Compass NHS England Specialised AAC Service

COVID-19 update

Compass is now providing home visits as usual but will continue to risk assess each visit and wear appropriate PPE.

Please read our eligibility criteria and continue referring to our Specialised AAC Service.

If you have a fault with your equipment, please call our technical support line 020 8780 4500 Ext: 5965 or e-mail

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AAC refers to Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This is a term used to describe devices or systems that help people to communicate if they have difficulty speaking. This could be through electronic means, such as computers which provide a synthesised voice, or non-electronic means such as communication books, alphabet charts and other low-tech solutions. AAC can be a way to help someone’s understanding, as well as a means of expression.

There are many ways to operate a communication device. These range from finger-typing and pressing specialist switches, to using the head to control a mouse – or even using eyes through an eye gaze system.

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Compass is the Specialised AAC Service for West London. We assess and provide Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for those with complex needs. We will make recommendations based on a person’s needs and provide support to help them achieve these.

Our service is for adults (16 years and over) who have difficulty communicating using speech and may also have physical difficulties that further impact their ability to communicate. You can find out more about whether you or your client are eligible for our service in the NHSE AAC service specification.

As a summary of the criteria, to be eligible for NHS England Specialised AAC Services

A person must:

  • be resident in England
  • be registered with a GP practice in England
  • have a severe/complex communication difficulty associated with a range of physical, cognitive, learning, or sensory deficits
  • have a clear discrepancy between their level of understanding and their ability to speak
  • be able to understand the purpose of a communication aid
  • have developed beyond cause and effect understanding
  • have experience in using low-tech AAC that is inadequate for their needs

A person must not:

  • have pre-verbal communication skills
  • lack of understanding of cause and effect
  • have impaired cognitive abilities that would prevent them from retaining information on how to use equipment

Priority is given to people:

  • with a rapidly degenerative condition, e.g. MND
  • with communication aid equipment that has ceased to be functional, or is unreliable and does not meet their communication needs
  • facing a transition to a new sector (e.g. school, college, workplace) or currently in rehabilitation provision
  • at risk of developing significant psychological problems or challenging behaviour as a consequence of their inability to communicate without a communication aid

Our service covers west London (Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth)
Other UK Regional Specialised AAC Services



Compass are trialling phone referrals from March. You now have the option to tell us referral information over the phone instead of filling out the form. We hope it will streamline the process to ensure effective information sharing for quality patient centred care in an efficient way.

If you want to try this please email to request a call back. Provide your direct phone number and some times/dates you are available. We will call you to take the referral.

Of course you can still refer via the online form if that is better for you.

If you would like to talk to someone about whether you or your client meet are eligible for our service, please contact us: or call 020 8780 4500 Ext: 5965

please note this is not a secure email address so should not be used to send any personal information

Referral form

Further Compass information

What to expect at a Compass assessment

Training and Resources

UK Regional Specialised AAC Services