Friday Announcements – 26 February 2021

1. Postponement of ISAAC Conference 2020 & “ISAAC Connects” a New 2021 Virtual Event
2. Voice Banking Services – Comparison Charts
3. Interaction with Virtual Home Assistants for People with Dysarthria
4. Global Symbols COVID-19 Update
5. Win A £50 Amazon Voucher
6. ISAAC International Online Chat for AAC Users in the UK
7. Ace Centre Administration Services Manager
8. MEETinLEEDS’ 3.4 Challenge for CM

News from Communication Matters:
9. Join Us for the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge in 3 weeks!
10. Membership Renewal Reminder
11. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers
12. Talkathon 3.4 Challenge for CM
13. About Friday Announcements


1. Postponement of ISAAC Conference 2020 & “ISAAC Connects” a New 2021 Virtual Event

From Franklin Smith, ISAAC:

The Conference 2020 Leadership Team has been engaged in discussions with our service providers for the ISAAC Conference in Cancún, México. Given international travel restrictions, in addition to the continuing and difficult COVID-19 pandemic situation in countries around the world, it is unfortunately still not physically possible for people to safely travel to an in-person conference. As always, the health and safety of our stakeholders is a significantly important consideration for our organization.

As a result, the ISAAC Executive Board has made the decision, that it is not possible to hold ISAAC Conference 2020 on our previously re-scheduled 2021 dates. We are therefore announcing a postponement of Conference 2020 to its newly rescheduled dates of July 30th through August 4th, 2022. The venue remains the same, the Cancún ICC. For more information, click here.

In order to ensure that there is no more than a two-year gap between major ISAAC events, ISAAC is thrilled to announce its first ever all virtual event, “ISAAC Connects”, will be held later during 2021. More details on this, including final dates, registration, scientific program, and social events will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, read the News Release posted on the ISAAC website, under Recent Posts. As well, please refer to our Conference 2020 Postponement Q&A for details.


2. Voice Banking Services – Comparison Charts

From Matthew Hollis, Motor Neurone Disease Association:

We have created comparison charts of the voice banking services to help you understand the options. These charts have been created in conjunction with the services and exist due to the rapidly developing nature of this technology, to avoid confusion over what is available. They are available at in the voice banking drop down section and will be updated when we become aware of any changes.


3. Interaction with Virtual Home Assistants for People with Dysarthria

From Aisha Jaddoh, Cardiff University:

Our research proposes a new technique for people affected by dysarthria to interact with virtual home assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The proposed technique overcomes dysarthric users’ communication difficulties and enables them to use a theses device with non-verbal sound cues. We would like to answer how using nonverbal voice cues will improve the interaction with the virtual home assistants.


To be able to understand the needs of people with dysarthria better, we would like to conduct interviews with people with dysarthria.

Currently we are seeking participants with the following criteria:

  • Aged 18+ and diagnosed with dysarthria.
  • Do not have any other medical condition that affects the functions of the brain or language production.
  • Have an internet connection, computer, or any alternative to be able to have online interviews.

If you are interested or have further questions, please email me at

More information at:


4. Global Symbols COVID-19 Update

From E.A. Draffan, Global Symbols:

Global Symbols ( was very fortunate to gain a Winston Churchill Covid-19 Action Fund grant last year and as a result we have completely redesigned our free online Board Builder app with a new Symbol Creator. These browser apps offer users the chance to make boards linked to several open licenced multilingual AAC symbol sets.  There is also a choice of the Noun project icons, Open Mojis, OCHA Humanitarian icons, and the Guemil disaster and emergency icons.

Everything has been designed, for anyone to access! The idea is to complement the many other apps available, whilst enabling those who do not have specialist software to make simple charts and information sheets.

Board Builder can be used with templates, grids or customised to suit user needs. Symbol Creator offers image uploads, adaptations, and additional elements (such as arrows and other shapes etc.) where symbol licences permit. There are featured boards or information sheets and those who register can change them and upload their own images or save and download creations.

Please get in touch if any problems arise as we are working on improving the website and all it offers. We are on Facebook and email


5. Win A £50 Amazon Voucher

From Daniel Jones, University of Leeds:

Students from the University of Leeds are looking for people with post-stroke aphasia to complete an online questionnaire.

If you complete the questionnaire, you can enter a prize draw where you could win 1 of 2 £50 Amazon vouchers.

The questionnaire asks about your use of virtual communication (Texting, Emails, Facebook, Phone calls, and Video calls) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The questionnaire will take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

You can complete it alone, or with the help of a friend, family member, carer, or therapist.

