Communication aids

People with severe speech and or language impairment that impacts on their communication success may be supported by using communication aids.

Types of communication aids

Communication aids are often referred to as augmentative or alternative communication aids or AAC. There are a broad range of AAC devices, these include:

  • charts with pictures, symbols, letters or words
  • simple single message voice output devices
  • applications that run on tablets and mobile phones
  • complex dedicated communication devices including a range of access options such as joystick, switch and eye gaze

To find out more about communication aids speak to your local HSC speech and language therapy service (SLT).

In most cases staff at this local SLT service will be able to manage your AAC needs. If necessary, they will refer you to the Northern Ireland Regional Communication Advice Centre Service (CAC) which is staffed by a multidisciplinary team.  

The therapists can assess your needs and advise on the most suitable AAC system.

Where to get communication aids from

Your SLT service is the first point of contact. If they can manage your needs they will assess and provide you with the required AAC system.

For people with complex AAC needs who are referred to the regional CAC service, any required AAC system will be provided by the CAC.

This advice does not cover communications aids for people who are blind and partially sighted. Support in these cases can be obtained by contacting the rehabilitation worker from your local HSC Trust sensory support team.

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