The different methods that are used to support communication which is also known as augmentative and alternate communication (AAC) includes but not limited to:
This can be used as a point of reference for the people I support for example if K wants to have his shower/bath I tend to give him his sponge or a duck which indicates that it is time for a shower/bath. This object helps K to know that it is his time to shower/bath.
The photographs of people or items is a good way of supporting communication and it is portable and can be used as objects. B loves it when he is being shown pictures of the activities he will partake in for the day, these pictures are in the form of an album.
These are beneficiary to those that have or do not have disability. It is being used around us in everyday life, from instructions in how to use a new appliance to signs and symbols on the road, it is also used in my office to show the emergency fire exit, communication board, office notice board.
? British Sign Language
The British Sign Language (BSL) is used mostly by people who has a hearing loss, BSL uses the hands, body and face to make signs which represent words or phrases. It also has its own alphabets which is expressed using the fingers on the hand. This is also known as finger spelling. BSL is a language in its own right developed over many hundreds of years and was formally recognised by the UK government on 18 March 2003 as an official language. BSL can be learned in stages by attending college or training days offered by selected organisations.
This is a form of signing which is intended to support speech, not replace it. It is a simple form of signing which can be used with people who have difficulty forming words. People and their network of carers use it in over 40 countries worldwide and it is available in English, Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi and Punjabi text to ensure equal access to communication support. Makaton can be signed to support speech or used to support the written word. Following the recent government legislation on public and commercial services providing information for everyone Makaton sign and symbols are being used more and more around the community.
? Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
PECS is a communication system where the person exchange a picture they select, from a carefully compiled album of pictures, for the item they want. This method of communication gives the person independence and allows them to express their needs or feelings easily and quickly. This system also has the advantage of being portable and easy to use and understand. It is also very encouraging for the person, as their communication is instantly rewarded. The album of pictures can be compiled to include simple symbolic pictures related to the persons needs, interest and preferences. The types of pictures you could include may be basic such as a drink or biscuit, as the person becomes more confident with the communication system, more pictures can be added to the album.
The use of touch in communication play an important role with individuals having a sight or hearing loss, or both. However, some touch may be seen as inappropriate. This includes touching the intimate parts of the person and patronising touch such as patting them on the head. Individuals who have no verbal speech may tap on the arm, place their hand on your shoulder or may hold ones hand if they require an attention, they may also place ones hand on their head or neck if they require comfort. Some people who have dual sensory disabilities may touch others faces to identify who the person is . In this case it is the face that is communicating to the person.
? Deaf-Blind Manual Alphabet
For individuals who are deaf-blind, a slightly modified version of the BSL finger spelling alphabet is used. The person signs letters on to the hand of the recipient to spell out what they wish to communicate. The recipient then responds by signing on to the hand of the person. Both parties in this form of communication need to be well skilled at signing as well as being able to spell accurately.
This is the method of communication used by individuals who have partial sight loss or blind. It is a series of raised dots on paper formed into set pattern which represent letters of the alphabet. The individuals read Braille by running their fingers over the dots to feel the pattern and identify the letter it represents. Braille is becoming more widely used on everyday objects such as medication packs and buttons on a lift as well as for information leaflets provided by organisations such as social services.