Friday Announcements – 28th February 2020

1. Now Published: AAC Progress Report 2019
2. Euphonia Project – Supporting People with Dysarthria to be Better Understood
3. Carers Act National Marketing Campaign
4. AAC and GDPR Webinar 12th March 13:00
5. FREE Tobii Dynavox Training #TextTour

News from Communication Matters:
6. CM Clinical Decision-Making Applied to Symbol Communication Aids Study Days
7. CM AAC & Literacy Best Practice Study Day
8. CM2020 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers
9. CM AAC Information Day in Glasgow
10. About Friday Announcements


1. Now Published: AAC Progress Report 2019

From Heather Palmer, Scottish Government:

The AAC Progress Report, a proposal made by the former Minister of Mental Health, Maureen Watt MSP, has now been published as of 24 February at the link below:

If you have any comments/thoughts on the report content, please direct these to your AAC executive lead in the first instance where they can hopefully provide further information.


2. Euphonia Project – Supporting People with Dysarthria to be Better Understood

From Richard Cave, Motor Neurone Disease Association:

The MND Association are supporting Google’s Euphonia project to enable Google Assistant better understand people with dysarthria.

The project is open to all adults with dysarthria from any cause, not limited to MND.

Why is this project important? For people who have moderate or severe dysarthria, face-to-face communication can be challenging. Google are developing an app to better understand speech with dysarthria, showing the spoken words on a screen in near-real time (perhaps a smartphone or another device). This could help people to keep using natural speech for communication, talking at the same speed, in the same places, to the people they want – and be understood with the app ‘translating’ their words at the same time.

However, we need to ‘train’ the app by recording more people with dysarthria. This is done in the same way as voice banking, reading and repeating set phrases on a smartphone, tablet or a computer.

The website also has a helpful video about the project.

Some clients consider this if they feel it is too late to voice bank (or not an option).

If you have a client that may be interested, please get in touch (! I am very happy to visit your team to talk more about the project.


3. Carers Act National Marketing Campaign

From Michelle Russell, Scottish Government:

A national awareness campaign to support the Carers (Scotland) Act will be launched on 30 March and will run until 26 April and we ask for your support in promoting this through your networks.

Raising awareness of the Act is a key priority in the Carers Act Implementation Plan and the Carers Act Implementation Steering Group proposed a national campaign when it met with our Minister (Joe FitzPatrick). The campaign will focus on supporting carer self-identification and encouraging them to find out about support.  The call to action will be for carers to visit a landing page with information about carers rights and how to get support, hosted on NHS Inform as well as to call the Care Information Scotland hotline.

The creative concept for the campaign has been successfully tested with the target audience, a mix of non-identified and self-identified carers. The primary audience age is 45-64s with a secondary audience of 18-44 year olds however this is not to say the campaign will not resonate with others. The type of media we plan to use includes radio, social media adverts and other out of home medium including posters at bus stops, rail stations posters etc.  For those of you signed up to attend the Carers Act Learning and Sharing event on 18 March, there will be a preview of the creative design on the day.

We are working on a stakeholder toolkit which will detail the purpose and key messages of the campaign as well as the resources that your organisation can use to help promote the message. This can be shared with you for the launch of the campaign – if you’d like to receive this, please contact

We will be measuring the impact of the campaign through numbers visiting the landing page, calling the hotline and through figures from the Carers census data collection.


4. AAC and GDPR Webinar 12th March 13:00

From Fil McIntyre, TechAbility:

AAC devices store a large amount of data such as names and photos. If the devices are owned by an organisation this data is covered by GDPR legislation.

In this free webinar Fil will discuss how to balance the rights of the AAC user with organisations’ responsibilities in this tricky area.

Register at:

This is part of TechAbility’s webinar series.

For more webinars see


5. FREE Tobii Dynavox Training #TextTour

From Catherine McGuire, Tobii Dynavox Ltd:

AAC & Literacy and Text-Based AAC Training Day, Free Software!

