Zyteq specializes in Speech Generating Devices for people with complex communication needs. If you have a client who has speech which is a difficult to understand; unable to speak at all, or difficulty understanding what people say it is likely that Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) can assist.
At Zyteq you are welcome to ring to discuss AAC, and you will be able to speak to a speech pathologist experienced in practical applications and assistive technology.
Listed here are some of the typical phone enquiries we receive in from speech pathologists.
I don’t have many clients using AAC, and need some help with the new client:
Knowing where to start with the AAC, and keeping abreast of all the latest technology need not be daunting. Please give us a call to start the process. Here are the sorts of questions we will probably ask:
- What is the diagnosis and the age of the person? Here we are wanting to understand the status of the communication need. Is the AAC need new, temporary, ongoing, an update etc?
- How is the person currently communicating? What tools do the person use? Where does the person go and who do they talk to? What are they currently missing out and wanting to do?
- Has a low tech system been introduced?
- Physically is the person walking unaided or unaided, and or are there fine motor/accessing considerations.
- Are there other important factors such as issues with vision, hearing, sensory input, memory, support and so on.
- Cognitively, what is the status of literacy, reading, comprehension and so on.
I have a client using an ipad for AAC and the client needs more/different features and functions or has accessing difficulties.
With this type of inquiry the questions above are often good starting points. IPads are often introduced as a stopgap or instant solution, and many of the above questions have not been considered. Many speech pathologists find that families have introduced iPads ahead of seeking assistance with AAC. In some cases an iPad may be a suitable AAC device, however in other cases it may have been selected without due consideration. There may not have been an awareness of other options, such as “designed for purpose” AAC Devices and funding possibilities. Of most concern for speech pathologists is the selection of the app to ensure that the client has the most suitable sioftware for their needs, development, recovery and so on. If the person can spell everything they wish to communicate, an app (e.g. Predictable) providing text-to-speech, stored phrases and word prediction will most likely be used. This is relatively straightforward. For people who do not have spelling skills to use a text to speech app the selection of a suitable app will need to be much more considered. The language skills and goals of the user must match the selected the app. Consider a four year old who will be developing language and literacy skills at this critical time. An app may be selected which permits the child to assemble sentences and messages from a limited vocabulary, presented in a category branching format (e.g. Avaz). There are numerous apps available. The app selected may or may not be underpinned by sound language and pragmatic principles. It may suit the child now but not encourage development and expansion towards autonomous communication. Speech Pathologists have the expertise in language and communication, and this knowledge can be applied to ensure that the software implemented for AAC matches the goals and needs for a specific client. This is the reason it is important for speech pathologists to have input into the selection of an AAC System.
I need an update on the high Tech Devices for communication
If you are knowledgeable about AAC we understand that it is very difficult to also keep up to date with the assistive technology available. We really see this as our job! You will know your clients and their AAC needs, and we know our equipment. If your enquiry relates to a particular client, we can usually discuss the high-tech devices and work out a selection that may best suit the needs.
If your enquiry is general we may have an upcoming study day or information session to update the information you are requiring. We can also make plans to provide an information session for your department, regional meeting, special interest group or PD day.
There are of course a wide range of other reasons Speech Pathologists call or email with an enquiry. Please give us a call and we can work out how to start, proceed or advance with AAC.