What is ‘significant support’ for people who use AAC?



Research Stream

    • Liz Moulam
    • Janice Murray (Manchester Metropolitan University)


This paper aims to: (a) build on the concept of ‘significant support’ for people who use AAC; (b) identify what we understand by significant support, why such support is relevant, where it may be found and who provides it; (c) identify opportunities for expansion of models of support; and (d) provide feedback from workshops with those working with significant supporters.


The presenters bring a range of differing experience to this topic. The method of this paper will reflect their experience, established models of support, the need for acceptance of need of AAC and the stages of communication competence. Moving onto the operationalization of communication support, who provides it at different stages in life and the realities of current support including feedback from professionals, people who use AAC and their families/support teams. The use of pen pictures will offer the audience some ideas and concepts for thought and debate.


The findings of the presenters will be illuminated through a number of personal stories, workshop feedback and examples of models of support and their current realities.


The presentation will conclude with some summary comments specifically related to (a) decision making and AAC system choices; (b) AAC system learning and currently recognised support mechanisms; and (c) AAC system changes, location changes and currently recognised support mechanisms.

Level of Session


Age Group

All Ages


Primary school
Secondary school
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.