Switch Access Measure (SAM)

About the SAM course

Do you work with children, adolescents or adults who find it difficult to access everyday technology?

  • Children and adults with complex (severe and/or multiple) physical disabilities often need switches to access technologies for communication, education, work, environmental control and recreation.
  • Finding the right switching technology is individualized and complex. To ensure the user has the optimal solution, the switching technology must fit their needs and abilities.
  • The fundamental barriers to successful technology use identified in the literature are inadequate assessment and planning leading to poor outcomes for the user, great potential for abandonment and additional costs to funders.
  • The Switch Access Measure (SAM) is a:
    • new dynamic, goal-directed, activity-based outcome measure used to inform intervention.
    • standardised assessment that has demonstrated validity and reliability.
    • comprehensive switching assessment that can be used to:
      • compare the efficiency and effectiveness of different switch set-ups
      • measure changes over time with a particular switch setup.

Certification requirements

All clinicians, educators and researchers who wish to use the SAM need to complete training to become certified users. This consists of:

  • completing a 2-day training course
  • completing post course  online+ assessment & score 3 test videos satisfactorily to achieve adequate competency
  • undertaking & videoing a switch access assessment with a switch user and then score and submit the video for evaluation by developers

These certification tasks must be completed within 3 months after the training course.

Next SAM Course dates

When: Friday 27th & Saturday 28th September 2019

Where: Rocky Bay
Head Office:
60 McCabe Street
Mosman Park
WA 6012

SAM Developers:


Annabelle Tilbrook (Course presenter) BA, BOccThy(Hons)

Annabelle has over 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 last 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


Dr Toan Nguyen BScBEng(Biomedical) (Hons), MEng(Research), PhD

Toan’s primary research focus over the last 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 (SAM).


Professor Virginia Wright BScPT, PhD

Dr Virginia Wright is a registered pediatric 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 pediatric 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 (SAM).


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?:

SAM training and certification will be open to participants who have experience working with individuals, who regardless of age or diagnosis, need to use switches to use assistive technologies. Participants can include:

Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Physiotherapists working in:

  • Community based paediatric and adult sector rehabilitation settings working with clients requiring switching technologies
  • Hospital based paediatric and adult sector acute inpatient and rehabilitation settings working with clients with high level physical disabilities

Educators working in:

  • Special education and mainstream settings with students using switching technologies

Researchers working in the field of:

  • Disability and Assistive Technologies (Computer Access Technologies, Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Environmental Control Systems (ECS)

Benefits of attending:

By successfully completing SAM certification training, participants will gain competency in the understanding of:

  • Intended use, clinical rationale and literature in the field
  • The SAM’s development process and fundamental psychometric properties
  • The SAM manual and form
  • Assessment session set up, videoing and administration protocols
  • Use of the SAM rating scale criteria and manual guidelines to score 16 switch skill performance skills: 6 motor, 2 visual and 8 process (cognitive) skills from videos of goal-directed activity based sessions
  • Use of findings from the SAM to guide goal setting, clinical reasoning, interventions and funding applications


How can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Please email enquiries@novita.org.au

What’s the refund policy?
Cancellations advised 4 weeks prior to the course receive full registration fee minus $100.00. Cancellations less than 2 weeks prior to the course will not receive a refund.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Can I update my registration information?
Yes. Registration information can be updated at any time. This includes transferring tickets to an alternate name.

Is lunch provided?
Yes, we provide morning and afternoon tea, lunch and tea and coffee throughout. Dietary requirements will be requested when you purchase a ticket.

What happens if the Course is fully booked?
You will be added to the waiting list and contacted should we have a cancellation

Request a workshop:

We can offer training for individuals or in groups of up to 20 people.

Request to host a SAM course.

We welcome local and international enquiries to run the SAM course at your organisation.

For further information call on us 1300 668 482 or email at enquiries@novita.org.au


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