DICAG




JOIN OUR MAILING LIST
Newsletter/Blog


2010-10-18
Breaking The Silence


The Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) is an inter-faculty centre aimed at improving the quality of life for all individuals with severe disabilities and the persons working with them including teachers, therapists and parents. The establishment of the CAAC was initiated by Interface, which is a local association for persons with severe communication disorders. The CAAC is the only centre of its kind in Africa and has won the Education Africa Presidential Award for Special Needs in 1998 as well as the Rolex Award for Enterprise for the project Communication for life. The mission of the CAAC is to impact on the lifelong participation of people with disability particularly those with severe communication disorders. This is done by conducting multi-professional training, community training as well as research in the field of severe disabilities and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

Children with severe disabilities participating in ring time.

Children with severe disabilities participating in ring time.

AAC refers to the "transdisicplinary field that uses a variety of symbols, strategies and techniques to assist people who are unable to meet their communication needs through natural speech and / or writing" (Lloyd, Fuller & Arvidson, 1997:1)*. The strategies used include:

  • aided communication, that involves the use of some external device or equipment which may range from simple handmade materials (e.g. picture boards) to highly complex electronic devices that produce speech as well as
  • unaided communication, which requires no additional pieces of equipment using only the individuals own body to communicate (e.g. signing, gesturing, pointing and eye gaze).

Teacher providing choices using symbols for children who need alternative communication systems.

Teacher providing choices using symbols for children who need alternative communication systems.

Approximately 12% of the general population in South Africa is estimated to be communicatively disabled of whom 1-3% have little or no functional speech (less than 15 intelligible words) and are thus dependent on other people for care and interaction. These people could be severely physically and/or mentally impaired. AAC is a strategy that can be utilized to equip people with little or no functional speech with sufficient communication skills to facilitate social integration and improve quality of life.

Everyone can participate!

Everyone can participate!

There is a great need for AAC services in South Africa, as the incidence of persons particularly children with LNFS is higher than in Western countries. The higher incidence can be attributed to lack of intervention in these children's early lives. By implication many of them grow up to be totally dependant on others for care and support because they are not educated or trained. The CAAC was established to address the needs of those most in need of intervention, particularly those in disadvantaged areas. The CAAC has adopted a multifaceted approach to service delivery as is illustrated in the figure below.

For more information on the CAAC visit www.up.ac.za/academic/caac or contact Prof. Alant at alant@libarts.up.ac.za.The Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) is an inter-faculty centre aimed at improving the quality of life for all individuals with severe disabilities and the persons working with them including teachers, therapists and parents. The establishment of the CAAC was initiated by Interface, which is a local association for persons with severe communication disorders. The CAAC is the only centre of its kind in Africa and has won the Education Africa Presidential Award for Special Needs in 1998 as well as the Rolex Award for Enterprise for the project Communication for life. The mission of the CAAC is to impact on the lifelong participation of people with disability particularly those with severe communication disorders. This is done by conducting multi-professional training, community training as well as research in the field of severe disabilities and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).


Back Back to top