AAC Awareness Month 2018



AAC Awareness Month 2018

Many thanks to Attainment Company, Sponsor of AAC Awareness Month 2018 

Click here to view the AAC Awareness Month infographic (PDF, 120 kB)

Dare to Lead was this year’s theme for International AAC Awareness Month. ISAAC members have held events and activities that bring to life the visions of people who use AAC toward future leadership opportunities – locally, nationally or internationally.

  • From ISAAC, USSAAC, and Attainment Co.

“Empowering Communication Partners: Practical Ideas to Support Individuals with Complex Communication Needs”: a one-hour webinar on October 29th in celebration of AAC Awareness Month. ISAAC and USSAAC, in partnership with Attainment Company (AAC Awareness Month 2018 sponsor) hosted a webinar with presenters Jill Tullman (Principal, Jill Tullman & Associates,) and Joni Nygard (Vice President, Attainment Company). The focus of the discussion was to explore the foundations of AAC that are embedded within research. Several families who utilize AAC strategies, techniques, applications, and devices throughout their day were introduced, and practical advice for communication partners to create successful interactions for individuals who rely on AAC were shared. Video excerpts illustrated easy-to-use strategies within daily routines or classrooms for individuals of all ability levels, across ages, including young adults. A recording of the webinar is available here.

  • From Australia

Scope Australia is continuing a longstanding AAC Awareness Month tradition of encouraging people to get together and share a Silent Morning Tea. Take a few moments to listen to Mel Smith explain how it works:

  • From Canada

October 11th was AAC Awareness Day in Canada. “I work many kids who use high tech devices that love swimming! How does that work? I screen capture their home page (core page) and laminate it leaving at least a half inch of laminate overhang so it is fully waterproof. Then we take it to the pool. If you dip it in water it will stick really well to anything else wet! (Gotta love the science of that). Typically we stick it to a flutter board and float that around us but it also sticks to the side of the pool, the shower wall, the bathtub wall, any wet surface. I can’t believe how well this works!! Why would kids not have access to their voice during one of their favourite activities? I know most kids love water but electricity is not a big fan of it. I’m proud to have problem solved through that one, and the outcome was successful. This is the post from my Facebook group with Google images: https://www.facebook.com/groups/233510153984920/permalink/239145570088045/

  • From Egypt

Yvette Abdel Malek shared photos of an AAC Awareness Month workshop to raise awareness among  students at St. Peter school (kindergarten to high school).  Two AAC users led discussions about AAC concepts. Videos about different means of communication were shown, and stories by and about people who use AAC were told. Presentations used pictures dealing with behaviour problems and the concept of right and wrong. For more, visit Yvette on Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Yvette Abdel Malek 

  • From Germany

Kathrin Lemler, an AAC user from Germany, gave a talk at the Lovelace Festival on October 12th. The Festival theme this year was “Ideas to Change the World”. Kathrin’s speaker bio is posted here. For more information, check out the full program.  

  • From ISAAC-Brazil

See the exciting 2018 AAC Awareness Events in Brazil, here and here !

  • From ISAAC-India

This year AAC week awareness events were held across India in a varied and unique manner. In Eastern India, the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy in Kolkata led an awareness program. People who use AAC were involved in cultural festivals. They  inaugurated the religious celebrations of the Durga Puja by putting on plays, using signs and gestures. They also had an awareness program in schools and colleges. In Western India, the Speech Language Department of Bharathiya Vidyapeeth Deemed University conducted a successful workshop for caregivers, an AAC exhibition, and speech-language, communication and feeding assessment camps. A unique Spelling Bee Competition using Indian sign language alphabets was also very much enjoyed. In Northern India, AADI, the Centre for Inclusion, held a series of interactive sessions between AAC users to create awareness among young parents. An Assistive Technology Conference by the Indian Institute of Delhi saw many AAC users presenting papers on the need for more indigenous technology. Many developers, speech pathologists, rehab professionals, and people who use AAC attended and many solutions were discussed. In South India, Vidya Sagar held a successful AAC Open Day, featuring a display of communication devices and systems. It was well attended by speech therapists, students, developers, technologists, funders, parents  and AAC users. An AAC assessment camp was also conducted and a workshop was held for corporate employees to create awareness about AAC. The Department of Speech Therapy of the prestigious University SRM also conducted an awareness program on AAC.

On the whole, many awareness events were held across the country and media coverage was excellent!

Cultural Festival, Kolkata

College Awareness Program

AAC Open Day at Vidya Sagar, Chennai

  • From ISAAC-NF (Netherlands and Flanders)

On October 9th ISAAC-NF hosted “Everyone Communicates,” a successful conference with over 150 attendees. Valerie Schoonen and Nathalie Verstegen, both AAC users, opened the conference with an impressive film, which they wrote and filmed themselves. They are planning to submit their film to the ISAAC Short Film Festival 2020.

  • From ISAAC-Poland

To celebrate AAC Awareness Month’s theme, “Dare to Lead”, ISAAC-Poland is profiling people who communicate with AAC s on Facebook. So far, profiles of Agnieszka Bal, Meredith Allan, and Ani Kazimierczak are up on the page, here.  They are asking people of different ages, who use different forms of AAC, to submit a brief note with a photo or a short film clip together with the permission of the author / parent to publish. Please contact: mbsbiuro@gmail.com.

Please enjoy this newsletter from ISAAC-Poland, with photos and summaries (in Polish) of AAC Awareness Month highlights!

  • From Russia

Photos from AAC Awareness Month events in Russia have been posted here.

  • From South Africa

As part of the the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) October AAC awareness activities, two staff members conducted some training in Windhoek, Namibia, under the auspices of the Autism Association of Namibia. The training was attended by parents, teachers, teaching assistants, psychologists, and speech-language therapists, and everyone seemed to have lots of fun learning to use various AAC strategies. See more on CAAC’s Facebook page.

  • From the UK

Follow Ace Centre on Twitter for daily #AACaware18 tips, videos, and more!

Communication Matters (ISAAC-UK) is grateful for the support of Kate’s Sponsored AAC Challenge. Kate Robinson’s way of marking AAC Awareness month is to challenge herself to use only AAC to communicate both during work and in her free time on Tuesday, October  23rd. She aims to raise both awareness about people who use AAC and their families, and funds for Communication Matters.

  • From the US

USSAAC Awareness buttons and cards are available for download here. Check out the variety of AAC  Awareness Month posts on USSAAC’s Facebook and Twitter.

Browse this helpful list of resources and ideas by Carol Zangari at PrAACtical AAC Blog: More Ideas for AAC Awareness Month 2018

Hello! At Fayetteville Public Schools in Arkansas, we are celebrating AAC Awareness this month! We have started by creating a giant AAC Device on our bulletin board and will be providing resources and different types of devices on a second bulletin board nearby. If you have any printable resources you think would be good for our information bulletin board, will you please send them to me? Thank you! Savannah Saunders (760)822-8957 savannah.saunders@g.fayar.net

On October 14th, graduate clinicians in the Speech-Language Pathology Masters program at the Ohio State University hosted an advocacy and awareness event for AAC Awareness Month in Columbus, Ohio. The event was an open house with activities to simulate using AAC and practice being a communication partner for persons who use AAC, as well as increase awareness of the importance of AAC to the community. The event was promoted to families of users or soon-to-be users of AAC and first-responders, as well as the general population.