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Student Speech and Language Therapists using AAC in the Community

Session 
1.2
Personal Experience
  • Amy Garnett
Summary

The aims of the project were primarily to raise awareness of AAC within the general public, and evaluate their perspective of AAC. It was also to experience and understand clients' perspectives of using AAC devices. The aim of the paper is to explain our findings from the general public and my own experiences using a device.

Method/Activities/Techniques

For a week, myself and four other students will use low- and high-tech AAC devices to complete everyday activities, for example at the shop and train station. Using social media, our week will be detailed and our experiences will be discussed: how we felt, what happened, what the general public thought.

Results/Findings

We found that the awareness of AAC and its users is sparse. People often assumed that we had lower intelligence, were deaf or that we could not participate in physical activities. We found it extremely frustrating using AAC devices and often felt that we were unable to keep up with the pace of verbal communication. For the most part, our experiences were positive: they were polite and patient. We had some negative experience of people being rude. 

Conclusions

Through social media we touched the hearts of thousands across the world. Social media also allowed others to comment on their experiences with AAC which helped us with a deeper understanding of being an AAC user. Not only did our week raise awareness among trainee speech and language therapists - we raised awareness to the general student population and the wider public.