International AAC Awareness Month

Celebrate International AAC Awareness Month – October 2017

ISAAC chose “Access All Areas” as one of this year’s themes for International AAC Awareness Month, to focus on the next ISAAC Conference, to be held July 21-26, 2018. ISAAC members are encouraged to expand the concept of accessibility to include communication access in their own communities, regions, and countries. Please share your plans for October and we will post a summary below. We look forward to receiving your photos and reports after the events have taken place as well!

  • From ISAAC-Brazil

ISAAC-Brazil is proud to announce that our first AAC Awareness Campaign held in October this year was a big success. The most representative cities in Brazil, such as São Paulo capital, Belo Horizonte, Suzano, Campo Limpo Paulista, Bauru, and São Carlos do Pinhal, were engaged by the initiative with their hearts and souls. We strongly believe that this campaign, together with our regional meetings held across the country, are promoting AAC awareness and we are very optimistic about spreading this more rapidly in 2018. Check the details on our website: www.isaacbrasil.org.br

  • From ISAAC-Canada

October 12th was designated as 2017 AAC Awareness Day by ISAAC-Canada.

This year, the province of British Columbia on Canada’s west coast honoured our citizens who use AAC with special events during AAC Awareness Month.  Speech-language pathologists from the Vancouver school district shared materials with their colleagues in the Inter-District AAC group of school-based speech-language pathologists.

A highlight of AAC Awareness Month was our third ICEwest Conference. It was a smashing success! Eighteen attendees enjoyed a varied program facilitated by people who use AAC systems. Alberta joined in for the first time and both sites watched and listened to the speaker from the Toronto site in the morning. In the afternoon, at the Town Hall meeting, there was incredible participation from the group, which led to discussions on important topics. A highlight of the day was a visit from Minister Shane Simpson, from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, who gave an inspired speech, met individually with our ISAAC Canada Webmaster and Social Media Coordinator Glenda Watson Hyatt, and watched part of the Town Hall meeting. We hope that our discussions will lead to innovative ideas before our next meeting in 2019.

 

 

Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – Submitted by Charlene Cratt

 

 

On October 5th Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation AAC team in St. Catharines, Ontario (pictured above), hosted a very successful Silent Tea to promote awareness of AAC. Approximately 80 people, including hospital staff, patients, senior administrators and friends from the community attended the tea and learned about different ways to communicate. Everyone was invited to choose a method of communication, say hello to our AAC ambassador, Kris, and hear the exciting news of  her  trip to Belgium, as part of the  drama group Aiding Dramatic Change. A  Silent Auction was held to assist with Kris’s trip. There was time to sit to enjoy tea, cookies and aided conversation. The piles of post-it notes left on tables and the laughter heard let us know that it was a fun-filled event. Many thanks to Scope Australia for making procedures and materials for hosting a Silent Tea readily available online so that small clinics like ours can promote AAC in a big way.

AAC Awareness Month at Thames Valley Children’s Centre, London, Ontario – Submitted by Tracy Shepherd

October 2017 was a very successful month for AAC awareness activities, ending with our team Halloween costume on the 31st: we are CORE words!

We also provided AAC awareness activities to 9 classrooms including:

  • kindergarten – 5 classes
  • grade 1 – 3 classes
  • grade 3 – one class

These activities had a direct reach to 200 students and 20 teachers and educational assistants. Our team provided overall education about AAC as well as giving students the opportunity to try it out to see what it’s like to use AAC.  These sessions were focused specifically around kids in the class who use AAC so their peers got a chance to ask questions. Great feedback was given by the school teams, with one student commenting that afterwards they felt more like the friend who uses AAC in their class.

 

  • From ISAAC-Denmark

A Two-Day Event Celebrating Awareness Month: Transitions for People who use AAC – Submitted by Margit Grønkjær

In cooperation with governmental department of social services, (Socialstyrelsen) ISAAC-Denmark initiated a successful two-day event in Copenhagen. There were 100 participants, far more than expected. The keynote speakers were: Dr. David McNaughton, Professor of Special Education at Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Signhild Skogdal, University of Tromsø, Norway.

David´s presentation over two days was called “Supporting Successful Transitions to Adult Life for Persons with Severe Disabilities.” Persons with severe disabilities (and their family members) have new expectations regarding participation in society. Like all adults, persons with complex communication needs want to (a) have a safe place to live and to manage their personal care; (b) participate in meaningful activities; (c) access medical services; and (d) develop friendships and intimate relationships. Central to these desired outcomes is the ability to communicate effectively, and the need for supports both for the person with complex communication needs, and their communication partners.

