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Responding to the New National Curriculum: Adapting the curriculum for AAC users

Education Stream
  • Marion Stanton (CandLE Ltd)
  • Saffron Murphy-Mann (CandLE Ltd)

There are many 'off the shelf' programmes and pieces of software that aim to support the curriulum but we need to support an AAC user to access the plan that the teacher made for that day. No pre-programmed software will meet this need. It is therefore essential that some principles are developed that ensure that AAC users have appropriate access to the curriulum. This session will examine the new national curriculum as it relates to the teaching of English and Maths and other subjects and relate the desired outcomes at various year levels to those we should be seeking for students who rely on AAC. The use of specialist software that is generally used to support communication will be explored in regard to curriculum access as will a range of other software and hardware supports.

A key message of this presentation is the importance of access. The requirement to ensure that we reduce the effort that a student needs to expend in order to respond in their learning is paramount. Ways of tailoring lessons, adapting resources and making the best use of hardware and software will be explored.


This presentation is based on two teachers' experience (one of whom has worked in the field for 22 years) of advising in mainstream and special education supporting students with complex need to access learning.


There is not one ideal technological solution for access and each student's access needs are unique to them. This means that 'off the shelf' solutions may not be meeting needs. We have also found that the use of communication software can also serve educational needs, sometimes more effectively than specialist education software. This is mainly because of the sophistication of the access and editing flexibility.


One size does not fit all. It is essential that each student's individual access needs is a primary concern. Once this is optimised, new national curriculum outcomes for students who rely on AAC may improve.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
Primary school
Secondary school
Special school
Further/Higher Ed.