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The Scottish Centre of Technology for the Communication Impaired (SCTCI) exists to provide a high quality tertiary level of AAC service to people referred to SCTCI from 10 of the 14 NHS Boards in Scotland:

Ayrshire and Arran                          


Dumfries and Galloway                   

Forth Valley   



Greater Glasgow and Clyde             



Western Isles

SCTCI is accommodated within the WESTMARC building and is staffed by two speech and language therapists, a clinical technologist and a part-time secretary.

What does SCTCI do?

SCTCI staff work throughout Scotland with both children and adults who have significant limitations to their ability to communicate through speech.  Our aim is to help to improve an individual’s communication opportunities through the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). 

AAC is the term used to describe methods of communication which can be used to supplement the more usual methods of communication when they are impaired.  AAC techniques and strategies include the use of unaided systems such as signing and gesture as well as aided techniques ranging from picture charts to the most sophisticated computer technology currently available. (See also )

We do this by:


  • providing an independent assessment service on an outreach basis for people living in Scotland who may benefit from some form of AAC.

o       SCTCI staff will visit people in their homes, day centres, schools, in hospital or at work etc. to carry out this assessment.

o       Most assessments are done over several visits.

o       Assessments are carried out by one of the SCTCI speech and language therapist and the clinical technologist working alongside local professionals.  The person being assessed and his/her family are actively involved.

o       We take into account environmental and other factors which might influence the person’s ability to use an AAC system.

  • training and education

o       SCTCI staff provide training for people who would like to know more about AAC.  We run regular courses—both in SCTCI and around the country.  SCTCI staff also lecture on pre-qualification courses for speech and language therapists, nurses, care staff etc. 

  • being available for telephone advice and consultation

o       SCTCI staff welcome enquiries about:

      • The needs of an individual
      • Assessments and making a referral
      • Training
      • General information about AAC
      • Technical support and fault finding
      • Suitable AAC and other special needs IT resources for a department/school etc
  • being involved in research and development

o       SCTCI staff have close links with the three university departments currently carrying out research into AAC strategies and techniques: University of Dundee: Department of Applied Computing, University of Edinburgh: CALL Centre and University of Edinburgh: AAC Research Unit.

o       SCTCI staff are actively involved in many organisations in the UK and at an international level including ISAAC, Communication Matters, Augmentative Communication in Practice: Scotland, Special Interest Group: AAC (Scotland).

  • having a library of resource materials

o       At SCTCI we have examples of most of the electronic communication aids currently available, as well as lots of examples of low-tech communication systems.  We also have computer programs for communication, as well as different types of keyboards and computer mouse alternatives.  We use this equipment in our assessments – but some is also available for loan for trial/assessment. 

o       SCTCI has reference books and journals on AAC.

For more information about AAC in general, please check out

Last Updated: 04 March 2015