This service aims to empower people with disabilities, using techniques and technologies which optimise potential for communication and control.
Access to Communication and Technology (ACT) works with people with complex disabilities to develop ways to enable them communicate and interact with their environment, assisted by the use of electronic equipment.
The service explores how people might use:
- Electronic communication aids
- 'Low-tech' communication methods
- Alternative methods to control electrical appliances in the home
The team is made up of:
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Clinical Scientists
Environmental Control is the part of the service which allows people to control pieces of equipment in their home that they are not able to control currently, e.g. television, lights and telephone.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication addresses the needs of people with complex communication needs by introducing low-tech and electronic communication systems.
ACT also provides computer access assessments for people who are physically unable to use a standard keyboard and mouse.
Who is the service for?
- People of any age and diagnosis who cannot use speech or typing as their main form of communication.
- People who cannot use a standard computer keyboard and mouse, or devices such as TV remote controls.
- People may have a range of complex disabilities, including cognitive, behavioural, sensory and physical difficulties that may affect their ability to interact with their environment and/or to communicate effectively in face-to-face settings, on the telephone or in writing.
What do we do at an assessment?
- Invite everyone who has a significant involvement
- Develop an understanding what the issues are
- Identify the areas where specific help is required
- Try out different techniques and equipment
- Look at different methods to help the person access and use the equipment
- Jointly agree goals
- Arrange for equipment to be tried at home, school, day centre, etc.
- Make sure that the different types of equipment used are working together.
What happens after the assessment?
- A report is written by ACT and shared with both the person and team
- Equipment is provided (as agreed at the assessment)
- Progress is reviewed regularly to ensure the equipment continues to meet the patient’s needs
- Person and team are trained to use the equipment
- ACT provides ongoing support and advice as necessary.