Getting Seen at Communication Works 2024

Wow! What an amazing day we had at our annual event Communication Works South (#CW2024 #GetSeen) on Thursday 6th June at the Charlton Athletic Football Club.

Thank you so much to everyone who came along. It was great to see so many people there from so many different schools and educational institutions, health care settings and local authorities as well as parents and carers and most importantly the children and young people who helped to make it such an inspirational day!

> Watch the keynote speeches (thank you to LGfL for making the recordings)

> Download the keynote speeches transcript

> Watch the highlights video (thank you to Calvin Long, Post Production & Editing student)

> Watch the highlights video

Video created by Editing and Post Production student Calvin Long

Superstar MC Khamani!

We were delighted to have our fantastic student ambassador Khamani back as MC for the day. He did an amazing job introducing our inspirational keynote speaker Ellise Hayward and musician Jess Fisher as well as announcing all our seminar sessions throughout the day and creating great excitement around our prize raffle!

We have seen Khamani go from strength to strength following the completion of his GCSEs last year, going to Film & TV College this year, becoming a teenage entrepreneur with the creation of his business KJ’s Craft Time and even winning an award! We can’t wait to see what Khamani does next. His positive attitude to everything he undertakes is an inspiration to us all.

“I was so excited to be back this year after taking my GCSEs last year, I enjoyed being the MC and had so much fun presenting the raffle. I can’t wait until next year!” said Khamani.


> Watch the keynote speeches (thank you to LGfL for making the recordings)

> Download the keynote speeches transcript

MC Khamani on stage in front of our large crowd of visitors at Communication Works
MC Khamani with his Mum and Nan at their KJ's Craft Time Display

Keynote speaker Ellise Hayward “Queen Ellise”

It was wonderful to have Ellise Hayward as our keynote speaker who told us the amazing story of her life with cerebral palsy and her communication journey through mainstream education.

Ellise shared how she didn’t feel comfortable using a communication device until she discovered that she could have the voice of Queen Elizabeth II to speak and by adopting the Queen’s voice she has become known as “Queen Ellise”!

Speaking with the voice of the Queen makes her feel comfortable and proud to talk and she has been busy promoting cerebral palsy awareness in many settings including The Houses of Parliament and a recent Channel 4 short film called ‘Welcoming Differences with Cerebral Palsy‘.

> Watch the keynote speeches (thank you to LGfL for making the recordings)

> Download the keynote speeches transcript

Getting the party started with musician Jess Fisher

For the first time at Communication Works we had a music performance, from Jess Fisher who uses CMPSR from Digit Music to compose her original tracks. During lunchtime, the exhibition hall transformed into a club with music and dancing! It was great to see the crowd of young people getting involved with the music and wanting to try the technology for themselves.

> Watch Jess performing two of her original tracks

Ellise Hayward giving her keynote speech
Exhibitor Si on the Digit Stand and musician Jess Fisher with Charlton Park Academy's music teacher James.

Amazing student presenters

We are very proud of the children and young people who bravely came along to present to a large crowd of visitors.

Feeling Pink Today with Student Ruth 

Ruth is an amazing example of incredible talent, innovation, and courage in adversity.  She has a real flair for writing having written her own poetry as well as her own book of stories and anecdotes which is wonderful and heart warming. Many young people would have found it daunting to present to a large room of visitors. But not Ruth! 

Ruth’s presentation went beyond her poetic talents. She also demonstrated the technology she uses, showcasing the remarkable journey she has undertaken from the age of 5 when she was given her first computer and tracker ball. This technology has been instrumental in enhancing her ability to communicate and express herself, allowing her creative voice to shine even brighter and have a transformative impact on her life and learning. 

Ruth gave us all a powerful reminder of the importance of independence and the role of technology in breaking down barriers and demonstrating her limitless potential. 

