Building AAC Services From the Ground UpBy Lund, Shelley; TherapyTimes,
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Article discusses the services at a nonprofit clinic for individuals with communication disorders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Clinic is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Health Sciences and the nonprofit Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI). The AAC Clinic serves individuals with disabilities including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, autism, and developmental disabilities as well as those recovering from stroke and traumatic brain injury. Assessment and treatment modalities at the clinic include a comprehensive case history of each client to identify physical and cognitive strengths and limitations. An observation in the client’s daily environment or a telephone interview with the client’s caregiver or family is completed to aid in a subsequent client assessment. The client’s motor as well as communication skills are assessed, including cognition, memory, and new learning abilities, in order to match him or her to a communication device. A critical step in this process is the choice of symbol representation, whether use of the alphabet, words spelled out, or pictures. The AAC Clinic retains an inventory of communication devices and also works with vendors and manufacturers who provide devices on loan. Once a client is matched with a device, the clinic provides ongoing therapy. Challenges perceived by therapists at the clinic include the development of devices that are more physically accessible and improvement of the voice quality of speech generating tools. Funding is another challenge mentioned, as time spent setting up communication systems for the clients is not billable to insurance providers and must be funded via grants, foundations, and individual donors.
Published by: Valley Forge Publishing Group (Website:http://www.valleyforgepress.com/)
Link to text: http://www.therapytimes.com/040511Milwaukee