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AAC Study Days

Study days explore a single aspect of AAC and provide a great learning opportunity.

2017 Study Days

AAC & Literacy Best Practice Study Day - 28th April 2017

The first of a series of 3 literacy & AAC (/SLCN) days is planned for Friday April 28th (9.30am-4.30pm). The days will address the needs of children in special school and mainstream school & kickstart a special interest group with subsequent days planned. The days will be suitable for professionals and family members. 

Aim: The aim of the 3 study days is to share knowledge and experience between the mainstream and specialist sector with a view to improving the literacy learning of students who have complex communication needs, particularly those who rely on AAC. While the focus is on students who rely on AAC, there is an overlap with a much wider cohort of students who have SLCN (Speech Language and Communication Needs) who can benefit from similar input.

 Whilst research into the literacy needs of the target group of students is essential, these days aim to focus on the practical reality of the classroom bringing together the experience of practitioners who are moving literacy teaching forward and the aspirations of families who believe that there is more to be achieved. Background information from previous CM study days will be provided to participants to ensure continuity.

Ultimately if would be ideal if the study days could contribute to the development of a policy document that is at the moment out to tender from the Dept of Education.  The Communication Trust is coordinating a bid including stakeholders with good knowledge of AAC. It will be exciting to discuss this bid at the first meeting and see where contributions can be made. (Closing date for the bid is 31st January and the contract commences in April2017 for one year).  They will require case stories and evidence of good practice!

Content: Following discussions and the seeking of expression of interest in literacy study days there has been a good response with several people offering to give lightening talks/pearls of wisdom and keynotes.

Keynote: To be confirmed.- specialist school practitioner on building literacy patterns from primary to secondary level. 

PLUS Marion Stanton on two case studies of literacy acquisition in 2 AAC users – this could provide yet another dimension as we didn't use any of the "commercial/popular" approaches but what we did worked.

Pearls of Wisdom (short) talks: 

  • The influence of work that has come from Light and McNaughton:
  • CALL Scotland talking about their work around literacy over the years (TBC).
  • Read Write Inc. use in school, which is an English based system and their presence would ensure a dimension that is different from 4-blocks but still effective, from an AAC perspective.
  • Jenny Herd on spelling patterns in AAC.
  • Carol Allen on early reading work with Grids.
  • Laura Baggley an AAC advisory teacher for mainstream schools.
  • Chantal Bryan is a parent who has home schooled her son Jonathan with very positive results in literacy. She could talk about the way they achieved this.
  • Jules Whicher on how she has supported her son who has Angelman's syndrome in literacy development.
  • Future Keynotes: 
  • Jenny Thompson from Sheffield University may be able to keynote on the mainstream day on the back of her research on the use of digital technology and its effect on early literacy.
  • PLUS 
  • Short presentations on technology (Ability World, Liberator, Smartbox, Tobii Dynavox & more TBC).
9.15 registration and coffee
9..45  Keynotes 1 & 2
11.00 lightening talk 1
11.15 lightening talk 2
11.30 lightening talk 3
11.45 lightening talk 4
12.00 Explaining the afternoon activities and a space for people to sign up for their preferred workshop
12.30 lunch
12.45 organise into groups to discuss:
1. Making the best use of the IPad/AAC software in the classroom.
2. Fitting adequate literacy teaching into the day.
4. High tech resources beyond the iPad.
5. Social Inclusion/having friends.
6. How to create the highest expectations of student potential and achievement.
11.30 break out into workshops
1. Fitting adequate and appropriate literacy teaching into the day
2. Literacy assessment frameworks for students who rely on AAC
3. No tech, low tech, High tech
4. Integrating literacy into the wider curriculum
12.30 lunch
1.45 break out into 2nd set of workshops
1. Literacy instruction for students who are labelled PMLD or SLD
2. Ways forward for better collaboration between mainstream and alternative provision
3. Responding to and developing the research
4. Proposing a way forward for policy development and guidance on the teaching of literacy to students who have complex communication needs.
2.45 Plenary:
• Feedback from workshops (5 minutes each)
• Setting up a literacy working group and agreeing on a first meeting
3.30 Suppliers sessions
4.00 end

We would like delegates to commit to coming for two days within a year if possible.

Venue: The Clare Charity Centre, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4BF - (near motorways, Free Parking & train station 3 minutes away on Chiltern line between Birmingham & Marylebone)

Costs: £65 members, £75 non-members and £40 family members/carers.

Booking: Download flyer & booking form.

Recent Study Days

Communication in ASD: AAC, Research & Practice Study Day - 20 April 2016

Held at The Lift, London and led by Dr Elaine Clark, Darryl Morgan, Helen Robinson & Dr Greg Pasco (representatives from health, education and research). This study day looked at the use of augmentative communication devices and systems with people with autism.

AAC, Literacy and Complex Needs Study Day - 1 April 2016

Held at Birkbeck College, London and led by Jane Farrall and Sally Clendon. This workshop covered the rationale and principles underlying a balanced comprehensive approach to literacy instruction for all students. 

Symbolisation Towards Literacy Study Day - 15 June 2015

Held at Manchester Metropolitan University and led by Janice Murray (MMU) and Martine Smith (Trinity College Dublin). Explored the relationship between symbol communication and the development of literacy.