CENMAC’s Advisory Teacher Maureen De Longhi said she felt so incredibly proud of Ruth and would like to take this opportunity to thank her amazing mum and dad for attending the event with her, and to her support staff at Pimlico Academy who helped to make it happen. We are sure we will be hearing from Ruth again!   

Student Ruth giving her presentation 'I Feel Pink Today' with CENMAC Advisory Teacher Maureen De Longhi
Book cover of 'I Feel Pink Today' written by Ruth K

A parent/child perspective of the power of assistive technology

After the conference, CENMAC’s Deputy Head Mary Long stated: “It was lovely to present one of the seminars alongside Bella Rose and her mother, Daria. Bella has been using assistive technology to support the recording of her learning, and visual access to the curriculum since 2022.

Although Bella felt a little bit nervous at the start of the seminar, she soon became confident, and presented her views on how the use of technology has assisted her in achieving what she wants to do. Bella is incredibly creative and when I first met her, she spoke about having so many ideas stuck in her head that she couldn’t get down onto paper. Since using technology, Bella has found that she can be much more creative, and also work more independently, which has given her a real confidence boost. Bella said in the seminar that she has gone from never wanting to draw or write, to wanting to draw and write all the time!

I feel privileged to work with Bella and many other children and young people like her, and to support them to achieve the things that they dream of achieving. Huge thanks to Bella and her mum, as well as her teaching team at school for their support in planning and rehearsing the presentation. Bella enjoyed presenting so much that she and Daria have already requested to return to speak at other events – watch this space!”

Pupil Bella demonstrating her assistive technology
Creating art using technology!

Enhancing communication with assistive technology

Amimul is a 20-year-old student at Lewisham College. He has been receiving support from CENMAC since 2011, when he was in primary school. Throughout his journey with CENMAC, Amimul has been able to try many different types of Assistive technology and has always been honest on his preferences. Today Amimul is using an iPad Pro mounted to his wheelchair and uses it for both communication and curriculum access.

In the summer term of 2022, Amimul began weekly one-on-one sessions with Abdi Omar, CENMAC’s AAC consultant, who mentors and coaches students. These sessions have significantly boosted Amimul’s self-confidence.

During his presentation at Communication Works, Amimul shared insights into his journey with CENMAC and highlighted the positive impact of assistive technology (particularly the text-based communication app called Predictable) on his education and life. Amimul was one of the highlights of the event and received many praises after his presentation.

Abdi Omar with young person Amimul

Getting hands on with Assistive Technology 

We also want to say a huge thank you to all the exhibitors who came along with their amazing assistive technology. There was a buzz of excitement all day in the exhibition hall as everyone got an opportunity to try it for themselves. It was lovely to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones including Aventido, Digit Learning, Glean, KJ’s Craft Time, Nessy Learning, PODs, Smile Smart Technology and Stix Mindfulness.

> Find out more about all our exhibitors


Ace Centre, Aventido, BrightSign, CENMAC, CandLE AAC, Commtap CIC, Communication Matters (ISAAC UK Ltd), Cosmo by Filisia, Crick Software, Digit Music, Glean, Humanware, Inspiration, IRISBOND, Jabbla UK, KAZ Type Ltd, LGfL – The National Grid for Learning, Liberator Ltd, Nessy Learning, PODS, Pretorian Technologies Ltd, ReadingWise, Rahana Life, Rix Inclusive Research, Scanning Pens, Scribeasy Ltd, SeeAbility, Sensory Guru Ltd, Smartbox, Smile Smart Technology Ltd, Stix Mindfulness, Therapy Box, Tobii Dynavox, Voca Quest and Widgit.

Online International Exhibitors

We were delighted to be joined online by some international exhibitors. It was great to see some of our visitors sitting down for a chat with them throughout the day. Our international exhibitors were ArithmeType, Augmental, Floreo, Jimple and Key2Enable.

