Assessment & Evaluation
For people with complex communication needs to realize the full benefit of AAC, they must first have a comprehensive AAC assessment, which requires clinicians to integrate a wide range of information to make appropriate recommendations regarding the particular AAC system to be implemented (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005).
Liberator Speech Pathologists use a range of assessment tools in order to identify the most appropriate AAC systems to trial. Assessment should involve a comprehensive analysis of language use, comprehension of language, symbol use, body language and the communication environment. Speech pathologists may use observational checklists along with more formal assessment tools in order to gather and collate this information.
These can include the following:
- SETT framework as described by Joy Zabala
Student – all information pertaining to the person who will use AAC. Their physical, sensory, intellectual and educational data.
Environment – who is in the persons’ network and where does the person need to go. For example, school, home, church, McDonalds.
Task – what are the communication goals?
Tools – feature match which AAC system will be the best fit to achieve their goals.
2. The AAC profile – Dr Tracy Kovach
Operational competence – the technical and physical skills required to operate, access the AAC system and transmit information to others.
Linguistic competence – the development of the receptive and expressive language skills used at home and in the community. The knowledge and use of the language ‘code’ of the AAC system such as pictures.
Strategic competence – using knowledge of what can be communicate and how best to communicate this, including compensatory strategies for effective communication.
Social competence – the development of skills needed for social communication and the desire to communicate reciprocally with others.
3. Social networks – Sarah Blackstone
Investigates the social networks of communication partners, communication modes used, topics of communication and types of communication.
4. MOSAIC – A model of observational screening for the analysis of interaction and communication. Dr Andy Smidt
Gathers information about how people with intellectual disabilities communicate including behaviour, speech and symbols.
An free interview schedule for gathering information from parents, carers and teachers about how a person communicates in daily life, to give a qualitative picture of the current communicative behaviours.
Measures whether a piece of equipment or assistive technology has reduced the challenges a person is facing, as intended.
A free online tool designed to pin point how an individual is communicating now and can be used to develop realistic goals for future communication. It can also be used to track progress. After answering a series of questions about the individual's communication, this tool generates a visual map current and emerging communication skills from early pre-intentionall/unconvential levels through to use of language. Suitable to use with all age groups and abilities.
Assessment is an ongoing and dynamic process. Some of the tools utilised to monitor progress and achievement include the following: