Friday Announcements – 5 March 2021

1. AAC Research Project
2. Band 7 Occupational Therapist Vacancy
3. Boardmaker 7 Q&A Session 10th of March 2021 at 15:30 GMT
4. Talkathon 3.4 Challenge for CM
5. MEETinLEEDS’ 3.4 Challenge for CM

News from Communication Matters:
6. Important CM2021 International AAC Conference Announcement
7. Join Us for the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge in 2 weeks!
8. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers
9. About Friday Announcements


1. AAC Research Project

From Zoe Temple, Manchester Metropolitan University:

Are you the parent/carer of a child who uses AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication)? Was AAC introduced to your child within the past 5 years? Are you interested in participating in a research study?

I am an MSc Speech and Language Therapy student at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am looking for parents/carers willing to take part in an informal chat to understand their experience looking after children with a communication difficulty and the impact of their child using AAC. AAC can include communication using Makaton, signs, gestures, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), PODD (Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display), communication books, electronic devices, buttons, apps, tablets. This will form my research project for the degree.

I would like to hear from you to understand how you feel about AAC and whether you found any changes in your child’s behaviour once AAC was provided.

You can help by agreeing to chat over a video-call. I will only need one parent/carer from each family and will only recruit participants that do not know me or vice-versa. I will stop recruiting participants once I have the required number for the study.

If you are interested in participating in this study, please email:


2. Band 7 Occupational Therapist Vacancy

From Theresa Tanchak, Assistive Communication Service (ACS):

There is an exciting and rare opportunity for a Band 7 OT (O.6 WTE) in the Assistive Communication Service (ACS) based at South Westminster Centre for Health. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with adults and children across different sites and as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Here is the link If you are interested and would like to discuss the role,  you are very welcome to contact Nikky Steiner ( or Theresa Tanchak (

Please spread the word!


3. Boardmaker 7 Q&A Session 10th of March 2021 at 15:30 GMT

From Tina Voizey, Tobii Dynavox Ltd:

The Tobii Dynavox Leadership Team wants to know about your experience with Boardmaker 7 as we know that some of our customers have encountered challenges since its launch and we are committed to addressing these issues as quickly as possible.

Please join us for an open Question & Answer session with representatives from Product Development, Marketing and Sales. They will be there to meet you, listen to and discuss any challenges you’ve been having with Boardmaker 7. The Tobii Dynavox UK team will also be on hand to demonstrate and support learning all about Boardmaker.

Register here:


4. 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 can’t make it on the day, but are able to give a donation please go to:


5. 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

6. Important CM2021 International AAC Conference Announcement

We have been advised that sadly it will not be possible to have any face-to-face element of the Communication Matters conference again this September. This is a huge disappointment, but the decision has been made with the safety of everyone involved in mind.

What this does mean is that we have six months to plan a fantastic virtual event and we will aim, like The CM Sessions from 2020, to give you all a feel for the CM conference you have come to love!

You can be sure we will include some social sessions, suppliers’ sessions, and opportunities to learn from others about inventive ways of supporting AAC users and families.

So, if you have never presented at a conference before maybe this could be the year? Go to to find out more. We are still accepting abstracts in the usual way.

Please put the dates in your diaries now! The CM2021 virtual conference will take place from Monday 13th – Friday 17th September 2021.

We will post further updates about the conference in these Friday Announcements, but you can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest.


7. Join Us for the Communication Matters 3.4 Challenge in 2 weeks!

Our 34th conference was cancelled due to the pandemic and as a result we’ve had a big loss of income. Please join us for the #CMThreePointFourChallenge to help raise funds and awareness for Communication Matters.

The CM community are running a series of fundraising events between the 21st March (1 year since lockdown) & 3rd April (3/4). You just need to set yourself a task to do with a 3 and a 4 and complete it between these dates. It could be baking 34 cupcakes, playing an instrument for 3.4 hours, listening to 34 podcasts, or walking 34 miles! What about hosting a Zoom quiz with 34 questions, a virtual dance party for 3.4 hours, shooting 34 basketball hoops, or building the biggest lego tower in 34 minutes – the possibilities are endless!

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.

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 and let us know by dropping an email to

For more ideas and for help setting up a fundraising page, please visit:


8. CM2021 International AAC Conference – Call for Papers

You are invited to contribute to the Communication Matters 2021 International AAC Conference.

The CM2021 conference will take place virtually from Monday 13th – Friday 17th September 2021.

We are still accepting abstracts in the usual way and would be delighted to receive them!

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


9. 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.