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Perceptions of the Role of Occupational Therapy within the Field of AAC

Research Stream
  • Kate McCallum (University of Cumbria)
  • Liz Harrison (University of Cumbria)

A research project was carried out as part of my Occupational Therapy (OT) degree. The aim of the research was to find out the perceptions of the role of OT within the field of AAC from those people who use AAC and/or their advocates.


Following a litrature review, the research question was generated and a questionaire was emailed to participants via online forums and at the CM National Conference 2012.


A disparity in OT service and quality was clear: in some areas the role of the OT had not changed since 1980; some people had no OT at all; and some had received highly skilled OT who had enhanced AAC access and improved quality of life and independence as a result. Those who reported an exceptional service clearly had evidence that their OT was highly trained and had a passion for AAC. I will discuss the six key themes that emerged and the limitations of the research.


Further research and better training for OTs wishing to work in AAC is recommended. The OTs specialism in this field needs to be understood and considered by those who are commitioning, developing and delivering AAC and OT services.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages