You are here

Friday Announcements - 12 April 2019

Submitted by Manager on 23 February 2018 - 12:24pm

Friday Announcements - 12 April 2019

1. A Revision of the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities
2. Have Your Say: Physiotherapy Services for Adults with Cerebral Palsy
3. New Fast Talker Large Cell
4. 'AT Mentor' Service Launch

News from CM:
5. Communication Matters AAC Information Days - Book Now!
6. AAC & Literacy Best Practice Study Day
7. CM2019 International AAC Conference - Call for Papers - 2 WEEKS UNTIL DEADLINE
8. CM2019 International AAC Conference - Register Now!
9. CM2019 Great Book Draw
10. Communication Matters AAC Awards 2019
11. Office Easter Closure
12. About Friday Announcements

1. A Revision of the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities

From Heather Palmer, Scottish Government:

A revision of the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities is being developed and the Scottish Government Planning and Quality Division have now arranged two 3-hour sessions for members of the public to attend.

The details and links to Eventbrite are below:

There are 20 places per session which are free to attend.

Refreshments and lunch will also be provided.

2. Have Your Say: Physiotherapy Services for Adults with Cerebral Palsy

From Gemma Cook, RADiCAL at Brunel University:

A questionnaire about 'the views and perspectives of adults with cerebral palsy about physiotherapy' is now live.

Little is currently known about how physiotherapy services are received by adults with CP, therefore a collaboration of researchers from Brunel University London and The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have launched this survey. Any adult with Cerebral Palsy from the UK and Ireland is eligible to take part.

The main aims of the survey are to understand the reasons why people try to access services, what services are actually provided, and in turn what is valued and/or could be improved. The findings could lead to guidance on what areas require further research and how to model and improve services.

This survey provides an opportunity for adults with CP to have their opinions heard, and to be a part of what is promising to be an exciting time for research in this area. In the last year alone the NICE guidelines on adults with CP have been released

RADiCAL, a research group specific to research into adults with CP has been set up

And the Adult CP Hub charity, who are providing a much needed call for action for adults with Cerebral Palsy, has been launched

To complete the survey, and for further information, please follow this link

Please share this link freely.

3. New Fast Talker Large Cell

From Natasha Roberts, Smartbox Assistive Technology Ltd:

Fast Talker is now available in two sizes. Our new version has larger cells to make it easier to access all the features. There's also a frequency keyboard that splits the letters over two grids, with the most commonly used letters appearing first.

Fast Talker is designed to help people communicate, keep in touch with friends and family and stay connected using a range of accessible apps. You can find out more here:

4. 'AT Mentor' Service Launch

From Kris Tallantyre, ATtherapy:

ATtherapy would like to invite you the launch of our innovative 'AT Mentor' Service. You will get to hear from and meet our mentors and mentees, hear from the families they work with and get much more information about this fantastic service.

This event is being held at Central Library in Manchester on 22nd May 2019, starting at 5.30pm.

For more information and to book your place please email Kris Tallantyre -

We look forward to seeing you there!

5. Communication Matters AAC Information Days - Book Now!

AAC Information Days 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 and a plenary session from the local specialist service on a particular AAC-related topic.

Costs: There is a charge of £10 for non-members, £5 for members of CM/AAC users/family members and free for one accompanying personal assistant. The fee is non-refundable but transferrable. Lunch & refreshments provided.

Our upcoming 2019 events are scheduled as follows:

  • Newcastle – Thu 27 June; Kingston Park Falcons Stadium; Theme: Voice Banking - If you are interested in Voice Banking, Message Banking, Voice Donation and Literate AAC Systems then come along!
  • Belfast - Thu 6 June; Wellington Park Hotel; Theme: Talk with Me, Use My AAC! - If you are interested in hearing about a local training programme for supporting AAC Users then this is the event for you!
  • Wolverhampton - Tue 28 May; Wolverhampton Racecourse; Theme: Next Steps on Your AAC Journey - Come along if you are interested in hearing about developing low-tech AAC, local support and the referral process!

More dates to follow in these areas:

  • Cambridge
  • Crawley

To find out which suppliers are attending visit our website by clicking on the links below:

Read more about AAC Information Days
Request a place on an AAC Information Day

Booking is now open!

6. AAC & Literacy Best Practice Study Day

Communication Matters, in collaboration with Augmentative Communication in Practice: Scotland, is delighted to present the third in a series of AAC and Literacy Study Days. The aim of these Study Days is to improve the literacy learning of students who have complex communication needs, particularly those who use AAC.

This Study Day will approach literacy learning from the context of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence with the principle that literacy is fundamental to all areas of learning. Topics will range from early and emergent skills, to using accessible books, through exploration of inclusive literacy approaches. There will be opportunities for collaborative learning and sharing of knowledge and experiences. There will be a range of session formats including a mixture of speaker sessions and hands-on practical sessions with resources.

Date: Thursday, 2 May 2019
Venue: Carnegie Conference Centre, Halbeath Road, Dunfermline, Fife, KY11 8DY

Who is the study day aimed at? The whole team!

