Ash Field Academy is a day school with residential provision for 125 pupils aged 4-19 who have a wide range of ability and a main presenting physical disability. In 2010 we came to the Conference and presented a workshop entitled 'Hanging out with the cool guys! Making music as motivation for teenage AAC users.' This session will show how we took the work forward, working with a different groups of students throughout the school.
Working with the musicians, Dan and Kev, we have been able to include groups of students of different ages and abilities and build on their communication and interaction using music and AAC. Some students with profound and multiple learning disabilities have used the sessions to build on their early communication and AAC skills of shared attention, anticipation and developing and showing preferences. The 'Early AAC Users' group has used the session to develop their use of communication grids using a range of access methods. Our teenagers have now included acting and producing to their musical skills and have participated in the making of several short films. We will include clips charting their progress in this presentation.
Working as a communication team with members from different professional backgrounds has enabled us to offer many students in the school new and exciting ways and reasons to communicate. Through school celebrations and productions they have been able to take centre stage and share their achievements with others. This has raised the self-esteem of the individual students and raised the profile of AAC within the school.
Building on the students' success, we as a team have also devised ways of supporting and developing the skills of all the staff in school so that the communication needs of the students can be addressed by all, at all times, both at school and also in the wider community.