Friday Announcements – 5 July 2024

1. Vacancy at Smartbox for an AT Technician in Ireland
2. Learning Makaton as an Adult: Free Webinar

News from Communication Matters:
3. CM2024 International AAC Conference – Final Week for Early Bird Discount!
4. Join Our Open Mic Night at Conference!
5. Invite to Find Out More About CM Communication Clubs
6. Call for Nominations for Trustees – 2 Weeks To Go!
7. About Friday Announcements

1. Vacancy at Smartbox for an AT Technician in Ireland

From Natasha Roberts, Smartbox Assistive Technology Ltd:

Smartbox is hiring an Assistive Technology Technician to help us support people in Ireland with trial devices, technical support and repairs. This role will require strong technical skills and a customer-focused mindset. You will play a crucial part in helping customers make informed decisions about which of our products best meet their needs.

Find out more about this role and other vacancies at Smartbox on our website: Explore the latest jobs at Smartbox (


2. Learning Makaton as an Adult: Free Webinar

From Natalie Applewhaite-Morgan, The Makaton Charity:

Starting the Makaton journey in Adulthood: A Lived Experience

Date: Wednesday 17th July 2024       Time: 6.00pm – 7.00pm

In this webinar, we will delve into the story of Ian, a 50-year-old who was introduced to Makaton in adulthood, and the profound impact it has had on his life. From his initial tutoring sessions to ongoing Community Support, you will discover how Makaton has significantly boosted his confidence within the community.

Our guest speaker, Holly Cannon-Taylor, a Makaton Ambassador and Tutor, will share Ian’s inspiring journey. Holly, who regularly supports Ian and his family, will openly discuss the challenges and triumphs of learning Makaton as an adult.

This inspiring webinar will also demonstrate real-life examples of resources and tools, regular activities in action, and the impact of Makaton in the wider community.

This session aims to benefit and encourage everyone on their Makaton journey, and particularly those who are starting or supporting others in using Makaton in their adult years.

The webinar is free of charge to attend and open to the public. All that is required is registration via the Zoom link and a short form via Zoom to complete registration.

Registration Link:


3. CM2024 International AAC Conference – Final Week for Early Bird Discount!

Registration is open for the Communication Matters International AAC Conference at the University of Leeds from 8-10 September 2024, and there is just one week left to book at the Early Bird rates.

Over the course of two and a half days, participants will enjoy a diverse programme of keynotes, plenaries, presentations, posters and talks from AAC supplier companies.

The conference provides a unique forum to meet and exchange information with representatives from all disciplines associated with AAC, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants, professionals, and suppliers of AAC equipment. Communication Matters encourages and supports AAC users to attend.

Residential accommodation will be in modern student residences, which is at the centre of the pedestrianised campus. The transport links to Leeds are very good, with a nearby airport and train station.

Book now to take advantage of the Early Bird discount which expires on 12 July. See prices and book online here.


4. Join Our Open Mic Night at Conference!

Calling all performers: musicians, magicians, comedians, dancers, poets, and beyond! If you’ve got a talent, we want you to share it! Following the triumph of last year’s open mic night, it’s now your moment to dazzle at #CM2024conf. All delegates are welcome to get involved. Whether you’ve got one corny joke or a whole dance routine, come and join the fun!

Sign up below to reserve your spot as an individual or group for our Communication Matters Open Mic Night. Taking place in the Terrace Bar in the Student’s Union after dinner on Sunday 8 September.

Book your spot now at: Please note that you must be registered for the conference to attend.


5. Invite to Find Out More About CM Communication Clubs

Would you like to know more about how Communication Matters (CM) can support new and existing groups for AAC users (Communication Clubs)? Would you like to find out more about peer support and mentoring?

CM are delighted to offer a series of free Zoom sessions to tell you more about the range of support and resources available. Communication Clubs help to bring AAC users, parents and carers and practitioners together, to make social connections, enjoy some shared learning and provide some peer support.

Please let us know which session you would like to attend (you only need to attend one):

  • Monday 8th July – 4.00pm-5.00pm
  • Thursday 25th July – 10.30am-11.30am
  • Tuesday 6th August – 2.00pm-3.00pm

The sessions will include:

  • Welcome and introductions.
  • A short presentation about CM Communication Clubs and what we can offer in the way of support and resources with Q&A.
  • What does a Communication Club look like? Sharing experiences.
  • Ideas for new clubs – where and who.
  • What is needed in the way of support and next steps.

To book your place at any of the sessions or for more information, please email Verity Elliott on [email protected] or phone 07891 959048.

For more information about CM Peer Support, please visit:


6. Call for Nominations for Trustees – 2 Weeks To Go!

The time has come again to request nominations for Trustees for the next term in the life of Communication Matters. This is a role which demands stamina, commitment and skill mixing but which can be very stimulating and enlightening!

This year there are five vacant places to be filled and the opportunity of appointing a further three Co-opted Trustees as appropriate. The announcement of Trustees will take place at the Annual Meeting of Associate Members on Sunday 8 September 2024 at the University of Leeds, during the Communication Matters International AAC Conference.

For more information and to download a nomination form, please go to:

Completed nomination forms must reach us by Friday 19 July.


7. About Friday Announcements

These ‘Friday Announcements’ comprise weekly product updates, upcoming courses and supplier news. Please email [email protected] with the item you want to be included by Thursday at 5pm – no more than 200 words (one entry per organisation per week) – and include contact email and/or link so readers can find out further information (no file attachments please).

If you would like to receive these Friday Announcements to your email inbox each week, please subscribe to our AAC Forum or email [email protected].