Communication Works South 2023
Get Seen and Thrive!
Thank you to everyone who came to Communication Works South at the Charlton Athletic Football Club yesterday! We had a great day celebrating assistive technology in education, and it was fantastic to see so many people there.
We hope you all enjoyed listening to our wonderful keynote speakers Beth Moulam, Paralympian and AAC Advocate and Clarke Reynolds, Braille artist.
Keynote speaker Beth Moulam
Beth Moulam shared great advice in her keynote address and stressed the importance of being resilient and having big dreams for your future. When she was a little girl, she remembered how she was inspired by the story of Tracy Beaker and not letting anything stand in her way. Beth has gone on to be a Paralympian, an AAC Advocate, an inspirational speaker and is in the process of completing her Masters in Research, Social Policy. She really does “Get Seen and Thrive!”.
Keynote speaker Clarke Reynolds
We were so lucky to be host for Clarke Reynolds first keynote speech! Clarke shared his story of how he has become a well-known braille artist. You might even have seen him recently on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away! His mission is for braille to become mainstream not just for people with vision impairment. He told how he has had solo exhibitions at Quantus Art Gallery and he will be part of upcoming Morph’s Epic Art Adventure in London (the UK’s first step-free art trail of its kind, hosted by Whizz-Kidz, the UK’s leading charity for young wheelchair users open from 19th June to 20th August 2023).
We also hope you enjoyed our programme of seminars. A big thank you to all our wonderful presenters. We are especially proud of all the students that took park in these seminars. Presenting to a very large crowd of people can be very daunting and they did a brilliant job demonstrating how their devices support their learning and communication.
We are very grateful to their teachers, SENCOs, TAs, SALTs, parents and carers from Charlton Park Academy (CPA), Smallwood Primary School & Language Unit, Elm Court School, Windrush Primary, Highshore School, Oakfield Preparatory School, Macaulay Church of England Primary, Dunraven School, Lambeth Sensory Support Service, All Saints Academy and Vanguard School who supported them and went out of their way to bring the students to the event. Also, to Bob Sagoo, parent of a child who uses AAC, and Anjana Babel, parent of CPA student Anika for their interesting discussion about parenting.
Abdi Omar with Charlton Park Academy and Highshore School Students
Our AAC Consultant Abdi Omar has been an incredible inspiration to our students at Charlton Park Academy and many of our CENMAC students. Since having regular sessions with Abdi our students have become more confident using their AAC devices to communicate.
Lambeth Schools Students
We were delighted to have Lambeth students Lily, Thai-Liah and Jesse present alongside Rosalind Dekker, Teacher of the visually impaired at Lambeth Sensory Support Service and Mary Long, CENMAC Deputy Team Leader. They demonstrated how they use technology to support their learning and vision and how they access the curriculum with their devices. Take a look at photos from the session.
Young adult presenter Jozef Miskuf
We were thrilled to have Jozef present in person this year. The audience were interested to hear about how Jozef prefers to use voice control and Dragon software to access his computer and how this gives him greater independence. Jozef is currently studying computer science at university and both Charlie Danger, Occupational Therapy Consultant and Jozef spoke about the positive and negative aspects of using ChatGPT to help speed up access for research. We learnt that ChatGPT often hallucinates and makes things up! But Jozef said how helpful it has been in getting him started with lots of his work.
We are also grateful to all our special guest speakers including Arran Smith, Microsoft’s UK SEND and Dyslexia Consultant and Robert McLaren, Director of the ATech (Assistive and Accessible Technology) Policy Lab.
We also want to thank all the exhibitors who came along to showcase their amazing assistive technology. It was great to see so many people discovering technologies that they had not seen before. Thanks also to Bob, Carole and John from LGfL who filmed the day and will be creating a podcast.
The AT Scholar programme
In one of the final seminar presentations of the day, Tina Voizey (CENMAC Complex Needs Consultant and Ace Centre Information and Resource Manager) and Robert McLaren (Director of AT at Policy Lab and one of this year’s AT Scholars) shared information about the AT Scholar programme. This is a chance for anyone who works in the field of Assistive Technology to apply for a fully funded place at the world’s largest AT conference – the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Conference held in Orlando every January. The deadline for applying is midnight on 30th June – for more details visit: https://acecentre.org.uk/blog/at-scholar-2024.
Thanks again for coming!