What do we do?
Most of the CAAC main activities are in disadvantaged areas where training is conducted at preschool, primary and secondary levels as well as other institutions to support inclusion of children with severe disabilities into the educational and employment context. Activities focus on training as well as material and technology development to support inclusion of children and adults with severe communication disabilities into communities.
In the 16 years of the existence of the CAAC, staff has trained over 6 400 AAC users, parents, teachers and therapists in facilitating communication with individuals with severe disabilities. Follow-up visits to contexts confirmed that the CAAC has reached over 8000 children, youth and adults through training of families, community leaders and other professionals. Activities include training in communities as well as five post-graduate programs in the fields of early childhood intervention, severe disabilities and AAC.
Leadership and advocacy
The CAAC recently embarked on a national project to assist youth with severe disabilities in getting access to communication and information technology, called the Fofa Project. This project assists young people to "speak for themselves" and facilitate their access to employment.
The CAAC staff supports people with LNFS, their families and professional teams by conducting consultations where they collaboratively problem-solve issues related to communication and independent functioning within the communities.
The CAAC has an information session day once a month to provide people with severe communication problems, their families and professionals with the opportunity to be exposed to current high and low technology solutions for people with little or no functional speech.
The CAAC staff and students are engaged on an ongoing basis in research in the fields of AAC, severe disabilities and early childhood intervention
We impact the lives of individuals and families by multi-professional training and research in:
- AAC and severe disabilities
- Early childhood intervention
- Technologies for communication
- Policy implementation
- New sights, new thoughts, new questions
- If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well
- Diverse individuals, collective strength
- Authenticity, integrity, accountabilty
The Centre for AAC regards the following as major priorities in terms of intervention and rehabilitation:
- Multidisciplinary research and training focusing on the development of the fields of Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC), Severe Disabilities and Early Childhood Intervention (ECI). This is intended to extend and enrich the fields of AAC and Severe Disabilities and feed back expertise to the different disciplines primarily involved in intervention.
- The provision of training, research and service delivery conducted within the framework of national priorities and the mission of the University of Pretoria. Although the focus is on communication, the training and research focuses are broader in order to facilitate implementation of strategies in real life contexts. The primary domains focused on are:
- Team work and collaborative problem Solving
- Early childhood intervention
- Education for all
- Life-skill training
- Employment for people with disabilities
- Assistive Technology for people with severe disabilities
- Expertise in the field of AAC technology; From communication devices to environmental control systems.
- Distance education: Multi-media programs and web-based training are used to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills that will ultimately lead to the inclusion of people with severe disabilities into society.
- Inter-institutional collaboration both national and international with the aim to promote research excellence and capacity building in the fields of AAC, Severe disabilities, community development, Networking with community members and stakeholders to provide training, research and service delivery.