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“Are you there?”, “Can you hear me?”

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Welcome to our weekly CENMAC blog post.  

“Are you there?”“Can you hear me?”  | by Mark Street, Liberator Ltd, UK & Ireland

In this week’s blog post, CENMAC have invited guest blogger Mark Street (AAC Consultant and Training Manager) to highlight the wealth of implementation ideas and resources available online courtesy of Liberator Ltd.  


2020! What a year! Without a doubt it has certainly been a challenging year for many of us, COVID-19 and Brexit both dominating the headlines!  


 

My name is Mark Street and I work for Liberator Ltd in the UK and Ireland. I have worked at Liberator for almost 19 years and thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of my career there. At Liberator we provide a range of dedicated communication solutions for individuals who are non-verbal or are unable to communicate effectively using natural speech. My role as an AAC Consultant and Training Manager is to support assessments and provide training to those individuals wherever they are (e.g. at home, in school, at their workplaces or residential facilities). This is something I have not been able to do since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but I am not complaining as I acknowledge there have been many people who have suffered because of the global pandemic, which makes me extremely fortunate in comparison.  

Over the last 8 months I have had to adapt and find new ways to reach those with whom I work and previously met face-to-face. I found myself becoming more dependent on existing technologies that I seldom used, and this changed how I worked. I am sure it changed how we all worked! The phrases “Are you there?”“Can you hear me?”“Unmute your microphone” and “I can see you now” were phrases I quickly began to use on a regular basis as I embraced the virtual world and started using Skype, Teams, Zoom and many other meeting platforms I never knew existed before March 2020! 

Given the unavoidable challenge of meeting my clients’ needs remotely, I decided to embrace this opportunity. I created a series of online webinars for Liberator, presenting them live myself and alongside a variety of guest speakers from across the world. The online webinars were a huge success, and we reached more individuals in the UK and Ireland in the last 8 months than we could have ever met in person. Many of the parents, professionals and others who support AAC have been able to adapt to this new way of working and even when we can “return to normal” many of us will continue to utilise the virtual technologies with which we have become more comfortable. See our website for the latest FREE webinars on offer: www.liberator.co.uk/training-events/training 

Moving forward, I truly have embraced this opportunity to further enhance the support we offer at Liberator, often for FREE. Choosing the right AAC solution isn’t easy is it? The easy way is to choose something you already know, something already being used by someone else in class, after all, we know what we know! People can easily and often be wowed by features, overall looks and games to play but the harder decision is to choose something that will offer long-term language and communication opportunities for the individual, something that meets an individual’s needs not only today but in the future. That is why I have spent the last 8 months really trying to encourage families, professionals and anyone involved in AAC to explore the wealth of implementation ideas and resources we have at Liberator so they are better educated to make those all important decisions when prescribing AAC. 

Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills. I have been able to share my knowledge and experiences with thousands of people, I have recorded over 70 videos for the Liberator YouTube channel Liberator – YouTube and I have presented live to 17,000 people this year alone, hosting more than 200 webinars! I am excited by the technological advances we have all been forced to adapt to but I am also excited to see this as an opportunity to be able to better the service and support I can offer to those with whom I work, not forgetting the benefits on the environment too! 

Some of our most popular videos have been on modelling, here are links to those series: 

 

Christmas Modelling Videos

Christmas videos 

 

Other Useful Videos 

We have so many FREE resources that you are welcome to explore, use and share. Everyone who attends our online webinars will receive a FREE AAC Language Lab code AAC Language Lab to be able to access a wealth of free resources and activities supporting AAC implementation. You can also visit our website Handouts and Presentations | Liberator Ltd and explore all the most popular resources which we discuss on our live webinars.  

A head and should photograph of a middle aged man
Mark Street, Liberator Ltd, UK & Ireland

It is my goal to raise awareness and encourage effective use of low-tech and high-tech AAC and help those who support it to implement it as efficiently and as effectively as they possibly can.  

Blue and green logo - text Liberator

At Liberator we provide a range of dedicated communication solutions for individuals who are non-verbal or are unable to communicate effectively using natural speech. My role as an AAC Consultant and Training Manager is to support assessments and provide training to those individuals wherever they are.

Lastly, If you haven’t heard, in an effort to raise awareness of AAC, I have agreed to get a new AAC tattoo based on the success of a 5-year old girl, Ayumi, with whom I have worked during lockdown. [See her picture to the right]. She has simply excelled over the last 5 months, and everyone involved is thrilled by the progress she has made since June 2020 with her new Accent and Look eyegaze. To make this tattoo happen I said if our Liberator YouTube channel reaches 800+ subscribers, I will have Ayumi’s word cloud tattooed on my right arm, so please subscribe, and watch this space! 

So, I would like to say a huge thank you to all that reached out to me over these tough times. I want to thank you for your continued support, enthusiasm and commitment and I look forward to working with you soon.

If I can be of any assistance, day, evening or weekends please do not hesitate to call me:

It is my goal to raise awareness and encourage effective use of low-tech and high-tech AAC and help those who support it to implement it as efficiently and as effectively as they possibly can.  

All the best and dare I say it “Stay Safe”. Mark Street, Liberator Ltd. 

Many thanks to Mark and the team at Liberator Ltd. We hope you have enjoyed this feature.  

Man with mother and her daughter in a wheelchair with a communication device
Ayumi

I have agreed to get a new AAC tattoo based on the success of a 5-year old girl, Ayumi, with whom I have worked during lockdown.

Word poster with don't stop work feel

Ayumi’s word cloud.

Don’t forget you can share your CENMAC experiences for our CENMAC family to enjoy.


 

#AssistiveTechnology #Liberator #AAC #Communication #VirtualWorld #NonVerbal #Mainstream #SEN #Homeschooling #CENMAC #Technology #Support #Solutions  #25YearsDisabilityDiscriminationAct