AAC Assessment: Things to Consider!
When evaluating or assessing an individual who can be a possible candidate for an augmentative and alternative communication device (AAC), there are a variety of aspects to consider and assess. It is important to make sure that each of these areas are fully assessed in order to ensure that the device chosen for this individual will be a perfect fit to enhance their daily communication!
AAC Assessment is a team approach! The team can/will include: The client/patient, SLP and/or Assistive Technology Specialist, Teachers, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Rehab Technician, Seating Specialist, Orthotist/Prosthetist, family members and/or other caregivers to make sure that all the pieces fall perfectly into place!
Gather your information! Obtain a detailed case history including demographic information, medical history, physical and sensory abilities, medications, etc. More specifically, find out about your patient’s likes/dislikes, what activities they participate in, their communication skills and partners, and their independence level!
Assess Sensory Perceptual Skills:
- Vision and hearing
Assess Seating and Positioning of the Individual. Here are some factors to consider:
- Use yourself as a reference
- Ensure a stable base of support
- Decrease the influence of atypical muscle tone
- Accommodate fixed deformities and correct flexible deformity
- Provide the least amount of intervention needed to achieve the greatest level of function
- Provide support for resting
Assess Motor Capabilities. Here are our two main concerns!
- Identifying a motor technique that the individual can use temporarily during the assessment
- Consider- Can they point? Can they use yes/no?
- Consider- What is the functional, long-term choice for the individual? Does it take too long to formulate a message?
Assess Cognitive/Linguistic Capabilities:
- Communicative Intent
- World knowledge
- Symbolic Representation
- Symbol Categorization and Association
- Assess receptive labeling (identify)
- Assess functional use of objects
- Compile a variety of symbols to represent each object
- Advanced symbol use- combine symbols to create a message
Taylor Howell, MS, CF-SLP, TSSLD