Exhibitors Alex and Danny from PODS with MC Khamani
Exhibitors Neil from CommTapp CIC and Ewa and Susan from Cosmo
The International Online Exhibitors Virtual Display

Artist in the room – Equality of Access to the Technology we need

It was fantastic to have Dr Pen Mendonca back with us. She is an outstanding graphic facilitator and created an amazing artwork of the day. We have turned it into an A3 colourful poster that you might like to print for your wall to remember what a great day it was.

> Download the poster

Equality of Access to the Technology We Need poster

Prize Raffle 

We would like to also say a big thank you to the companies who provided us with some great prizes for the raffle. They were PODS, Aventido, Smile Smart Technology, Commtap CIC, Cosmo, IRISBOND, KJ’s Craft Time, Nessy, ReadingWise, Widgit, and Glean for providing a gift voucher for MC Khamani. This created a lot of excitement in the room!  

The winners were: 

PODs – PODspop Galactic Space Adventure – Winner – Student Ruth 

Aventido – A pair of dBud Volume Adjustable Earplugs – Winner – Maisy Maffia 

Smile Smart – TS-FT Rehadapt – Folding tablestand for tablets – Winner – Louise Sexton 

CENMAC – ‘I Feel Pink Today’ book – Winner – James Houlihan 

Cosmo – Sweet treat – Winner – Della Chubb 

Commtap CIC – Box of chocolates – Winner – Sarah Hall 

KJ’s Craft Time – Craft box – Winner – Michelle McHugh 

IRISBOND – Spanish food – Winner – Lynne Castle  

Nessy – 12-month subscription – Winner – Awo Salah 

ReadingWise – Free subscription – Winner – Nichola Haylett 

Widgit– Goodie bag – Winner – Angela Franklin

Glean – Gift voucher given to MC Khamani to say thank you 

The Prize Raffle

Thank You!

Thanks to Bob Sagoo for the Experience Zone. It was great to have an interactive, fun area for our children and young people to try some new and different technologies.

Thank you to Bob Usher and Belinda Evans from LGfL who will be producing a film & a webpage featuring more content of the day which we will be sharing soon.

Thank you to Michelle McHugh and Anjana Babel, parents of children who use AAC to communicate, who provided great insights in the Parents View of AAC at Home discussion facilitated by Head of CENMAC Kathryn Stowell.

Thanks for coming!

We hope everyone had a great day. We hope to see you all again next year! Video of the day will be available soon so please keep an eye out on X and Instagram or sign up for our monthly enewsletter.

Student interacting with technology in The Experience Zone
MC Khamani on stage in front of our large crowd of visitors at Communication Works
Exhibitor and presenter Euan from AssistiveWare and the CandLE AAC display
Ellise Hayward giving her keynote speech
Head of CENMAC Kathryn Stowell on stage with MC Khamani
In the Exhibition Hall Jay from Smartbox and Liam and John from Stix Mindfulness
Exhibitors Lee and Alex from Sensory Guru with CENMAC Advisory Teacher Ber and the Liberator display
Student Ruth giving her presentation 'I Feel Pink Today' with CENMAC Advisory Teacher Maureen De Longhi
The Prize Raffle
The Experience Zone
Student interacting with technology in The Experience Zone
Bob Sagoo from Pretorian talking to a student in The Experience Zone
Exhibitors Alex and Danny from PODS with MC Khamani
The LGfL Team and SeeAbility
MC Khamani with his Mum and Nan at their KJ's Craft Time Display
Exhbitors Keene and Sheraleen from KAZ Type and Mitchell from Nessy Learning
Exhibitors Andrea and Esther from IRISBOND and John from Tobii Dynavox
The International Online Exhibitors Virtual Display
Exhibitor Si on the Digit Stand and musician Jess Fisher with Charlton Park Academy's music teacher James.
Exhibitors Neil from CommTapp CIC and Ewa and Susan from Cosmo
Exhibitors Ed from Brightsign and Sophia from Humanware
Our great crowd of visitors watching the Communication Works keynote speeches