Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)

This work is being undertaken as part of a Health Education England/National Institute for Health Research (HEE/NIHR) Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship awarded to Kath Broomfield to enable her to complete her PhD study with Sheffield Hallam University. Kath’s area of clinical interest is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), or communication aids.

Communication aids include the use of strategies such as pointing to pictures, words or letters as well as the use of special equipment that can speak out messages entered into or stored within it.

Kath's project aims to develop a greater understanding about why people do and do not use communication aids and how they view success with using them. The research will entail a literature review focusing on user perspectives and outcomes for communication aids. This will be followed by a series of interviews with young people and adults who use communication aids at different points across the AAC pathway - from assessment and provision of equipment to the use of communication aids in people's homes, schools and communities. The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a patient reported outcome measure (PROM). The PROM will be made available for use by NHS services to gather the perspectives of people who use communication aids about the equipment and the support they receive.

Kath is writing a blog to increase awareness of this project.  The idea is to voice thoughts and ideas that are raised over the duration of the work.  If you are interested in reading more than the link to the blog is