1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
1 x 50-minute tutorial weekly
1 x 8-hour independent study weekly
1 22.5 units in DSRS1xxx topics
2 Admission into BEDECSEBDS-B Education (Early Childhood & Special Ed), B Disability Studies
2a Admission into BEDMSSEBDS-B Education (Middle & Secondary/Special Ed), B Disability Studies
2b Admission into BEDPRSEBDS-B Education (Primary R-7 & Special Ed), B Disability Studies
3 13.5 units in DSRS1xxx topics
4 Admission into BHS-Bachelor of Health Sciences
5 18 units in DSRS1xxx topics
6 Admission into BEDECBSE-Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood), Bachelor of Special Education
6a Admission into BEDPRBSE-Bachelor of Education (Primary), Bachelor of Special Education
7 13.5 units in any DSRS1xxx or EDUC1xxx topics
8 EDUC1120 - Teaching and Educational Contexts
9 DSRS1215 - Introduction to Communication Diversity and Support Needs
Must Satisfy: ((1) or ((2 or 2a or 2b) and 3) or (4 and 5) or ((6 or 6a) and 7 and 8 and 9))
Enrolment not permitted
EDUC2336 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
It is assumed that most students undertaking this topic will have some understanding of the types of communication difficulties faced by people with severe communication impairments/complex communication needs and that there will be some understanding of basic instructional procedures and techniques for reinforcing the behaviours of people with cognitive and/or behavioural difficulties.
Assignment; Tests; Tutorial Participation
Topic description

The topic introduces Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), i.e., the use of communication boards, tablet technology with speech output, signs, gestures and other communication methods, within the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework. The emphasis will be on the importance of communication for participation in everyday life and making communities more communication accessible.

Educational aims

The aim of this topic is to for students to have good understanding of:

  • Issues and challenges for people who have very limited conventional means of communication (e.g. speech, written expression).

  • The principles and key concepts around the use of augmentative and alternative communication systems.

  • Strategies to facilitate the development of communication skills in people with complex communication needs that assist them to communicate effectively in natural environments (e.g. home, school, work, the community) and the critical role of communication partners as facilitators.
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic students will be able to:

  1. Understand what AAC is and who can benefit from it and the possibilities/potential of people with complex communication needs

  2. Understand the importance of access to appropriate vocabulary

  3. Have knowledge about assessment frameworks for AAC

  4. Have good understanding of AAC intervention strategies to facilitate the participation of people with complex communication needs in everyday life and the critical role of communication partners

  5. Have good understanding of AAC intervention strategies to include students with complex communication needs at school and the critical role of communictaion partners

  6. Understand the role of team members within AAC

  7. Be familiar with a range of AAC systems including low technology (e.g. Symbol/letter boards) and high technology options (e.g. electronic/computer based communication devices, iPads), and issues in designing AAC systems

  8. Understand the importance of literacy in AAC

  9. Have knowledge on making various environments communication accessible

  10. Have some understanding of evidence-based practice and AAC