Assistive Communication Service

Service overview

We are one of NHS England's identified specialised Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services. We provide specialised AAC assessments, prescription, initial training and set up of equipment. The team includes highly specialist speech and language therapists, a highly specialist occupational therapist and a design engineer.

The service is for: Children and adults with complex communications needs which could benefit from augmentative and alternative communications support/equipment. 

We accept referrals for patients living in: 

  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Kensington & Chelsea
  • Westminster
  • Barnet
  • Camden
  • Islington
  • Haringey
  • Hackney
  • Tower Hamlets
  • City
  • Enfield.

What we do:

  • specialised AAC assessments, prescription, initial training and set up of equipment
  • provides specialist AAC advice, information and training to individuals, families, carers and professionals involved in the delivery of local AAC services
  • supports the establishment, training and development of local AAC services
  • supports the development of effective local AAC teams and care pathway procedures by which to manage referrals to specialised AAC services.

Referrals are accepted from:Health, education and social care professionals. See referral criteria below . Click here for guidance on referral criteria for specialised AAC services.

  • All referrals will be acknowledged within 10 days of receipt and responses will state if there is reason to delay the assessment or referral acceptance, such as insufficient referral information.
  • Otherwise, the service will assess clients fulfilling the acceptance criteria, typically within 6 weeks from the date of acceptance of the referral.

Referral forms:

Contact the service: 020 8102 4067

Find out more about Augmentative and Alternative Communication at www.communicationmatters.org.uk   

Referral criteria

  
Referral criteria:
 
  • a severe/complex communication difficulty associated with a range of physical, cognitive, learning or sensory deficits
  • a clear discrepancy between their level of understanding and ability to speak

In addition, an individual must:

  • be able to understand the purpose of a communication aid
  • have developed beyond cause and effect understanding
  • may have experience of using low tech AAC which is insufficient to enable them to realise their communicative potential

An individual may have a deteriorating condition in which case the above criteria will be applied with regards to the person's anticipated abilities within a reasonable time period (e.g. 18 weeks).

Exclusion criteria:

  • preverbal communication skills
  • not having achieved cause and effect understanding
  • have impaired cognitive abilities that would prevent the individual from retaining information on how to use equipment
  • lives outside of the area covered

Referral sources and response times:

  • Referrals are accepted from health, education and social care professionals working in local teams.
  • All referrals will be acknowledged within 10 days of receipt by the service and will state if there is any reason to delay the assessment or referral acceptance, such as insufficient referral information.
  • Otherwise, the service will assess clients fulfilling the acceptance criteria, typically within 6 weeks from the date of acceptance of the referral.
  
 
 
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