  • Parents and other family members
  • Staff from both mainstream schools and specialist provision
  • Health professionals including Speech and Language Therapists

Keynote Speaker: Maureen Donnelly

Costs: £65 for CM members, £75 for non-members and £40 for family members of AAC users

Visit our website for further details and to download a booking form!

7. CM2019 International AAC Conference - Call for Papers - 2 WEEKS UNTIL DEADLINE

You are invited to contribute to the Communication Matters CM2019 International AAC Conference (8-10 September, University of Leeds). This year we will be using a new online submission programme called Aventri.

We have based our topic areas on the three aspects of evidence based practice which constituted improved outcomes for all. These aspects are:

  • Best Research Evidence: Papers submitted under this heading are carried out by independent organisations such as education, social or health services and universities. Authors should pay particular attention to describing the methodology and results of the study.
  • Clinical and Professional Experience: Papers submitted under this heading may include service development, audit or implementation projects, as well as practice reports. Typically, these papers will be presented by health or education professionals or those working for other organisations for AAC users.
  • Personal Stories and Preferences: Papers submitted under this heading would include personal experience stories, single case studies and examples of AAC in the wider community.

Papers can be submitted either as a platform presentation or a poster. We particularly welcome contributions from AAC users and family members. **New for 2019** Lightning Talks - these "lightning presentations" will offer delegates the opportunity to present ideas in a short, concise way. This format requires the presenter to write 15 slides, each of which automatically advances after 25 seconds. There will be six presentations during the conference session for these – with each presentation allocated 6.25 minutes. If you've got a thought, something you've designed, or even just a topic you feel passionate about, come along and share it with our delegates in this concise, fast-paced ideas forum!

The deadline for submission is 26 April 2019.

Further information can be found on our website:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the opportunity please email

8. CM2019 International AAC Conference - Register Now!

The Communication Matters 2019 International AAC Conference (8-10 September) will be held again this year at the University of Leeds. Integral to the conference is the supplier exhibition and a diverse programme of plenaries, presentations and posters. *New for 2019 is the opportunity to see one session of Lightning Talks!*

Residential accommodation will be in modern student residences, which is at the centre of the pedestrianised campus. The transport links to Leeds are very good, with a nearby airport and train station.

You can see prices of registration here - and you can book online on this link too. Book early to take advantage of the Early Bird discount which expires on 19 July!

If you are an AAC user or a family member and would like to apply for a subsidised place, please contact the office on to check availability before booking your place.

Keynote Speakers: CM is thrilled to announce Professor Karen Erickson will deliver the keynote address. Karen is the Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research addresses literacy and communication for students with significant disabilities, including complex communication needs. If you work in this field you'll definitely want to hear Karen's presentation! Winner of the 2018 Alan Martin Award, 'The Shouting Mute', a performance poet and artist, is presenting the plenary address where AAC users will also have the opportunity to take part in his poetry workshop!

Theme: Don't be disappointed that Strictly Come Dancing is finished for another year, CM is pleased to announce that the theme for CM2019 Conference will be "Strictly AAC" - an opportunity to present or attend sessions that are strictly about AAC with the chance to bring out all your glitz & glamour for the conference dinner and disco.

9. CM2019 Great Book Draw

Wanted: Recently Published Books

Are you the author of a recently published (or about to be published) book that addresses any aspect of AAC, either fiction or non-fiction? Would you like to have an image and description of your book included in the CM2019 Conference Programme?

Why not donate a copy to the CM2019 Great Book Draw? Approximately 400 delegates will have the opportunity to sign up for the Great Book Draw which will be held during the International AAC Conference at the University of Leeds on 8-10 September.

If you are interested, please email:

10. Communication Matters AAC Awards 2019

Calling all AAC users, their families and friends, teachers, teaching assistants, therapists, clinical scientists, suppliers of AAC products and anyone interested in supporting the world of AAC... Come and join us for an evening of celebration and recognition at our first AAC Awards evening for everything AAC!

Hosted by Communication Matters at the University of Leeds on Friday 11th October 2019 from 6pm until late featuring awards, champagne reception, dinner, entertainment, and dancing...

Could you be recognised for brilliant skills in art, drama, poetry, dance? Do you know a teacher, therapist or parent who deserves recognition for their commitment to AAC? Do you attend a group, school or club that supports AAC users in a unique way?

Communication Matters is excited to launch the brand new AAC Awards website. On here currently you will find; details of the awards, some of our first sponsors, how the evening will run and prices of tickets/how to book. Please keep an eye on these Friday Announcements for further updates including how and when to nominate.

11. Office Easter Closure

Please note that the Communication Matters office will be closed from 12pm on Thursday 18th April until we re-open on Wednesday 24th April. Therefore, there will be no Friday Annnouncements on Friday 19th April. Please send in your announcements for the following week.

We wish you all a wonderful Spring holiday!

12. About Friday Announcements

These 'Friday Announcements' comprise weekly product updates, upcoming courses and supplier news.

Please email the item you want to be included by Thursday 5pm - no more than 200 words (one entry per organisation per week) - and include contact email and/or link so readers can find out further information - no file attachments please. Communication Matters will review, collate and post suitable submissions.