Being AAC Aware with Abdi Omar
October is AAC Awareness month (#AACaware22) and here at CENMAC we support a number of children and young people who use high tech AAC to communicate, so it is fantastic to have Abdi Omar working for us as a consultant. Abdi has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak in the usual way. He uses high tech AAC to communicate.
Abdi understands the challenges that come with learning to use high tech AAC, so he is a great role model and a wonderful advocate for the opportunities that being an AAC user can have.
Last week I was lucky enough to hear Abdi giving a talk to the wonderful staff at Michael Tippett College. His amazing stories brought many in the room to tears. Abdi recalled the first time he heard himself speak using Liberator, “When I heard myself speaking time stopped for a second because I never believed that I would have a voice. Already I achieved the impossible”.
I am relatively new to CENMAC and am still learning about AAC, so one of the important things that I learned from Abdi was that he can understand everything that everyone says to him, but if you ask him a question, or you are having a conversation with him, you just have to give him a little bit of time to respond as he uses technology called Liberator and Smart Nav, which is a bit like typing using head movement, rather than your hands. Once he has formed his answer his device will speak his words.
Abdi will be conducting one of our Thursday Thirty training sessions in early December called ‘Strategies to help motivate students using AT & AAC’ so please sign-up to find out how encouraging students to use their devices can have a significant and positive impact on their lives. Sign-up.
Abdi was also recently interviewed by our wonderful student ambassador Khamani watch the video to find out more about Abdi’s story and the devices he uses to communicate.
Abdi will be at the CENMAC stand 190 at the Tes SEND conference (7 – 8 October, 2022) so please do come along and say Hello! We’d all love to see you there!
Annabel Dent is a freelance marketing and events lead at CENMAC.
Image: Abdi Omar and team members at Michael Tippett College
Image: Abdi Omar giving a talk to team members at Michael Tippett College.