Tag Archives: Grampians Regional Communication Service

Building for the Future – A local training organisation focuses on communication support skills in their Cert IV in Disability

In 2015 there were 4.3 million Australians living with disability, and over one-quarter (1.2 million people) had a communication disability.

The Certificate IV in Disability provides students with the skills and knowledge to work effectively with people with disabilities in a range of services. Students learn to develop and implement programs that empower people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and well being. Students later work in residential group homes, training resource centres, day respite centres, other community settings or people’s homes.

Many training organisations across Australia do not include optional communication units in their Cert IV Disability courses, but Federation University in Ballarat recognised that skills in communication are very important. They wanted their students to know more about communication and the different ways people can communicate.

This year, Grampians Regional Communication Service is working with Federation University for their Certificate IV in Disability, aiming to give students a more “hands on” experience of AAC devices and communication strategies.

The VET Teacher for Disability & Community Services and the Regional Communication Service speech pathologist are working together, focusing on developing student skills in identifying communication needs and implementing strategies to support communication needs.  Students will have an opportunity to try, experience and ask questions of a range of AAC devices, enabling future disability support workers to support others with their communication needs. Students will get to experience diverse AAC, such as Talking Mats, chat books, communication boards and books, community request cards and key word sign as well as speech generation devices. Assignments and lectures have been designed to have a more realistic feel and to focus on facilitating and supporting communication to increase independence and participation. Students are also informed of resources available such as allied health professionals, visual supports, Communication Access, Easy English and the National Relay Service. 

For more information on Federation University’s Certificate IV in Disability see: https://study.federation.edu.au/#/course/DLLA

By Georgie Turner, Grampians Regional Communication Service

Supporting technology development within Grampians

On the 24th of November, Grampians Regional Communication Service was invited to attend the Ballarat Digital Hub Adaptive Technology and Apps Event at Central Highlands Library. This was a new initiative which saw providers from Vision Australia, Hearing Australia, Yooralla, SCOPE, Quantum and Pinarc Disability Support come together with trade displays and be available for individual consultations or information sessions.

Pinarc expo standGrampians RCS took up this fantastic opportunity to promote the use of both high and low technology for people with complex communication needs. It further allowed us to network with other agencies from not only around the region but also state and nationwide. On the day Grampians RCS was able to showcase various examples of communication apps for the iPad including speech generating apps, choice making apps, and scheduling and timetabling apps.


We also had many people interested in the recently released Tools 2 Talk app to assist them in generating visual supports. It was great to see many family members of people with communication difficulties attending to explore the wide range of apps available.

The central highlands library staff rated this expo as being successful and reported they would like for it to be established as an annual event in the future. Grampians RCS are currently in talks with the library about how they can further support the use of technology for people with communication difficulties including technology being freely available in the library with particular apps for the community to trial.

By Megan Nestor