Friday Announcements – 15 January 2021

1. Clinical Decision-Making & AAC for Children and Young People Virtual Study Day – Last Chance to Register!
2. Chatasign Books

News from Communication Matters:
3. Join Us for the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge in Spring 2021!
4. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers
5. Fully Funded Courses and Qualifications for AAC Users
6. About Friday Announcements


1. Clinical Decision-Making & AAC for Children and Young People Virtual Study Day – Last Chance to Register!

From Janice Murray, Manchester Metropolitan University:

A one-day event split over two half days: 1-3.45pm (GMT) on Tuesday 19th January & Wednesday 3rd February 2021.

A collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University, Barnsley Assistive Technology Service and Communication Matters.

This event will be informed by the findings from a recently funded UK research project (I-ASC: Identifying Appropriate Symbol communication aids for children who are non-speaking). Delegates will be offered an in-depth review of the findings of the research and the potential implications of these findings and focus on the practical suggestions and solutions that may support AAC decision making.

Follow this link to find out more about the event and how to register:


2. Chatasign Books

From Tony Songest:

Chatasign books is proud to announce the creation of a new unique AAC learning aid using sign language.

Our books show the child a word, photograph of the subject e.g. dog/apple, and symbol whilst showing the parent opposite the appropriate sign.

For further details please see:


3. Join Us for the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge in Spring 2021!

You may have heard of The 2.6 Challenge which took place on 26th April 2020 instead of the London Marathon. Supporters were encouraged to take up the 2.6 Challenge and do any activity relating to a 2 and a 6 or 26. For example, running 2.6 miles or flipping 26 pancakes in a row!

We are taking our own twist on this online event and hosting the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge!

Our 34th AAC Conference was due to be held in September 2020, but sadly had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. The conference is a brilliant opportunity for the AAC community to come together and learn and share knowledge about AAC, network and dance!

We have experienced a huge loss of income due to COVID-19 and the charity may not be able to continue without significant funding. That’s why we are calling on you and the rest of the fantastic AAC community to come together at this difficult time and help to raise much-needed funds for CM.

The challenge is open to anyone. All you need to do is think of an activity based around the numbers 34 or 3.4 that suits your skills and complete it between 21st March (one year since lockdown) and 3rd April (3/4). You can do it at home and raise funds from your very own living room, bedroom, balcony, or garden.

You could pledge to run 3.4 miles, do 34 minutes of yoga, or juggle for 3.4 minutes non-stop!

To find out more please visit:


4. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers

You are invited to contribute to the Communication Matters 2021 International AAC Conference (12-14 September, University of Leeds).

While we cannot be certain of what the position around Coronavirus will be in September 2021, we are hopeful that the conference will be able to go ahead in some format, whether that is in person, virtually, or a hybrid of the two. Please be aware therefore that while we are operating as business as usual for now, the information below is subject to change. But whatever the conference looks like, we would be delighted to receive your abstracts!

We have based our topic areas on the three aspects of evidence-based practice:

  • Best Research Evidence
  • Clinical and Professional Experience
  • Personal Stories and Preferences

Again, this year we will be using an online submission programme called Aventri. You will be asked to login and submit a simple form with a title and a short summary about your talk (maximum 300 words).

Papers can be submitted as either a platform presentation or a poster. We particularly welcome contributions from AAC users and family members. We would also be interested to hear your experiences of telehealth this year. New in 2019 and returning for 2021 are Lightning Talks – these ‘lightning presentations’ will offer delegates the opportunity to present ideas in a short, concise way, with each presentation allocated just 6.25 minutes. If you’ve got a thought, something you’ve designed, or even just a topic you feel passionate about, come along and share it with our delegates in this concise, fast-paced ideas forum!

The deadline for submissions is 23 April 2021. However, we would encourage you to submit your abstract as soon as possible to help with our planning at this uncertain time.

Further information can be found on our website:

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the opportunity please email


5. Fully Funded Courses and Qualifications for AAC Users

This is our third year of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund in England and we have a wonderful range of qualifications for AAC users including Entry Level 2, Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2. Topics include personal and social development, mentoring and employability.

All sessions are free and delivered via Zoom or Teams and learners can complete workbooks and activities from their own home. We provide 1-1 support and guidance.

We can also help with setting up a local peer mentoring project in school or college, or through another service.

For more information about any of these opportunities, please contact Verity Elliott on or 07891959048.


6. About Friday Announcements

These ‘Friday Announcements’ comprise weekly product updates, upcoming courses and supplier news. Please email 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. Communication Matters will review, collate and post suitable submissions.