As the Minister responsible for Communication Equipment and Support, often referred to as Augmentative and Alternative Communication ( AAC), I am delighted to introduce this Scottish Government Guidance which covers Our Vision, Principles and the Definitions of Communication Equipment and Support in using that equipment.
The Scottish Government is committed to improving the lives of people who use and need communication equipment and support. We recognise that communication is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, and has the potential to enhance the lives of children and adults across Scotland, enabling all who use this equipment to participate in their communities and be fully included in society.
That is why, together with partners, we introduced a legislative duty on the provision of communication equipment and support in using that equipment - Part 4 of the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016. For the first time, this gives children and adults in Scotland of all ages and from all care groups, the right to the communication equipment and the support they need to use their communication equipment.
Experts, nominated by the National AAC Advisory Group, have been working together to develop this guidance. This has been a culmination of detailed discussion, negotiation and co-production and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved for their time, expertise, support and attention to detail throughout this process.
I am aware that AAC provision can, and will be delivered at times, through a multi-agency partnership approach by Health Boards, Integration Joint Boards, Education and the third sector. It is, for this reason, this guidance has been developed with the aim of supporting all who have an interest in this field, including individuals who use AAC and their families.
This guidance will be a beneficial tool in supporting the delivery of the legislative duty by providing practical information, which I am confident, will continue to make a positive difference to the lives of children and adults, who have lost their voice or have difficulty speaking.
In our efforts to continuously improve the quality of life of people who use and need communication equipment and support, the Scottish Government has been working with partners, including NHS Boards and Integration Joint Boards. We will continue to do so to support the delivery of the legislative duty and the wider programme of work going forward.
May I again, take this opportunity to thank you all for your dedication, collaboration and support and I look forward to hearing of the future outcomes that this programme of work will bring.