The AAC Project

(Alternative and Augmentative communication for children unable to speak)


This project was to support the learners at Tembaletu school who are ‘non verbal’.  Many of them have ‘dyskinetic cerebral palsy’ which means that the basal ganglia area of the brain has been damaged. Most of these young people have normal or above average intellect but are severely physically disabled as they are unable to coordinate any of their muscles. It is extremely difficult for them as they are unable to speak or write due to their physical limitations and so need to have alternative ways of communicating (for example Stephen Hawking uses a computer with special software to communicate).


Alternative and augmentative communicationInitially as there was no speech therapist at the school we brought in a sessional special needs facilitator who helped

the teachers realise how these learners could communicate using their eyes/ gestures and how teachers could adapt their lessons so the learners were more actively involved.

Computer room We also purchased the fledgling AAC department a dedicated computer along with a laser printer / guillotine and laminator. A security door to the small room that was being used was put up so that the equipment could be kept safe. As the department grew and the school gained a speech therapist, there was more interest from the teachers at the school to include the non verbal learners more actively during teaching. Friends of Tembaletu then bought the school a GRID software licence for 20 users to use as part of a network. This included special keyboards and switches so the AAC learners could access the computers through very small movements or even eye gaze


AAC room equipment
This makes it possible for individual learners to now have dedicated computers in their own classrooms that can be used for class work. These young learners are also teaching their teachers a thing or two about how much classwork that can be done on a computer!

Back to Completed Projects

AAC: using a laptop with her toes

AAC room

AAC: learning can be fun!

AAC room