The keynote speakers at this year's Communication Matters International AAC Conference, CM2018 are:
Identifying Appropriate Symbol Communication Aids (I-ASC) Project for children, Manchester Metropolitan University
Monday Morning Keynote
More information to follow.
Tuesday Afternoon Plenary
Sarah was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2000, at the age of 34. Her use of assistive technology is extensive and she actively raises awareness of MND online. Sarah offers inspiration, support and a positive outlook to families facing a similar situation and has campaigned for people with MND to receive the support they need. She has been the Secretary of the NW London Branch of the MND Association since 2012 and is a Patron for the charity Lifelites.Sarah studied art and history of art, but when she lost the use of her hands through MND, she believed that she would never create anything again. Tobii Dynavox eyegaze technology changed that, and she started painting using her eyes, art software and a Tobii PCEye in 2012. She has exhibited all over the UK, including the Royal Academy Schools, and also at the Katara Art Centre in Qatar.
Sarah has featured in national newspapers/magazines, in radio interviews and on the TV programme, London Tonight.
Sarah's talk is titled 'My Journey with Motor Neurone Disease, Technology and Art'. She will explain how she has lived with motor neurone disease for 18 years, her journey with a terminal illness and disability. From initial desperation and hopelessness, including chronic depression, she managed to turn her situation around with great positivity. Sarah outlines the sources of help received that enabled her to overcome problems and start a new, albeit different life. Hospice care, help from the MND Association and sourcing the right assistive technology has led to her longevity as well as a successful career as an artist. She believes that the ability to express and create are paramount for everyone, despite illness or disability. Sarah is passionate about spending a great deal of her time volunteering for the MND Association and for the charity Lifelites, of which Sarah is a Patron. A fulfilling life with severe disability is possible and can even be uplifting. There is always hope.