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What is the Augmentative Communication and Writing Service (ACWS)?

ACWS provides Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services to adults with physical disabilities. AAC refers to a collection of communicative strategies and technologies that support individuals who cannot communicate effectively using natural speech or in writing.

These can include non-verbal communication techniques such as facial expression, eye gaze and gestures as well as other systems and devices such as

  • picture/symbol/word communication displays
  • electronic devices that produce a synthetic or digitized voice
  • adapted computer systems

Who does ACWS serve?

We provide services to adults (18 years of age or older) with acquired and congenital physical disabilities whose

  • natural speech does not meet their daily needs (i.e., little or no speech or difficult to understand speech) who require assistance with face to face communication, and/or
  • ability to write is compromised and client has a daily need to write.

Who are the members of ACWS?

An Augmentative and Alternative Communication team combines the knowledge and skills of professionals from a number of disciplines. The ACWS team includes clinicians from:

  • Communications Disorders (Speech-Language Pathology)
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Rehabilitation Engineering

Which services does ACWS provide?

Our team assesses and matches an individual’s needs and abilities to an Augmentative and Alternative Communication system and helps obtain and set up any equipment that is recommended.

As an expanded level AAC clinic designated by the Assistive Devices Program (ADP), we can prescribe a range of AAC devices and obtain funding through ADP for lease or purchase, as appropriate. Equipment trials and continued team support are provided.

How are clients referred to ACWS?

As a service of The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, ACWS accepts referrals from any of the physiatrists at the centre. Family physicians may refer, but a physiatrist consultation is required. A screening form will also need to be filled out.

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