Training and Keeping Up-to-date

The world of AAC is constantly changing – new software and technology, new strategies, new evidence about use of AAC, and new social and political developments. You can find out how to stay up to date using the resources below.

Communication Matters

Other sources of information

  • AAC Community of Practice
  • Some suppliers offer free training days for general information about their equipment and free seminars on specific aspects.
  • Some AAC Centres provide day courses on specific aspects of AAC.
  • Independent providers may provide day courses, for a fee.
  • Subscribe to our Newsletter for the latest information about such events.
  • Our Training List has some examples of what’s on offer.
  • Universities sometimes offer training courses on AAC topics. For the latest information about such courses, subscribe to our monthly Newsletter.

Events and Training

Communication Matters organises a range of AAC courses and events, including Information Days, Study Days, and our annual International Conference.

Conferences

Our annual conference is the only UK-wide event focusing on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It takes place over three days and is an opportunity for everyone – AAC users, professionals, carers and families – to learn, share and network.

Information Days

An opportunity to get hands on with the latest communication aids. These take place across the UK throughout the year.

Study Days

Study days explore a single aspect of AAC. These are a great learning opportunity for anyone who uses or works with communication aids.

Conference

8-10 September 2019, University of Leeds

The Communication Matters International AAC Conference is the UK’s leading annual AAC event. Over the course of two and a half days, participants enjoy a diverse programme of plenaries, presentations, posters and an exhibition.

Visit our conference website to find out more about the call for papers, programme, exhibition, social events and venue!

View from a Wheelchair

Our video shows what you can expect from our conferences.


With thanks to Area40, a local band who provided their song ‘Pretty Much Perfect’ for our video.

AAC Information Days

(Formerly Roadshows)

Discover the latest developments in AAC products, direct from many of the UK’s leading suppliers.

Our Information Days are an opportunity to see the latest product demonstrations by our Commercial Members. They are among the UK’s leading suppliers of communication aids, equipment, software and symbol systems. There are five presentation sessions on the day, where you can get up-to-date information on the range of AAC products available in the UK.  During the exhibition period you have the opportunity to get hands-on and try out the equipment for yourself.

These events are open to AAC users (16+), parents, carers and professionals.

They run for a full day from 9am to 3.30pm.

Cost: FREE to attend

To attend, you must book a place and pay in advance via our AAC Information Days Diary.

People who have benefited from these events include

  • AAC users, parents, carers and professionals new to the field of AAC
  • Professionals specialising in AAC who want to update their knowledge on fast-changing technology and contribute to their Continuing Professional Development
  • People who work with children or adults with severe speech, language or communication difficulties
  • Everyone with an interest in communication technology

BE A HOST!

Why not join us as an event host? Get in touch with us to find out more about what hosting entails and how we can help you host an event in your area.

AAC Information Day Timetable

The presenters are representatives from many of the UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of communication aids, software, switches, symbol systems and more.

Participants attend five sessions during the day – these each last 40 minutes. All the suppliers present parallel presentations that are repeated in each session. You are free to choose which sessions you want to attend.

9.00-9.25Registration
9.30-10.15Introduction from Communication Matters, the local service & suppliers
10.20-11.00Session 1
11.05-11.45Session 2
11.45-12.00Tea/coffee
12.00-12.40Session 3
12.45-1.15Exhibition
1.15-2.00Lunch
2.05-2.45Session 4
2.50-3.30Session 5

Find Training

Below you can find information on some of the training available in AAC for schools and school groups. However, we recommend you contact your local speech and language therapy service first – see our list of AAC assessment services. Please note that we cannot recommend a particular service as everyone’s needs are different.

Websitewww.ATtherapy.co.uk (for LAMP training www.aacandautism.com)
Main contact for training: Andrea McGuinness, andrea@attherapy.co.uk, 0161 494 6489 / 07734229419
Area covered: North of England for AT / AAC training or therapy. LAMP training has national coverage
Age groups covered: All ages

Type/details of training offered: We provide speech and language therapy support for individuals using assistive technology, including AAC. Linking assistive technology with communication development is our specialism. We can provide training for a specific individual’s needs or recommend systems and strategies. Our training options include:

  • Using signs and symbols
  • Introduction to assistive technology and AAC
  • Assessment and intervention strategies for AAC
  • Early communication strategies, suitable for children with complex communication impairments
  • Learning language for the long term with AAC

We are also the sole UK providers for LAMP (Language Acquisition through Motor Planning) training. We are happy to discuss any training needs and develop bespoke training as needed. Specialist speech and language therapists provide the training, which focuses on communication skills development through AT and AAC. We can also offer ongoing specialist speech and language therapy support.

