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Rehabilitation Services

Access to Communication and Technology

ACT works with people with complex disabilities to enable them communicate and interact, assisted by the use of electronic equipment.

About the serviceACT image

This service aims to empower people with disabilities, using techniques and technologies which optimise potential for communication and control. 

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
  • Computers
  • Alternative methods to control electrical appliances in the home


The team is made up of:

  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Clinical Scientists
  • Technicians
  • Administrators
  • Assistant Practitioners 


Services offered:  

  • 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. For patients with difficulty accessing and using equipment directly, an assessment may include exploring different methods eg switches, head pointers, etc.



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. 
  • People with a GP in the counties of West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. 
  • People with a GP outside of this area who are interested ACT’s services should call the referral and helpline to make further enquiries.



What you can expect from us?

  • ACT operated with only telephone referrals and experienced clinicians will take referrals over the telephone, provide advice and support and if the referral meet the service access criteria(see referral information tab) we will allocate one or two clinicians and may offer an appointment date.
  • The allocated clinician/s will first contact you by telephone; this will be the start of the assessment process. We will send you an appointment letter, if you would like one which will further outline what you can expect on the day.
  • Following the appointment, we will write to you with our recommendations.
  • We will also arrange to deliver any equipment discussed with instructions and details of contacts for help.
  • We will agree a follow up plan with you.



 What do we do at an assessment?

 We will:

  • As stated above contact you by telephone first 
  • Involve everyone who has a significant involvement 
  • Develop an understanding what the issues are 
  • Jointly agree goals 
  • 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 
  • 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).
  • You and your team are trained to use the equipment 
  • We will get back in touch with you at a mutually agreed period of time to find out  how you are getting on with the equipment
  • ACT provides ongoing support and advice as necessary.

Our patients and their carers and families are the reason we're here, so we want to hear your views about the Trust and our services.