Switch Access Measure Workshop

About Switch Access Measure

An 8 x 2 hour online training course and online post-course assessment for clinicians, therapists, educators and researchers who wish to become certified users of the Switch Access Measure is now available.

The Switch Access Measure is an evolving assessment tool to assess how people living with disability are interacting with assistive technology and switch access devices and equipment.

It is being researched and developed by Novita in association with world-renowned outcome measure expert in the area of paediatric rehabilitation, Professor Virginia Wright of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, and University of Toronto.

The Switch Access Measure provides an overall view of a user’s motor skills, visual skills and process skills when using switch access technology.

Assessors must be certified to use the Switch Access Measure, which has the potential to deliver better outcomes for people living with disability and their families.

The next training course will be:


What are switches?

Switches are assistive technology interfaces used by people living with physical disability that can be used for a range of different purposes, including accessing technology for communication, accessing the internet for research and school work as well as social media, controlling a powered wheelchair, and controlling lighting and appliances in the home.

Switches vary in design and purpose depending on how the user activates them using part of their bodies including hands, head, elbows, and feet. For some users, using switches, eliminates the need to use a computer keyboard or mouse. Accessing switches can help to deliver critical independence for people living with disability.

Caption: Pictured above: a variety of switches covered in the SAM workshop.

How does Switch Access Measure work?

The Switch Access Measure involves making a video of a switch user undertaking a task or activity. Every attempt is made to ensure the activity being videoed is goal-based and well-targeted to the user’s interests and abilities so that the best possible assessment can be made.

The video is reviewed by a certified Switch Access Measure assessor who assesses against criteria relating to the user’s motor, visual and process (cognitive) skills. For example, the assessment criteria for the user’s motor skills include:

  • accurately contacts switch
  • applies appropriate force to switch

Clinicians score the user against the assessment criteria from 0-4:

4 = Good skill effectiveness and efficiency (competent)

3 = Minimal issues with skill effectiveness and efficiency (10-19% of time = “occasionally”)

2 = Moderately reduced/inconsistent skill effectiveness and efficiency (20-69% of time = “regularly”

1 = Markedly to severely limited skill effectiveness and efficiency (>70% = “frequently to continuously”)

0 = Not observed

Benefits of the Switch Access Measure

The Switch Access Measure gives an overall picture of the user’s motor, visual and process (cognitive) skills when interacting with switch access technology and devices.

It provides evidence that can use to determine the user’s strengths and weaknesses and to recommend and develop targeted priorities for intervention. For example, seating can often be a focus, because poor seating can influence other skills. It can also provide evidence and data to justify funding for assistive technology.

Ultimately, the Switch Access Measure aims to deliver better outcomes for users and their families.

Switch Access Measure developers

The Switch Access Measure has been developed by Novita in association with Professor Virginia Wright. It has undergone initial research and development with good reliability outcomes (see references below), with further research planned soon.

Annabelle has more than 25 years’ experience working as an Occupational Therapist in the area of paediatric disability both in Australia and in the UK. Annabelle has assistive technology expertise with the past 20 years spent working as a Senior Occupational Therapist in a specialist assistive technology service at Novita in Adelaide, Australia. Her role has been to provide assessment, training and support to children and adults with physical disabilities and their families and consultative support to other clinicians and educators. She has a strong interest in achieving best practice outcomes for clients using switching technologies.
Annabelle Tilbrook (course presenter)
BA, BOccThy (Hons)
Toan’s primary research focus over the past 10 years has been investigating and developing telecommunications and assistive technology solutions for children and adults with physical limitations. Toan has extensive research knowledge and experience in the fields of disability, assistive technologies, accessible telecommunications, and Universal Design principles. Toan is one of the investigators involved in determining the reliability and validity of the Switch Access Measure.
Dr Toan Nguyen BScBEng
(Biomedical) (Hons), MEng (Research), PhD
Dr Virginia Wright is a registered paediatric physiotherapist and Senior Clinician Scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, Canada, and holds the Bloorview Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Rehabilitation. She is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto and an Associate Member of CanChild, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. Virginia leads the SPARK (Supporting Physical Activity-based rehabilitation Research for Kids) Lab in the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview. Her research is grounded in her experience as a physiotherapist and outcome measures co-ordinator, and guided by her close links with several paediatric rehabilitation teams at Holland Bloorview. Her clinical research centres on development and validation of outcome measures for use in paediatric rehabilitation (cerebral palsy, prosthetics, and acquired brain injury in particular), as well as on mixed methods evaluations (RCT + qualitative inquiry) evaluations of a variety of physical activity interventions for children. She has partnered with the Novita to develop the Switch Access Measure.
Professor Virginia Wright BScPT


Nguyen, T., Tilbrook, A., Sandelance, M., & Wright, F. V. (2021). The switch access measure: development and evaluation of the reliability and clinical utility of a switching assessment for children with severe and multiple disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 1-12. doi:10.1080/17483107.2021.1906961

Nguyen, T., Tilbrook, A., Sanderlance, M., Wright, V. (2018), “Determining the Reliability and Validity of the Novita Switch Access Solutions Assessment”, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 60 (51), 34

Who should attend?

Assessors must be certified to use the Switch Access Measure. A two-day training course and an on-line module have been developed, and must be completed successfully to achieve certification. The on-line module includes the satisfactory assessment of four Switch Access Measure videos, and completion of a plan for an assessment. The certification process must be completed within three months of completing the two-day training course.

Switch Access Measure certification training is open to participants who have experience at working with people living with disability who need to use switches to access assistive technology, including:

  • occupational therapists, speech pathologists and educators working in
    • community-based paediatric and adult sector rehabilitation settings working with clients using switching technology
    • hospital-based paediatric and adult sector acute inpatient and rehabilitation settings working with clients living with high level physical disability.
  • educators working in special education and mainstream settings with students using switching technology
  • researchers working in the field of disability and assistive technologies (computer access technologies; alternative and augmentative communication (AAC); environmental control systems).

Benefits of attending

By successfully completing the certification training, you will gain a unique insight and understanding of the Switch Access Measure, including:

  • the intended use and clinical rationale of the Switch Access Measure
  • the development process and fundamental psychometric properties
  • the Switch Access Measure manual
  • assessment session set up, videoing and administration protocols
  • the Switch Access Measure rating scale criteria
  • using the findings from the Switch Access Measure to guide goal-setting, clinical reasoning, interventions and funding applications.


When and where is the next Switch Access Measure training course?


The training course will consist of 8 x 2hour sessions utilising a stable and secure platform called Webex Meetings. Each session will be recorded and uploaded to a Learning Platform that we have set-up for Assessment and Certification for review by the participant at any time.

A comprehensive Course Reference Book will be sent out prior to Session 1.


How many people can participate in a workshop?

Switch Access Measure training is available for individuals and groups of up to 10 people.


Is online support available should I experience any issues?

IT support is available online throughout the training course. We will also conduct a test session with each participant before Session 1. This is necessary to test internet connection, computer setup, internet reliability, and bandwidth.


Can I host a Switch Access Measure workshop at my organisation?

We welcome local, national, and international enquiries to run the Switch Access Measure training course at your organisation. You can request to host a workshop via the details below.


What is the cancellations and refunds policy?

Training course cancellations advised four weeks prior to the course will receive a registration fee refund minus $100. Cancellations less than two weeks prior to the course will not receive a refund.

Request a workshop

Contact the Novita Customer Experience Team on 1300 668 482 or email training@novita.org.au to request a workshop.

Email: training@novita.org.au
Phone: 1300 668 482