Expression of interest for a telecommunications research project: Participants with CCN


I’m Darryl Sellwood from Adelaide, South Australia. I’m looking for people with Complex Communication Needs (CCN) who would like to take part in a research project investigating user perspectives on the usefulness of two methods of accessing telecommunications for people with CCN. The project has ethics approval from the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of South Australia.

This trial is part of my Honours research project at the University of South Australia. As an Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) user, I understand many of the challenges people with CCN face in accessing telecommunications. As a computer science graduate with experience in the telecommunications field, I have a broad perspective on both user and technical issues.

Speech-to-Speech Relay (SSR) was introduced to Australia in 2000 and has proved to be useful for many people in our community. However, SSR relies on people’s speech and does not take advantage of the many other communication modes people use for face-to-face communication, including gestures and facial expression.

With the advent of the Video Relay Service (VRS) for the Deaf currently being piloted by the Australian Communication Exchange, I am keen to explore whether the technology used for VRS could be utilised to provide a similar service to people with CCN to enable them to use multiple modes of communication when making telephone calls.

I am looking for people willing to participate in a trial comparing Speech-to-Speech Relay (SSR) with Video-Assisted Speech-to-Speech Relay (VAS). You will also be invited to participate in an online discussion group (focus group) which will run for three weeks. The following time commitments will be involved:

• The trial will require between thirty (30) and ninety (90) minutes of your time per week over a three week period
• The focus group will require between ten (10) minutes and one (1) hour each week for an additional three weeks.

If you meet all the criteria below and can spare this time during the project period, which is planned for June 2010, please email me requesting more information at

Participants must meet all the following criteria: (a) have Complex Communication Needs, (b) be over 18 years old, (c) be independent communicators, (d) use an AAC device, (e) be confident using technology, (f) have access to broadband internet service, a web camera and Skype and (g) be able to communicate in English (including having reading and writing skills that allow you to participate in the online focus group).

I hope you can be part of this exciting research project into access to telecommunications for people with CCN.


Darryl Sellwood BCIS

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