Dundee Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Research Group
- From 1st April 2015 to 31st December 2015
- Award: £13,250 via Call 2
The project will provide a specialised support environment where people with aphasia can come together to learn and consolidate skills for using their tablet devices to support their communication. The benefits in using this technology, especially for communication, are immense. However, for individuals with aphasia, they require focussed direction and expert knowledge in order to overcome physical and cognitive access challenges. Unlike other computer support groups, sessions must be planned and structured taking into account the diverse needs and abilities of participants. One-to-one support from helpers and peers which is coordinated by trained assistive technologists who understand the access and learning needs of disabled users is required. The group will provide ongoing support for individuals who no longer receive acute speech and language therapy. Although therapists acknowledge the need for ongoing support, there is currently no mechanism in place to provide this support.
We have been collecting data during the group sessions we will be analysing at the beginning of 2016.
Following some preliminary results on communication within the group.
Communication within the Group
We discussed and trialled a number of online communication methods to find a reliable and accessible way to share information. Email communication via an email discussion list turned out to be the most reliable and accessible way to share information with the group. We chose to establish a Google mailing list which allowed group members to mail to a unique group email address to reach everyone in the group and simplified responses to the group. Group members could join by invitation and stay on the mailing list even after they had left the group to receive on-going information.
OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES
Overall this project was very much enjoyed by the group and a number of new members from as far as Glasgow. The new member from Glasgow is now involved in the setup of a new group on the west coast.
In terms of outputs we established accounts on social media: Facebook and Twitter.
For the group sessions a number of short manuals were produced to illustrate the use of different apps and accessibility features. These will be published online in the next few months.
We also presented our work at the national conference of Communication Matters, a charity for supporting communication for people with a speech impairment.
FACEBOOK PAGE AND TWITTER ACCOUNT
The Tap and Talk Group has a Facebook page to inform interested parties:
Here we regularly post updates from group and drop-in sessions as well as interesting posts from others as well as shared articles found online.
The Twitter handle is @DundeeAAC