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Partner-assisted scanning

partner assisted scanning, partner-assisted scanning on the dynamic learning maps
Partner-assisted scanning or listener-assisted scanning is an augmentative and alternative communication technique used to enable a person with severe speech impairments to communicate The approach is used with individuals who, due to sickness or disability, have severe motor impairments and good memory and attention skills It is used as an alternative to direct access eg pointing to symbols, pictures, or speech generating devices when these are not used


  • 1 Users of partner-assisted scanning
  • 2 Technique
  • 3 Bibliography
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References

Users of partner-assisted scanning

Partner-assisted scanning is a technique used with children who have severe motor and communication impairments, and especially those with additional visual impairment, those who do not yet have an established alternative form of communication, or who are unable to use their usual method, perhaps because their electronic speech output device is being repaired Adults may also use scanning with a partner when they are not using their more high-tech alternative communication device Partner-assisted scanning can also be the main means of communication for adults in late stages of diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ALS, multiple sclerosis MS or those in intensive care


In partner-assisted scanning, the communication partner presents messages or letter choices in a sequential fashion to the individual who wishes to communicate something, and the individual then makes their selection Scanning refers to the process of items presented one after the other, in the same patterns, until a choice is made as the desired item is reached Items can be presented either visually, by pointing, or auditorily, by speaking

Efficiency may be increased in visual partner scanning by the partner first pointing to groups of items, such as rows of letters, and once a row has been selected, proceeding to point to all letters in that row until a choice is made The communicator can spell words this way in order to express what they need to communicate Similarly, the partner can point to groups of words Visual scanning may also be accomplished by the partner pointing to pictures, such as those in a personal communication book, using an agreed upon pattern

The selecting system can be divided into two categories: alphanumeric and choice making These differ, because in the alphanumeric version you scan through letters and numbers Choice-making is where you present multiple choices For example, when asked "Would you like a movie or book", the communicator indicates a "yes" response They can do this in a variety of ways, like facial expressions, vocalizations, or body gestures To determine the best way, one's team of caretakers has to look at the individual's abilities

Auditory scanning with a partner is often used when the communicator has very poor vision Groups of letters can be represented by numbers, such as 1=abcdef The partner lists off the numbers, and once a group is selected, he or she will name all letters in that group Auditory scanning can also be accomplished with lists of novel messages The partner orally lists the options and then repeats them so the communicator can make a selection This could be a short list of emotions to inquire as to how someone is feeling eg happy, sad, frustrated The partner and communicator can memorize many lists, or "menus", with sub-lists covering different topics for communication It is important that lists are repeated in the same order and with pauses after each item, so that there is time to respond

Jean-Dominique Bauby, who had locked-in syndrome, used partner-assisted scanning to communicate and to write his book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly


  • Beukelman, D R & Mirenda, P 2005 Augmentative & Alternative Communication: Supporting Children & Adults With Complex Communication Needs Baltimore: Paul H Brookes Publishing Company
  • Beukelman, D R, Garrett K L, & Yorkston, K M 2007 Augmentative Communication Strategies For Adults With Acute Or Chronic Medical Conditions Baltimore: Paul H Brookes Publishing Company

See also

  • Facilitated communication


  1. ^ Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005, p41
  2. ^ a b c Lilienthal, N 2009 What is Partner Assisted Visual Scanning Retrieved May 2010
  3. ^ Burkhart, L J Partner-Assisted Communication Strategies For Children Who Face Multiple Challenges Retrieved May 2010
  4. ^ a b Beukelman, Garrett & Yorkston, 2007, p 41
  5. ^ Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005, p443
  6. ^ Beukelman, Garrett, & Yorkston, 2007, p40 & 401
  7. ^ Hampson, J 2006 Assisted Communication Systems: Let me show you how I communicate Retrieved May 2010
  8. ^ Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005, p42
  9. ^ PISP Auditory Scanning Skills Retrieved May 2010
  10. ^ Hanser, G 2007 Promoting Communication on the Fly for Students with Significant Disabilities, Including Deaf-Blindness: Top 10 Tips for Partner Assisted Scanning Retrieved May 2010
  11. ^ Mallon, Thomas June 15, 1997 "In the Blink of an Eye" New York Times Retrieved 2010-05-24 

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