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David McNaughton made a very vivid presentation; for instance, he used our local Board member, Jeppe, as an example of the many roads to literacy. If you want to see his final slides, they are posted here: http://aac.psu.edu/ The visions in David’s presentation were very well illustrated in other presentations by Danish practitioners, who work with transitions in their daily lives. Jeppe Forchhammer told his own transition stories as a person who uses AAC.
Signhild Skogdal focused on the inclusion of people who use AAC in public schools and the demands on school culture to succeed.

  • From ISAAC-NF

ISAAC-NF hosted 170 attendees, 20 presenters and 11 information market stands at their October 3rd conference. The gathering was an exciting kick-off for International AAC Awareness Month in Netherlands-Flanders!

  • From ISAAC-Taiwan

The Department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology in Chung Shan Medical University and ISAAC-TAIWAN hosted an AAC conference in Taichung, Taiwan on October 22nd. Professor Gregor Renner, ISAAC President, shared a topic “ISAAC as a Platform for International Collaboration: Networking with ISAAC Part of the Family.” Over 100 undergraduate and graduate students (future SLPs) attended this conference. October 22, 2017, was also the 4th birthday of ISAAC-TAIWAN. Happy Birthday!!

Gregor Renner at ISAAC-Taiwan event     Gregor Renner at ISAAC-Taiwan event2

Gregor Renner, ISAAC President, with Dr. Meng-Ju Tsai of ISAAC-Taiwan

 

 

ISAAC-Taiwan AAC Conference participants, October 22, 2017 at Chung Shan Medical University

 

  •  From ISAAC-US (USSAAC)

USSAAC Webinar Series:  On October 23rd at 7:00 p.m. ET, Yoosun Chung, PhD, will moderate a discussion called “Model the Way: Celebrating AAC Awareness Month.” Presenters are India Ochs, JD and Jack Ochs. Click here for a recording of the webinar.

More from USSAAC on their SpeakUp Editor’s Blog, including some new Awareness Month catch phrases with downloadable images.

  •  From South Africa

The Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) in South Africa celebrated AAC Awareness Month in October. The goal was to raise awareness of AAC and to inform the South African public about the many different ways in which people with communication disabilities communicate using different AAC techniques and strategies.

The CAAC throughout the month of October shared AAC awareness videos online that were produced by the 3rd year Visual Art students at the University of the Pretoria in South Africa.

Here are the links to the videos shared:

The CAAC would like to take this opportunity to thank every 3rd year Visual Art student who dedicated their talents, time and effort in producing these amazing AAC awareness videos!

The CAAC also shared four chapters from our AAC Resource Manual online for free download (which can be purchased at this link:  https://www.facebook.com/centreforaac/videos/1341207872665797/). The Chapters included information about AAC in the home, setting up the AAC classroom for learning, how to make an E-tran and Talking Mats™. The Chapters can be downloaded from this link: http://www.up.ac.za/en/centre-for-augmentative-alternative-communication/article/2577982/aac-awareness-month-october-

Constance Ntuli, a person who uses AAC, disability advocate and a staff member at the CAAC organized an impromptu line dance with students at the University of Pretoria on the October 27th to raise awareness about AAC.

Submitted by Robyn White, Lecturer at the CAAC

 

  • From Spain 

An International AAC Awareness Month event,  “Comunicación Aumentativa y Alternativa (CAA)/Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)” took place in Barcelona, Spain, on October 26th. The aim of this event, held in cooperation with ISAAC, was to raise awareness of AAC and to inform the public about the many different ways in which people communicate using communication devices. During the session an Irisbond project was launched, which aims to evaluate how innovative AAC eye-gaze technology can effectively control mobile devices.

For more information, click here and here.

Barcelona Event Banner

 

  • From the USA

The 9th Annual 24-Hour AAC Chat was held on October 27th. Facebook Messages were used for the chat again this year, under the name “24-Hour AAC Chat 2017”.  Congratulations to Judy Bailey judybailey@aol.com, organizer of this annual event.

To celebrate AAC Awareness Month 2017, graduate students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota designed posters in an effort to create awareness about AAC on campus. They went the extra mile and invited students from across campus to take a look at these posters and answered their queries. See below for a few of the posters. Submitted by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, St Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA.

 

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