Course Title: Communicate using augmentative and alternative communication strategies

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2015

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 and Community Services Work, (03) 99254598,

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:

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


2. Develop effective augmentative and alternative communication strategies

Performance Criteria:

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


3. Implement augmentative and alternative communication strategy

Performance Criteria:

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


4. Monitor, report and review communication strategies

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Review recordings to monitor success of communication strategies and make changes as required
4.2 Identify barriers to the effective use of augmentative and alternative communication strategies and devices
4.3 Work with other relevant people to overcome the barriers
4.4 Implement any modifications to communication strategies and devices
4.5 Identify opportunities to increase communication vocabulary
4.6 Maintain 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 (unit) you will participate in class sessions focussing on the knowledge and skills required to support people with disabilities and complex communication needs.  Practical group and individual activities and field visits will support your learning about how to communicate effectively with the people you will be supporting.  The Certificate IV in Disability includes a 200 hour field placement in a community disability service.  The knowledge and skills you gain in this course will be further developed during the field placement. 

Teaching Schedule

This course (unit) has been grouped for delivery with the course (unit) CHCICS305B Provide behaviour support in the context of individualised plans. The delivery schedule for the grouping is below:

ClassTopicUnit and elements
1Introduction to the course group - Complex communication and behaviour support

CHCDIS411C  - 1,2,3,4

CHCICS305B - 1,2,3,4

2The links between communication and behaviour, Field activity - communication in practice in the community

CHCDIS411C -1,2, 3, 4

CHCICS305B - 1

3Communication and human development - stages of communication development

CHCDIS411C -1,2, 3, 4


4Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Complex Communication Needs (CCN)  CHCDIS411C -1,2, 3, 4


5Communication assessment - the tools used to identify communication levels, modes and needs, Person Communication Dictionaries (PCDs)CHCDIS411C -1,2, 3, 4

CHCICS305B - 1,2, 3, 4

6In-class Assessment Task - Developing a Person Communication Dictionary (PCD) CHCDIS411C - 1,2, 3, 4

CHCICS305B -1,3  

7Field Visit - Scope Communication Resource Centre (to be confirmed)CHCDIS411C - 1,2,3,4

CHCICS305B - 1

8In-class Assessment task  - Making a communication aid

CHCDIS411C -2,3,4



9 Mid-semester break, no class 
10 Review - the links between communication and behaviour, supporting positive and inclusive behaviours, legislative contexts for behaviour support 

CHCDIS411C - 1


11Supporting positive and inclusive behaviour - observation and analysis, proactive and response plansCHCDIS411C-1,3,4 


12 Field Placement Preparation - the student role in communication, behaviour support and interactions on field placement.  Placement assessment tasks.CHCDIS411C-1,2,3,4


13 Field PlacementCHCDIS411C-1,2,3,4


14 Field Placement as above
15 Field Placement as above
16 Review of field placement - communication and behaviour support in practice in the disability service sector.  CHCDIS411C-1,2,3,4


17Using observations and the data collected - analysis and support plans in practiceCHCDIS411C


2, 4


 Recording, reporting and responding to behaviours of concern.

Review of the units - developing communication and behaviour support



Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

During the sessions you will be directed to relevant sources of information and resources such as the Scope Communication Resource Centre, Yooralla Independent Living Centre, the Department of Human Services and 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 three assessment tasks for this course:

  1. Making communication aids within an Augmentative and Alternative Communication context
  2. Understanding theory – short answer questions about communication, language development, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and other strategies and processes to support communication
  3. Field Placement task: Observation and analysis of communication

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 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 and classes in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.
You will receive verbal and written feedback from your 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 found at:;ID=9pp3ic9obks7  
Student progress
Monitoring student progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential. The Student Progress policy can be found at:;IDvj2g89cve4uj1  
Special Consideration Policy
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment buy 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 website:;ID=kw02ylsd8z3n  

Course Overview: Access Course Overview