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Friday Announcements - 15 March 2019

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

Friday Announcements - 15 March 2019

1. Study Day – "AAC for People with Acquired Communication Needs"
2. First 2-Day Introductory PODD Course in Ireland!
3. Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) Workshops – Early Bird Rate AND Words for Life App Giveaway!
4. West Yorkshire CANN Launch and Information Event!
5. Predictable To Feature Acapela's my-own-voice
6. Disability Assistance in Scotland: Consultation

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

1. Study Day – "AAC for People with Acquired Communication Needs"

From Katherine Small, Ace Centre South:

Date: Tuesday 26th March, 9.00-4.00.
Location: Ace Centre – South Office, Abingdon.
Cost: £50 including refreshments and a buffet lunch.

Places can now be booked on Ace Centre's next study day. The aim of the day is to develop your skills and knowledge in relation to AAC for people who have acquired communication needs.

Find further information and book your place on our website here:

2. First 2-Day Introductory PODD Course in Ireland!

From Rosie Clark, PODD UK:

There will be a 2-day PODD course in Cane, County Kildare (near Dublin) on the 6th and 7th April.

Please contact Joan Johnston on (083)8764022 or for more information.

3. Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) Workshops – Early Bird Rate AND Words for Life App Giveaway!

From Emily Gabrielle, Liberator Ltd:

Don't forget the fantastic Amy Bereiter from Centre for AAC and Autism will be joining us from 20th-24th May 2019, to deliver a series of LAMP workshops across the UK including Dublin, Glasgow, Cardiff and a new LONDON day!

During the workshops you will learn about the LAMP therapy approach: including its background and theory, discussion of the components of LAMP, how and why individuals with autism would benefit from using a voice output AAC device and discussion of device features that are beneficial for teaching language to individuals with autism.

The workshops are designed for anyone who works with and cares for a non-verbal individual with autism – therapists, teachers, parents, carers etc.

There's still time to register for the early bird rate, with prices for tickets booked before the 1st April 2019 at £49 per person (€56.35 per person for the Dublin workshop).

To celebrate this exciting week of workshops we will also be giving away a free LAMP Words for Life App Code to one attendee at each workshop!!

Visit for more details and to book your place.

4. West Yorkshire CANN Launch and Information Event!

From Sarah Coles, West Yorkshire CANN:

Date: Thursday 28 March 2019
Time: 10.30am - 1pm; brief launch presentation at 11am
Venue: St Georges Conference Centre (St Georges Crypt), Leeds

As a parent or carer of a child with additional needs, please join us for this information day and launch of West Yorkshire CANN (Children with Additional Needs Network). We'll welcome many of our member organisations for you to meet, ask questions and get information from and find out more about how we can offer support to you and your family.

All welcome and free to attend, simply turn up on the day. Drinks and refreshments will be provided. Come and see us at the Communication Matters stand!

5. Predictable To Feature Acapela's my-own-voice

From Tarryn Knight, Therapy Box Ltd:

Acapela's my-own-voice will soon be fully implemented in Predictable. Users will be able to voice bank and then use their voice within the app.

You are able to see the quality of Acapela's my-own-voice functionality within Predictable through demo voices and will be able to use your personal Acapela my-own-voice from April 2019.

For more information please contact us at

6. Disability Assistance in Scotland: Consultation

From Heather Palmer, Scottish Government:

This consultation asks questions on whether the policy intent set out in the Scottish approach to Disability Assistance will meet the needs of the children and adults it is intended to help. We would like to gather views to ensure we have identified the best possible approach to delivering this assistance before we draft the benefit regulations.

We are inviting responses to this consultation paper by 28th May 2019. To submit your response online please visit: If you would prefer, you can email your response to

7. Communication Matters AAC Information Days!

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!

More dates to follow in these areas:

  • Cambridge
  • Wolverhampton
  • 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 opens soon!

8. AAC & Literacy Best Practice Study Day - Book Now!

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!

9. CM2019 International AAC Conference - Call for Papers

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

10. 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.

11. 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:

12. 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.

13. 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.