Project Aims and Objectives

The overall aim is to improve the outcomes for children with little or no intelligible speech, who need symbol communication aids to communicate.

The specific aim is to influence current practice to improve the consistency and quality of clinical decision making in the provision of symbol communication aids.

The objectives of the project, reflected in the research plan, are to:

childsmalltouch(1)       Understand what is perceived as important in terms of symbol communication aid provision; how decisions are currently made; and what barriers and facilitators impact on these decisions.

(2)       Understand and agree the range of attributes that should be considered in these decisions, related to the child, the family and the communication aid.

(3)       Establish how clinicians* actually currently make decisions (their stated preferences); how they consider these attributes.

(4)       Explore how this process takes account of the perspectives of all involved; specifically how children, parents and clinicians perceive the effectiveness of existing and historic recommendations.

*throughout the term ‘Clinician’ is taken to mean any professional with specific remit to determine the best symbol communication system for a child with little or no intelligible  speech. The majority of these clinicians are based within the NHS, but not exclusively. And then, on the basis of the information gathered from (1) to (4) to:

(5)       Develop decision guidance for clinicians and all involved to ensure that the best possible decisions are made in matching symbol communication aids to children.

(6)       To disseminate this guidance and the results of the project in order to influence practice and improve the quality and consistency of decisions, thus reducing abandonment figures and improving the quality of life experiences of the children who benefit from such aids to communication.

Short term outcomes for the I-ASC project will include improved practice within the community of professionals and families involved in the project with improved efficiency related to assessment recommendations.

Long term outcomes will be the improved provision of symbol communication aids with more effective provision of symbol communication aids through local and specialised services.  This will delivery on improved Quality of Life outcomes for children, and their families.