The study is open to anyone who is suffering from aphasia after having a stroke.

To take part, or access further information, please follow this link:

If you have any questions, you can contact us by email:
Daniel Jones (Researcher 1):
Holly Avery (Researcher 2):
Dr. Christina Sotiropoulou Drosopoulou (Research supervisor):


6. ISAAC International Online Chat for AAC Users in the UK

From Jamie Preece:

On Monday 1st March at 5pm I will be co-hosting an ISAAC online chat for AAC users in the UK along with Beth Moulam.

The chat will be informal, and discussions are open.

We have two questions for your consideration in advance if you would like to answer them:

  1. What are you looking forward to the most when lockdown is over? And what are you least looking forward to?
  2. What is the most unusual place that you have ever been with your device?

If you would like to take part, please email me on and I will send you the details to join.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


7. Ace Centre Administration Services Manager

From Stephen Carroll, Ace Centre:

Salary £31,346 – £35,745 (NJC scale points 27 – 32) dependant on knowledge, qualifications, and experience.

Ace Centre is a national charity (reg 1089391) offering a range of Assistive Technology (AT) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services for people with physical and communication impairments and those who support them.

A new position has arisen at our Abingdon office for an experienced Administration Services Manager, and we are looking for someone with exceptional organisational skills to join our small and friendly team.

This role will involve managing and developing the Centres Administrative and Human Resource functions including payroll preparation and pensions administration, and responsibility for managing a small team.

This role would suit an experienced office manager or HR professional with excellent communication and ICT skills.

The role is full time and will be based in our Abingdon office. You will occasionally be required to travel to and work in our Oldham office.

Closing date for applications: Friday 19th March 2021
Interview date: Tuesday 30th March 2021
Contact Steve Carroll: / Tel 0161 358 0151

Ace Centre is an equal opportunities employer; we welcome enquiries from everyone and value diversity in our workforce.


8. MEETinLEEDS’ 3.4 Challenge for CM

From Anthony Lowe, MEETinLEEDS:

I am pleased to let you know that the staff at MEETinLEEDS and the University of Leeds are carrying out our own 3.4 Challenge to raise funds for Communication Matters and you can join in too –

There is a massive 34 item Easter Hamper and additional prizes to be won!

The winners will be drawn on 28 March 2021. Delivered to the winner in time for Easter.

Just 50p per raffle ticket. Click here to buy yours now (UK residents 16+ only).

If you would like to buy a book of raffle tickets to sell, then please contact me on


9. Join Us for the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge in 3 weeks!

Fancy setting yourself a challenge this Spring?

Please join us for the #CMThreePointFourChallenge and fundraise for CM. Set yourself a task to do with a 3 and a 4 and complete it between 21st March and 3rd April. It could be baking 34 cupcakes, playing an instrument for 3.4 hours, listening to 34 podcasts, or walking 34 miles!

Our 34th AAC Conference was due to be held in September 2020, but sadly had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. As well as being a brilliant opportunity for the AAC community to come together, learn and share knowledge about AAC, it also means the charity has experienced a huge loss of income. That’s why we are calling on you and the rest of the fantastic AAC community to come together at this difficult time and to help raise much-needed funds for CM.

The challenge is open to anyone. 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!

We can’t wait to hear your ideas – please get in touch if you are joining in by posting on social media with the above hashtag or let us know by dropping an email to

To find out more please visit:


10. Membership Renewal Reminder

To all our 2020 members – You will have been sent a membership renewal letter by email on 16th December 2020. This is a gentle reminder to please renew your membership for 2021 if you can as soon as possible. We are currently getting the Communication Matters Journal ready for April, so please do renew your membership if you would like to receive your copy. Thank you!

If you haven’t received your renewal letter, please get in touch by emailing

If you haven’t been a member before but are thinking about joining us, please have a look at our website and download a membership form from


11. 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


12. Talkathon 3.4 Challenge for CM

From CM AAC User Focus group:

We at the CM AAC User Focus group have decided to take on our own 3.4 Challenge to raise funds for Communication Matters.

We are doing a 3 hours and 40 minutes online Talkathon! Our challenge will take place on 24th March from 1.30-5.10pm.

The challenge is open to anyone and we would love for you to join us. You can come for all of the event or just part of it. We have lots of fun, social activities planned to make the time go faster. Challenges include sing and sign, quizzes, bingo and guess the symbol!

To sign up, please email

This event is also raising vital funds to support Communication Matters at this difficult time, so if you are able to give a donation please go to:


13. 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.