Why I-ASC is needed

The I-ASC project aims to improve the health and well-being outcomes for children and young people who have little or no intelligible speech and need to use symbol communication aids to communicate.  These children often have multiple impairments including hearing and vision challenges.

The good news is that communication aid services are now commissioned by NHS England.  At the present time there is no established care pathway or standardised decision making resources to support assessment or monitor the quality of provision moving forward.

Getting the assessment right is important for each individual child.  The SEN & Disability Code of Practice emphasises the need for education, health and care to collaborate to commission high quality AAC services, resources and support.  By concentrating on improving the process of decision making the project will address quality of life indicators for children supporting their literacy development, general education, health and social  inclusion in society.  For the future this will also support their employment opportunities.

img_2186Symbol electronic communication aids include those using visual images and text.  Each device is made up of 3 interconnected components:

a) The mode of communication is the method the child uses to communicate their message to a communication partner – so in this instance an electronic/computer based symbol device

b) The access method to use the device eg eye gaze, scanning or direct access (pushing a button).  The method of access is not a focus for this project.

c)  The language representation system used: In typical conversations this would be the spoken word.  In symbol communication aid use the spoken word may be substituted with different symbols such as written words or letters, photographs, line drawings, formalised symbol sets such as Picture Communication Symbols.  A particular focus of this project is around the clinical decision making process to recommend the best type of language representation system for each child.

Getting the right communication aid provided has significant positive impacts