication aid, but, perhaps more importantly, we consider how to support and develop its effective use.
Skills and abilities change over time, and so too does technology! With this in mind, ongoing review of the suitability of a communication aid is essential.