Monday, 17 February 2014

Is technology really communication?

The Forum Note by Janice Light and David McNaughton in the latest journal from Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention has a timely reminder about what we are all doing, and why we are doing it.

Technology abounds in all areas of our lives now, and yes it can make life much easier. However, we need to remember, it is "just a tool".

The tool needs to - meet the needs of the individual;
                             - meet the needs of the persons environment and communication                                  situations;
                             - be able to be supported by the environment, i.e. do people who                                    interact with the person with AAC
    -  know how to use the technology (and they are not afraid of the technology)
    - know how to maintain the technology,
     - keep the technology up to date, and 
     - even remembering to charge it! ready for use.

But, the tool does not make the communication.  Communication happens between 2 or more people.
Rather than chasing the latest app or latest software or hardware - ask yourself....
- will the communication interaction make the difference?
- can support staff, family and others be supported with more skills and knowledge and experience with interaction;
- does the person who needs AAC support have things to talk about, and things he/she wants to talk about?
- is there time in the day to communicate with the person with AAC?

All the pieces of the puzzle need to come together to enhance a persons’ communication.

Talk to Cathy about how to improve the communication environment to support the person who uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Janice Light & David McNaughton. Putting People First: Re-Thinking the Role of Technology in Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention
December 2013, Vol. 29, No. 4 , Pages 299-30.

0466 579 855

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