From the 18th-20th October 2018, Sarah Hains (AAC Coordinator) and Ellen Berbec (Assistive Technology Coordinator) attended a 2-day conference in Melbourne on the topic Alternative Access to Technology and Communication presented by Claire Cotter and Fiona Beauchamp, Occupational Therapist from Cerebral Palsy Education Centre.
The professional learning centred on understanding the multiplicity of skills and strategies involved in enabling a child with a physical disability and complex communication needs to access Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) aids and technology using alternative access methods (switching).
The workshop explored the movements required and strategies to support a range of children to learn the movements to become more automatic with their switch use for leisure and also for communication. There were numerous video case studies used to facilitate dynamic assessment, discussion and problem solving of real life situations and to demonstrate interventions and strategies over time.
The workshop covered understanding the different movements in cerebral palsy (and like conditions) and its importance in accessing switches as well as strategies to support the learning of movement for intelligible autonomous communication.
As well as the 2 day workshop, Sarah and Ellen visited the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre and Glenallen School.
Glenallen provides individual learning programs for students aged between 4.8 and 18 years, who have a physical disability and/or significant health impairment requiring paramedical support. There were many similarities to Kilparrin in the programs offered at Glenallen including the Four Blocks Approach to Literacy, Intensive Interaction, targeted AAC interventions, Independent Living Skills and Specialist Music lessons.