Vranch House is a centre for the treatment of over 2,000 outpatients with physical difficulties, a provider of various therapies throughout Devon and an independent Day School in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

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Last updated: 12/06/2024

Augmentative or Alternative Communication (AAC)


For individuals who do not rely on verbal language to express themselves, a range of Augmentative or Alternative Communication (AAC) systems can be used. AAC is divided into three categories:

  • Un-aided

Where an individual does not use additional equipment to communicate (e.g. they may use their hands to sign)

  • Low-tech

Where and individual uses additional equipment to construct and convey their message. The additional equipment does not require a power source (e.g. using a pen and paper to write, or giving someone a picture or photograph of a desired item/activity)

  • High-tech

Where an individual uses additional equipment to construct and convey a message. This equipment requires a power source to operate (e.g. using software on a tablet device to speak a message)


The NEW Devon AAC Intervention Service provides specialist Speech and Language Therapist input for the use of high-tech AAC systems. This service is lead by Michelle Weick, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, and is delivered in Episodes of Care. An Episode of Care may include the following:

  • Assessment of the individual's current communication needs and recommendation of a suitable form of high-tech AAC
  • Advice and assistance in procuring equipment (where appropriate)
  • Devise a communication plan that will set out how best to implement and develop the individual's ability to use AAC, for a variety of purposes, and with different people
  • Closely work with the individual and family, as well as teaching and care staff to ensure the program is implemented effectively in all settings


The NEW Devon AAC Intervention Service provides services for individuals who: 

  • Are aged up to 19years and are currently in education
  • Present with a severe/complex communication difficulty AND
  • Require the use of high-tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices (requiring a power source to operate)


Referral Procedure

1.      Use the ‘Guidance on referral criteria' document to determine whether the individual meets the eligibility criteria to access the NEW Devon AAC Intervention Service

2.      If unsure, contact the NEW Devon AAC Intervention Service:

Tel: 01392 468333

Email: tba

3.      If the individual meets the referral cirteria, complete and send the referral form

4.      The referrer will be contacted if further information is required before accepting the referral

5.      The referral is either rejected or accepted

6.      Accepted referrals will be booked for an inital session within 18 weeks of the referal being accepted


AAC referral form [pdf]

AAC referral form [doc]