Course Title: Communicate using augmentative and alternative communication strategies

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2014

Course Code: HWSS5583C

Course Title: Communicate using augmentative and alternative communication strategies

School: 365T Global, Urban & Social Studies

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4329 - Certificate IV in Disability

Course Contact : Renee Costa

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 0886

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Mary Collins - Teacher, Disability Work. (03) 99254598,

Maura Lynch - Teacher, Disability Work -Industry programs (03) 9925577,

Nominal Hours: 60

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Not Applicable.

Course Description

This course describes the knowledge and skills required by the worker to communicate with people who have complex communication needs (CCN) through effective use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies and systems.
Augmentative and alternative communication refers to methods that replace or supplement speech to address the needs of people whose oral speech skills limit their ability to meet their participation and communication needs.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CHCDIS411A Communicate using augmentative and alternative communication strategies


1. Identify the current communication ability and needs of the person

Performance Criteria:

1.1Work in collaboration with relevant others to identify the communication needs of person with a disability
1.2Use appropriate tools to identify the level of their current communication ability, in line with own work role and organisation requirements
1.3Document the outcomes of this process in line with organisation procedures
1.4Identify the need to consult with additional people including family members
1.5Make appropriate referrals to professionals and other service providers as required


2. Develop effective augmentative and alternative communication strategies

Performance Criteria:

2.1Apply understanding of augmentative and alternative communication
2.3Develop communication strategies to meet individual needs and level of communication
2.4Take into account the person's history and preferences when developing communication strategies
2.5Adjust available tools and programs to address individual needs and preferences
2.6Seek advice from other staff and relevant others


3. Implement augmentative and alternative communication strategy

Performance Criteria:

3.1Demonstrate the use of different strategies and devices in augmentative and alternative communication
3.2Apply understanding of participation model as a communication strategy
3.3Document communication strategies in the person's communication support plan or person-centred plan
3.4Organise the environment to optimise communication opportunities
3.5Reinforce communication by timely and appropriate response
3.6Identify difficulties experienced by the person communicating and respond to difficulties within own work role and responsibilities
3.7Communicate difficulties outside own role and responsibilities to appropriate person
3.8Contribute to consistent use of the communication strategy by following established directions, by providing information and training and by maintaining contact with other users or support persons
3.9Set up and maintain recording system to assist with monitoring and review


4. Monitor, report and review communication strategies

Performance Criteria:

4.1Review recordings to monitor success of communication strategies and make changes as required
4.2Identify barriers to the effective use of augmentative and alternative communication strategies and devices
4.3Work with other relevant people to overcome the barriers
4.4Implement any modifications to communication strategies and devices
4.5Identify opportunities to increase communication vocabulary
4.6Maintain records according to established directions and within organisation protocols

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will have developed and applied the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate your competency in the above elements.

Details of Learning Activities

In this course you will participate in classroom sessions focussing on the knowledge and skills required to support people with disabilities and significant communication and language disorders.  Practical individual and group activities, field visits and discussions will identify and practice the alternative and augmentative methods of  communication and interaction that staff need to master so that they can communicate effectively with the people they support.  The Certiifcate IV in Disability inlcudes a field placement in a community disability service of 200 hours across the whole program and the knowledge and skills you gain in this course will be developed further during the placement.

Teaching Schedule

1Course introduction, links to other  units, assessment tasks
2What is communication?  Links between types of conditions and communication 
3Communication and human development - stages of development of communication and language
4Communication in daily life - social and cultural factors, Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)
5Communication assessment - specialist roles, methods, communication plans
6Field visit/s - to agencies and services specialising in assessment and aids used in AAC
7Practical session in-class:  Assessment Task 2 - making communication aids.
8Field Visit - (to be confirmed) to a school with particular expertise in supporting communication
9Reviewing communication and AAC - introducing the link between human communication and human behaviour
10Developing AAC skills - clients and staff, practising your skills on your fellow students
11Field placement preparation - student roles in communication, behaviour, responding to difficult situations
12Field Placement
13Field Placement
14Placement review  - identifying the values and work practices you want to bring to your communication with the people you support

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

During the sessions you will be directed to relevant sources of information and resources such as the Department of Human Services (DHS) website, Scope, Yooralla Independent Living Centre, Amaze.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is ongoing throughout the course. Assessment will incorporate a range of methods to assess performance and the application of knowledge and skills and will include theory questions, practical activities and field placement.

Assessment Tasks

There are four assessment tasks for this course:

1. Observations, recording and discussion: You will undertake and record guided observations of communication as it occurs in daily life in our society. 

2.  Short answer questions: you will provide responses to a set of questions about communication and language development, AAC and other strategies and work practices

3.  Practical in-class session: you will develop 2D and 3D communication aids based on scenarios detailing client’s communication needs, skills and preferences.

4. Field Placement task: in consultation with your field placement supervisor you will select and work with a client with signficant communication needs and undertake observation and analysis of the communication characteristics, needs and any links with behavioural issues.  

Assessment Matrix

A detailed assessment matrix will be available from the course teacher

Other Information

Assessment Tasks Submission Cover Sheet
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work, including online submissions. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.
It is strongly advised that you attend all workshops in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.
You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your competency. Information regarding student feedback can be found at:;ID=9pp3ic9obks7
Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. The Student progress policy can be found at:;ID=vj2g89cve4uj1
Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension. Information regarding application for special consideration can be found at:;ID=g43abm17hc9w
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. For more information on this policy go to Academic Integrity Web site:;ID=kw02ylsd8z3n

Course Overview: Access Course Overview