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What Are We Learning From Our Clients With Aphasia Who Use High-Tech AAC?

Practice Report
  • Fiona Panthi (Kent Adult Communication & Assistive Technology Service)
  • Karen Reed (Kent Adult Communication & Assistive Technology Service)

How five aphasic clients and their families responded to high-tech AAC, and what we can learn from AAC intervention with this client group.


AAC Assessment and provision of high-tech AAC. AAC support for the five clients, their family and speech therapists. One day AAC group for the clients, their families and carers. Joint working with the Stroke Association.


All the clients had a preference for high-tech AAC. Two clients and their spouses did not use their AAC during interactions and for others it was not always considered. Clients used AAC with new conversation partners who visted at home but clients were reluctant to use AAC in the community. All the clients used their AAC during the AAC group. Social isolation led to a lack of opportunities to communicate for some clients. AAC was not always used during speech therapy sessions, as the client focus appeared to be on improving impaired skills. Overall, clients were disappointed with the small amount of vocabulary/messages on their AAC.


Despite attempts to lay strong foundations for the implementation of AAC, it appears that although clients and their families are willing to pursue AAC, incorporating AAC into everday life is more complicated. Clients who are still undergoing rehabiliation for their speech, reading and writing have this as their focus and AAC is not necessarily viewed as a 'companion' during this process. Managing peoples' expectations is part of the AAC process. Somehow we need to find further ways of demonstrating the gain of using AAC in a condition where there can be so many losses.