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Implementation of AAC strategies, or lack of: Parents' and AAC users' perspectives

Personal Experience
  • Eliane Mackintosh
  • Angela McCormack

From the perspective of AAC users and families, we discuss experiences of insufficient or absent implementation strategies for AAC. With greater AAC access created through technological advances, with increased awareness of AAC by society, and now the advent, at last, of national funding of AAC services through NHS specialised commissioning, it is timely and crucial that the weaknesses of AAC implementation are recognised and addressed.


We discuss the difficulties and barriers faced by many AAC users and their struggle to access sufficient, consistent, fit-for-purpose AAC expertise. In the absence of any specialist AAC mentor, success often depends on whether an AAC user has proactive, clued up, but also over-stretched, parents or supporters.


The experiences of AAC users and families tell us there is a desperate need for a strategic, personalised communication plan. In addition to learning how to use the hardware or software, AAC users need to learn how to communicate, how to use language, and how to interact - not just how to operate the tools.


Through discussion of these scenarios, we hope to provoke corrective thoughts and actions, look at the roles of all AAC players, and consider what might make a difference for successful development of AAC skills.

Download Handout (pdf 185KB)

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages
Primary school
Secondary school
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.