10th Mar Manchester, 18th Mar London –

Are you working with literate device users who would benefit from a text-based voice output communication system? Come and join us for a day filled with practical and technical info about Tobii Dynavox devices and software. For more information and to sign up go to:

What’s Included?

  • Extended trials
  • Certificate of attendance
  • Exclusive discounts, offers and prizes
  • Free software through the Tobii Dynavox for Professionals scheme

We will offer more locations in the future! Interested in hosting one of the sessions? Please contact to discuss.


6. CM Clinical Decision-Making Applied to Symbol Communication Aids Study Days

Communication Matters is delighted to present our first Clinical Decision-Making Applied to Symbol Communication Aids Study Days in collaboration with the I-ASC project team. These two one-day practical workshops (Manchester or London) will be informed by the findings from a recently funded UK research project (I-ASC: Identifying Appropriate Symbol communication aids for children who are non-speaking). Delegates will be offered an in-depth review of the findings of the research and the potential implications of these findings and focus on the practical suggestions and solutions that may support AAC decision making.

You will gain first-hand insights and experience of:

  • the I-ASC Explanatory Model as a way of conceptualising assessment
  • the use of the on-line tools and resources developed from the research findings
  • the application of the model to frame assessment processes and how it applies to existing tools and resources

Who is the study day aimed at?

  • The day is open to professionals, AAC users and family members.
  • The key focus will be children and young people who may benefit from AAC and the assessment / recommendation processes they may experience. Although the original research focused on children and young people, we have received feedback that the theoretical model and resources developed have application to adults.

: Wednesday 22 April 2020
Venue: Manchester Metropolitan University, Birley Fields Campus, MANCHESTER, M15 6GX

Date: Tuesday 5 May 2020
Venue: Irwin Mitchell, 40 Holborn Viaduct, LONDON, EC1N 2PZ

Visit our website for further details and to download a flyer and booking form. Booking now open!


7. CM AAC & Literacy Best Practice Study Day

Communication Matters is delighted to present our fourth AAC and Literacy Study Day. This event has been organised as a response to the interest generated by Karen Erickson, our keynote speaker at the Communication Matters International AAC Conference held in September last year. Karen addressed  “…….the importance of spelling and writing as an integrated part of AAC”. Our speakers will be addressing the literacy needs and the implementation of literacy instruction for children as well as older learners in both special and mainstream schools.

Who is the study day aimed at?

  • The whole team!
  • Parents and other family members
  • Teaching and Learning Staff from both mainstream and special schools
  • Health professionals including Speech and Language Therapists

Proposed learning outcomes:

  • Increased understanding of the wider issues surrounding literacy acquisition for AAC users and the opportunity to discuss with other practitioners
  • Develop knowledge of teaching literacy and awareness of current effective practice
  • Practical experience of literacy learning resources available to support AAC users

Keynote Speaker: Maureen Donnelly
Date: Wednesday 29th April 2020
Venue: Lockleaze Sports Centre, Bonnington Walk, Lockleaze, BRISTOL, BS7 9FJ
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 flyer. Booking is now open!


8. CM2020 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers

You are invited to contribute to the Communication Matters 2020 International AAC Conference (13-15 September, University of Leeds).

Again this year we will be using an 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 as either a platform presentation or a poster. We particularly welcome contributions from AAC users and family members. New last year and returning for 2020 are Lightning Talks – these ‘lightning presentations’ will offer delegates the opportunity to present ideas in a short, concise way, with each presentation allocated just 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 24 April 2020.

Further information can be found on our website:

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


9. CM AAC Information Day in Glasgow

This AAC Information Day is a product demonstration day supported and presented by our Commercial Members from the UK’s leading suppliers of communication aids, equipment, software and symbol systems. The 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 will also be an exhibition period where you can try out products.

Date: Tuesday 28 April 2020
Venue: Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Beardmore Street, Clydebank, Glasgow, G81 4SA
Costs: FREE to attend! Lunch & refreshments are provided.

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

Booking now open!


10. About Friday Announcements

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

Please email 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.

(Please note that the email address is no longer in use).