Inclusion Ireland are delighted to launch a report on Communication as a human right: Having your voice heard through Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). The report follows a  seminar on Alternative and Augmentative Communication, held in partnership with Irish Association of Speech and Language Therapists which was led by AAC users themselves.  The seminar celebrated the ways in which people communicate other than speaking, through their gestures, signs, eyes and technology.

You can access the full report here: Report on Alternative and Augmentative Communication Seminar October 19th 2022

In the spirit of AAC and supporting people to communicate in the way that they choose, we have also created a summary video which you can watch here.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) users, experts and policy makers explored the pathway to ensuring everyone’s communication is valued and everyone gets the support they need to access their rights. This included examining good practice, barriers to AAC and putting forward recommendations to improve access and use of AAC in Ireland. The event was also attended by representatives from the HSE and the National Council for Special Education, bringing together the policy and practice in our education and health sectors:

The recommendation included actions around the areas of:

  • Collaboration between the sectors of Health and Education
  • Policy and Guidance Development
  • Resources to improve Access to AAC
  • Funding Pathways of AAC
  • Culture and Attitudes around ACC throughout the lifespan of the user
  • Training in and Knowledge of AAC
  • Representation and Visibility of AAC users

Importantly at the seminar AAC user Aisling Mason quite simply said: “My AAC reader lets me live the life I want to live”

This report captures the positive stories of AAC, the barriers to AAC, and the solutions to making it more widely accessible, available and accepted by all.

Derval McDonagh CEO of Inclusion Ireland says; People have a right to communicate in the way that suits them best. We must honour and value the use of AAC just as we value when people use speech to speak up. Our voice goes beyond speech and AAC shows us this. We commit to following up on all of the actions we outline in this report and to continue to work alongside AAC users to advocate for change until every person who needs AAC has access to it, with the support they need to be heard”.

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