Making communication easy; Allied Health Assistant developed resource

Mrs Gillian Williamson1

1THS (south) Speech Pathology, Hobart, Australia


Speech pathologists provide Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) aids to clients in the community with communication difficulties. Each communication book can take hours to develop and each clinician has a varied approach and resources. This makes it difficult for other staff e.g. Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) to prepare or adapt an aid for their client.  Some resources currently being used by speech pathologists are out of date and utilise images that are inappropriate for some clientele. Anecdotal reports indicate this is due to the limited time speech pathologists have to produce individualised resources. Due to these issues the speech pathology AHA developed a resource that contains a variety of AAC templates and example aids.

The Aims: 

  1. To assess Speech Pathologists perceptions of the AHA developed AAC resource with regards to (i) its ease of use (ii) appropriateness of AAC aids developed using the resource.
  2. To determine the clinician time saved by utilising the AHA to develop AAC aids using the resource.

 The Method:

  • An anonymous survey of 10 speech pathologists in Tasmanian Health Service (South) will be conducted to obtain their perceptions regarding the ease of use of the AAC resource; and the appropriateness of each AAC aid using the resource.
  • Time taken to develop each AAC resource by the AHA will be recorded to determine the time speech pathologists would otherwise have spent undertaking this task.

The Results:

Results will be discussed with reference to the aforementioned aims, and the potential AHAs have for increasing clinical capacity within speech pathology.


Gillian is an Allied Health Assistant in the Tasmanian Health Service.She emigrated from Yorkshire, UK in 1984 and had a background in hospitality, until being made redundant in 2001. A great opportunity for a new start! Gillian entered into Aged Care at the Freemasons Nursing Home. In 2005, Gillian began work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant in DHHS. She has since rotated into numerous disciplines and worked in a variety of settings, gaining certificate 4 in Allied Health Assistant along the way. She currently works with Community Speech Pathology and Podiatry.


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