Do you have online training? No – but online LAMP training is in development.

Approximate cost of training: We offer day and hourly rates. We can also provide ongoing therapy support and training. Please contact us for details.

Websitehttp://www.callscotland.org.uk/professional-learning/in-school-training/
Main contact for training: Shirley Lawson, shirley.lawson@ed.ac.uk, 0131 651 6235
Area covered: Scotland
Age groups covered: 3 – 18

Type/details of training offered: We provide a range of professional learning courses on using assistive technology to support children and young people with disabilities and/or additional support needs. We offer specialist training in AAC, technology to support dyslexia, ASD and visual impairment. We can provide bespoke training according to your needs – please get in touch to discuss.

Do you have online training? Yes – we have live and archived webinars on a range of assistive technology topics http://www.callscotland.org.uk/professional-learning/webinars/
We have five short online learning modules for people who would like to learn more about AAC: http://www.aacscotland.org.uk/Right-to-Speak/Learning-Modules/.

Approximate cost of training: From £290 for a two-hour session, up to £985 for a full day (with two trainers and IT equipment).

Websitewww.candleaac.org
Main contact for training: Becka Kitchin, office@candleaac.com, 01229 585173
Area covered: UK Wide and Ireland
Age groups covered: 0-25 and some work with over 25’s

Type/details of training offered: We offer bespoke training in communication and learning throughout the UK, as well as assessment and in-school ongoing support. We can set up literacy programmes for students who rely on AAC in special and in mainstream settings. We also advise on curriculum access in mainstream schools. We sell low-tech communication and learning solutions. We are the sole UK-wide provider of the AAC City and Guilds.

We can provide specialist training:

  • Producing and developing low-tech communication books.
  • Using the iPad for communication and learning.
  • Setting up literacy programmes for students who rely on AAC at all ability levels.
  • Assessment procedures to establish the entry point into a literacy programme for students who rely on AAC.
  • Advice, training and potentially on-going support in adapting the mainstream curriculum for students who rely on AAC.
  • Advice and training in the use of AAC in person-centred planning with students who are in transition or otherwise in a situation where they need to make choices.
  • Neuro motor issues and their effect on access to communication and learning devices.
  • Using communication vocabularies for more than talking.

Do you have online training? No

Approximate cost of training: Costs are £350 for half a day, £600 for a day and £1,100 for two days plus travel and accommodation.

Websitewww.talkingmats.com/training/
Main contact for training: Karen MacPhail, karen@talkingmats.com, 01786 479511
Area covered: UK Wide
Age groups covered: All ages

Type/details of training offered: Foundation with resource (delivered in various locations in the UK) – a one-day course combining hands-on experience of Talking Mats with role play, discussion and reflection on the use of the mat.
Two-part training with resource (delivered from our base in Stirling) – a course of two half-days that gives participants time to reflect and develop their own communication skills using video feedback.
Accredited training – a two-day intensive course enabling people to become trainers within their own organisations.
We offer a variety of training courses throughout the UK that are tailored to suit individual teams and/or organisations that help them develop their services to people with a communication disability using the Talking Mats framework.

Do you have online training? Yes – our online training course is delivered over 12 weeks and gives people the opportunity to understand the impact of communication difficulties and learn how to use Talking Mats.

Approximate cost of training: Varies – average £190.

Websitehttp://www.widgit.com/training/
Main contact for training: Doug Watt, doug@widgit.com, 01926 333680
Area covered: UK Wide
Age groups covered: All ages

Type/details of training offered: Standard online training, personalised online training, on-site training. We offer both half-day and full-day training at your establishment on the topics of your choice.

Do you have online training? Yes – video tutorials. Personalised web training costs £99 + vat per hour.

Approximate cost of training: Half-day on-site: £475*, full day on-site: £675*
*prices exclude VAT and travel expenses.

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