What inspired you to develop the ROCC?

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Answered by Director, Janelle Sampson.

The ROCC was something that evolved, rather than an idea I just thought up.

I was working in a school and we needed a simple way to show the teachers that they were actually making a difference. I had given them a range of ideas to support  their students and they were keen to implement  them, but then they started to dodge me in the hallways because they felt guilty that they hadn’t had time to follow through with my suggestions! Given teachers’ high workload, I started to think there needed to be an easier, time-efficient way for them to track their progress. 

With input from the school’s communication coordinator I started mapping out the 10 most relevant goal areas. The school trialled this as a survey and then it was suggested to turn it into a rubric. I then trialled this rubric in a few other schools, and soon realised the power of the data and having the descriptors and levels to track all students. The fledgling stages of the ROCC had been developed! It was then expanded further to be inclusive of students who use verbal speech as the original school were predominantly AAC users. We added descriptors for verbal kids who have autism, Intellectual Disability, etc. From this, we realised that it could help to highlight the need for a wide range of AAC and other communication supports regardless of the  way the person communicates. We found that some verbal students were saying lots of words but not necessarily scoring very high on the domains that look at social skills and interaction. 

More and more schools started to use the program, and there was growing excitement about the ability to capture this data within an online platform.  The comparison graphs have been fantastic to show progress and the group graphs are giving us useful information about the bigger picture for the school or clinic as a whole. It has just grown and developed further from there and is still developing in so many ways.

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