There are now more young people using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems in both mainstream and special schools than ever before. Successful inclusion of these pupils requires a substantial resource commitment, including the planning and implementation of appropriate supportive communication programmes, training of staff, and the involvement of a wide range of professionals working together. So how can schools maximise the effectiveness this commitment?
The 2005 edition of the freely-downloadable 53-page guide to introduce software developers to the issues regarding accessible software. Provides an general overview of the access problems posed by various disabilities, and gives guideline advice about how to deal with them.
Communication aids of any flavour come under the umbrella term of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). You might also hear of talking communication aids being referred to as Speech Output Devices or sometimes as VOCAs (Voice Output Communication Aids).
For individuals who use switches with computers, Voice Output Communication Aids and/or Environmental Control systems the speed of access can be frustratingly slow. It is therefore important we consider all the influencing factors to ensure we achieve effective switch access.
Critical Questions from “Assistive Technologies: Principles & Practice” by Cook, Hussey :
•Can they use the pointer to reach all the targets on the screen?
•Is the size & spacing of the targets appropriate?
•Complete the action needed to make a selection? i.e. click, drag, double click etc
•Is the sensory feedback provided adequate?
The BIGMack is a single message voice output communication device enabling up to twenty seconds of sound to be recorded and replayed at the press of a switch. Its simplicity of design, durability and ease of access enable it to be an effective resource for the development of communication within a wide range of contexts.