The ACE Centre in Oxford, a centre of excellence for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) provision, is set to close permanently on 30 June 2012.
The Centre has been at the forefront of AAC provision and service development for nearly 30 years and managers blame its closure on funding cuts and a lack of commitment from the Government to support those with AAC needs. Ministers are accused of moving too slowly in producing their plans for AAC provision.
Anna Reeves, the Manager of ACE Centre North said that “The ACE Centre in Oxford led the way in forming the foundations of the principles upon which the assessment of children and young people with complex communication needs should be based.” The Oxford Centre was a pioneer in bringing about collaborative practice between education and health professionals, services and government departments.
Anita Kerwin-Nye, who heads up the speech, language and communication coalition The Communication Trust, said that “It is very sad and deeply concerning to be losing such an expert skill-set on delivering specialist AAC services.”
The Trust has called upon the Government to implement the recommendations that Jean Gross, formerly Communication Champion, laid out in last year’s report Specialised AAC Provision ‘commissioning national services’ to ensure that specialist expertise in AAC is preserved.