Website launches to empower AAC community

Communication MattersCommunication Matters, the leading UK organisation dedicated to supporting children and adults who need augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), has launched their AACknowledge website bringing AAC information and evidence together in one place for the first time.

Commissioned as part of its three year AAC Evidence Base Research Project, the ground-breaking website has been funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund and been developed by Manchester Metropolitan University in association with Communication Matters.

The AACknowledge website will increase awareness of relevant evidence through a bibliography of published research into AAC. Shaped by the AAC community, the website presents case studies, frequently asked questions, factsheets, glossaries,  summaries of articles in plain English and links to other sources of information helping people who use AAC and the people supporting them to make informed and independent choices about support needed.

David Morgan, Communication Matters’ Research Lead, says:  “Every person has the right to a voice, yet many people are not being empowered to access the equipment, information and support services they need to enable them to communicate. AAC makes a monumental difference to the lives of children, young people and adults giving them a means to communicate and the ability to make effective choices in their lives. For too long, people who use AAC, professionals and family members have not had easy access to AAC information and evidence and this had to change.

“The AACknowledge website will make a tangible difference to users of AAC and their families, professionals including speech and language therapists and GPs, AAC suppliers, the research community and voluntary organisations. More content is being added to the website in the New Year and we welcome feedback as the website will be regularly updated.”

Dr. Janice Murray, Head of Speech Pathology and Therapy at Manchester Metropolitan University, says: “The AACknowledge website is a welcome addition. The website infrastructure and content was developed through consultation and collaboration with AAC stakeholder groups. This makes the content relevant and of immense benefit, filling a void that has existed around access to AAC information and knowledge.

“Manchester Metropolitan University is delighted to have been the key collaborator with Communication Matters in this development. This initial content will be regularly updated and continue to be responsive to the needs of the visitors to the site. The case stories and academic research information has been very positively received thus far.”

AAC is a specialist service, however traditionally there has been a lack of information, evidence and funding to support the complex needs of people who use AAC. In the UK today, it is estimated that 305,000 children and adults will need AAC at some point in their lives. 10% of them, 30,500, have the most complex needs, which demand access to specialised AAC services and equipment.

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