This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to communicate with people who have complex communication needs through effective use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies and systems.  AAC refers to methods that replace or supplement speech to address the needs of people whose oral speech skills limit their ability to meet their participation and communication needs.  AAC systems comprise communication aids, symbols, strategies, and techniques and methods that may be aided or unaided.

This unit applies to disability support work in a variety of contexts. Work performed requires a range of well developed, person-centred skills where some discretion and judgement is required and workers will take responsibility for their own outputs.

Unit details

Study level:
Vocational and further education (TAFE)
Unit code:


Assessment tasks will be designed to reinforce and extend knowledge and skill competence within set and controlled parameters in accordance with each unit's learning outcomes and performance criteria requirements, including the setting of work based practical application tasks designed to provide evidence of competence outcomes, within periodic and scheduled timelines. Students will be expected to demonstrate the following required skills: - developed effective AAC strategies for at least 1 person with complex communication needs.Students will also be expected to demonstrate the following knowledge: - definitions of communication and different mechanisms people use to communicate; - how people with disabilities may communicate and how to facilitate/support their communication; - principles and practices of AAC; - basic AAC strategies and their correct use for the person's level of communication; - basic steps in the process for assessing an individual's needs for the use of AAC; causes and conditions associated with communication impairment, including stroke and acquired brain injury (ABI); - cross cultural communication protocols; - roles and functions of different professionals in the development, implementation and maintenance of AAC strategies and devices; - available range of communication aids and their correct use, and; - work role boundaries - responsibilities and limitations.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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