Communication is the key to connection, both to others and to the community. Typical individuals are able to choose from a range of communication forms, often and sometimes subconsciously using multiple means of communication simultaneously, such as speech and body language. If one mode of communication is hindered, that individual has multiple other methods of communication to rely on.
In contrast, individuals with communication impairments may rely heavily, or even completely, on a single method of communication. Though this may be effective and generally reliable, in times of crisis, such as significant illness or injury, loss of communication is possible and can be extremely restrictive and distressing to those impacted.
Recently a DDA resident found themselves in this unfortunate situation, leaving support workers seeking a short-term assistive communication solution for an individual who would typically not require one. From a healthcare perspective, loss of communication prevents patients from expressing their needs, limits their ability to communicate pain or other feelings, and restricts their participation and choice in their care.
To bridge this sudden gap in communication, and limit the impact on the resident in need, a back-up method was chosen using iPad technology. Chatterboards AAC is an iOS compatible app which allowed support workers to program personalized visual boards that, by using a ‘touch to talk’ method, this resident was able to use to communicate feelings, make choices, answer questions, and interact with others, which would otherwise have been impossible.
Communication is a key. Losing any key is distressing and it is always a good plan to have a back-up available so you are not locked out.