To demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of providing opportunities for clients to develop those skills required for high-tech AAC through other activities that are meaningful to them.
The Adult CAT Service has been involved in a number of assessments where clients have been referred for high-tech AAC but have then expressed that they do not feel ready for this. Where appropriate, and especially where a condition is rapidly progressing, these clients have been provided with alternative computer access with a view to enabling them to develop those skills required to use high-tech AAC devices.
Those clients provided with high-tech devices/systems for computer access have used them successfully to engage in those activities meaningful to them, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and e-books. They have increased their communicative opportunities through these activities and at the same time developed those skills needed to use high-tech AAC. Subsequently, and with ongoing practise and support, they were able to progress to using the same or similar devices for AAC at a time when they felt ready to do so.
Learning to use high-tech AAC takes time, practise and 'readiness'. For some clients the continued use of their current strategies, such as deteriorating/limited speech or low-tech strategies, seems less demanding. By future planning and providing devices/systems that can be used both for communication and computer access, clients can be given the opportunities to develop the skills needed for high-tech AAC through those activities that are motivating for them.