What is it like to be a communication access consultant?

…and what does the Communication Access Symbol mean to them?

CAC 1 quoteWhen a business signs up to get the Communication Access Symbol, the business may need some help from a speech pathologist to get them ready for their assessment by the Communication Access Team (CAT).

A Communication Access Consultant is a speech pathologist who is part of the Communication Access Team (CAT).

Matthew has been a Communication Access Consultant for around 2 years.

Matthew’s role is predominantly focused around supporting Communication Access Assessors during business assessments and providing feedback to businesses on the outcome of their assessments. Matthew speaks of the satisfaction he gets when awarding the Communication Access Symbol to a business and his hopes for the future.

When I talk to a business about their communication access award, I often hear real excitement that they have been awarded the symbol. The message I hear is that staff have been really committed to the idea of communication access – that makes the hard work rewarding.  

There are two things that have struck me while working on assessments. The first is how frequently people are nervous when communicating with someone with complex communication needs. Sometimes I want to say “Relax… Just relax… You’re doing fine!”, but of course, you can’t do that in an assessment situation.

The second is the challenge presented by poor physical access when we’ve conducted assessments. For example, an assessor and I watched a procession of trams come and go from the University of Melbourne tram terminus, but we had to wait half an hour before an accessible tram arrived.

I’d like to think that giving people with complex communication needs a louder voice will drive improvements in all aspects of accessibility, not just communication accessibility.

To speak to a member of the Communication Access Team about your business or interest in communication access, contact circ@scopeaust.org.au