Training and Keeping Up-to-date

The world of AAC is constantly changing, with new software and technology, new strategies, new evidence about use of AAC, and new social and political developments. There are many ways to keep up to date with developments from various sources.

Communication Matters

Other sources of information

  • AAC Community of Practice
  • Suppliers may provide free training days for general information about their equipment and free seminars around specific aspects of their equipment. AAC Centres may provide day courses on specific aspects of AAC. Independent providers may provide day courses (at a cost). Subscribe to the Communication Matters E-News for the latest information about such events. You can see some examples of what is offered on this Training List.

Continuing Professional Development

Training courses are sometimes offered by universities on AAC topics. To get the latest information about such courses subscribe to our E-News monthly newsletter.

AAC Information Days (Formerly Roadshows)

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

These are product demonstration days supported and presented by our Commercial Members from the UK’s leading suppliers of communication aids, equipment, software and symbol systems. Each day consists of five sessions which provide information and offer up-to-date knowledge on the range of AAC products available in the UK. There is an exhibition period when delegates can try out products (there is no opportunity for hands-on during the presentation sessions).

These full-day events (9am to 3.30pm) are open to AAC users (16+), parents, carers and professionals alike.

The AAC Information Days cost £10 (for non-members) or £5 (for members/AAC users/family) to attend and 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 and voice output technology
  • Professionals specialising in this field who want to update their knowledge (counts towards Continuing Professional Development points) – technology changes fast!
  • Everyone with an interest in communication technology
  • Anyone who works with children or adults with severe speech, language or communication difficulties and are in need of some special support with communication

We are always looking for hosts for these events, so if you are interested in hosting one in your area, please contact Communication Matters for more information.

Costs

From January 2018, we introduced a payment of £10 for a place at an AAC Information Day, this is due to increased costs and an increasingly high dropout rate on places booked and confirmed on the system. There is a reduced charge of £5 for those who are members of Communication Matters, AAC users and their family members will also be charged £5, one accompanying personal support assistant will be eligible for a free place. This fee will be non-refundable but will be transferrable. Attendees will be able to register and pay for places on the Communication Matters website. The Board of Trustees thank everyone for continuing to support Communication Matters by attending AAC Information Days across the UK.

AAC Information Days Diary

Click on a link under an AAC Information Day to see a list of presenters for that event. AAC Information Days start at 9am and finish around 3.30pm.

  • The AAC Information Days

    cost £10 (for non-members) or £5 (for members/AAC users/family)

  • Attendance

    If you wish to attend please click ‘Open’ to request a place, or ‘Waiting List’ to be put on the waiting list

AAC Information Day Timetable

The presenters will be representatives from many of the UK’s leading companies that manufacture or supply voice output communication aids, software, switches, symbol systems and more.

At each AAC Information Day, participants attend 5 sessions during the day which each last 40 minutes. During 4 of the sessions, all the suppliers present parallel presentations and participants are free to choose which they wish to attend. Each presentation is repeated in each session throughout the day.

During the Themed Plenary Session, a speaker (usually from a Specialised AAC Service) will speak on a particular topic. If you are not interested in this topic, you would have the timeslot to instead visit suppliers’ rooms for Q&A.

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
12.00-12.40Themed Plenary Session 3 / Exhibition
12.45-1.15Exhibition
1.15-2.00Lunch
2.05-2.45Session 4
2.50-3.30Session 5

Events and Training

Communication Matters organises a range of AAC courses and events, including information days, study days, and an annual conference.

Conferences

Communication Matters annual conference is the only UK wide event focusing on Augmentative and Alternative communication. Three days for everyone; AAC Users, professionals, carers and families; to learn, share and network.

Information Days

Opportunities to get hands on with the latest communication aids. Held across the UK throughout the year.

Study Days

Study days explore a single aspect of communication aids. A great learning opportunity for those who use or work 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, with a diverse programme of plenaries, presentations, posters and exhibition held over two and a half days.

Visit our Conference Website to find out more about the Call for Papers, Programme, Exhibition, Social Events & Venue!

View from a Wheelchair

Watch our video below to see for yourself what you can expect from our conferences.


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

Find Training

Below are details of some of the training available in AAC for schools and school groups. Before browsing this list we recommend you contact your local speech and language therapy service first – see list of AAC assessment services. Please note that CM 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 is national coverage
Age groups covered: All ages

Type/details of training offered: ATtherapy are a service providing speech and language therapy support for individuals using assistive technology including AAC. Linking the assitive technology with communication development is our specialism. Our training can be provided relating to a specific individual’s needs or recommended systems and strategies. Some of the areas we can train on 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
  • Vocabulary organisation and 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.
Training is provided by specialist speech and language therapists and focuses on communication skills development through AT and AAC.
Ongoing specialist speech and language therapy support is also available.

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

Approximate cost of training: Day and hourly rates available. Ongoing therapy support and training also available. Please contact 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 the subject of using Assistive Technology to support children and young people with disabilities and /or additional support needs. Specialist training in AAC, techonology to support dylsexia, ASD & visual impairment. We can provide bespoke training according to your needs – please get in touch to discuss.

Do you have online training? Yes – 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 https://www.aacscotland.org.uk/modules/.

Approximate cost of training: From £290 for 2 hour session up to £985 full day (with 2 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: CandLE offers bespoke training in communication and learning throughout the UK. We also offer 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! Specialist training is available:

  • Producing and developing low tech communication books.
  • Using the Ipad for Communication and for 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 affect on access to communication and learning devices.
  • Using communication vocabularies for more than talking.

Do you have online training? No – but this is in development for Autumn/Winter 2016.

Approximate cost of training: Ranges from £350 for half a day to £600 for a day and £1,100 for 2 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 full day 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 tool.
2 part training with resource (delivered from our base in Stirling) – 2 half day course giving participants time to reflect and develop their own communication skills using video feedback.
Accredited training – a two day intense 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 – This 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 estalishment on the topics of your choice.

Do you have online training? Yes – Video Tutorials. Personalised web training is £99 + vat per hour.

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

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