By Belinda Evans, LGfL Inclusion Resource Consultant
Watch the trailer of the day to get a true flavour of this inclusive and celebratory event
CENMAC is an advisory service based in South London that offers assessments, reviews, and equipment loans to aid children and young people use assistive technology to access the curriculum or to communicate.
Charlton Park Academy is a Special Academy for students with complex, low-incidence special educational needs. They are a well-established and very experienced local provider of quality specialized education provision and cater to young people with complex conditions.
The joy of the event was the role that the pupils from Charlton Park Academy and other students from many of the school CENMAC support across London, played in the event, demonstrating their independence, enthusiasm, and pride in their learning using assistive technology.
Key highlights from the day:
Paralympian and inspirational AAC user and advocate Beth Moulam started off the day with an inspirational and thoughtful keynote address about her journey, her inspirations and the four steps she feels we all need to help us all thrive
Remember everyone is different and not everyone will use the same communication strategies.
Always presume competence.
Make sure we have time to respond.
Try to make every interaction meaningful for both of us.
As well as the keynote speech we were very lucky to have an interview with Beth where John Galloway from the IncludED service was able to ask Beth what inclusion meant to her and what does inclusion look like.
On the topic of what Inclusion means and what does it look like Carol Allen from the IncludED team asked the same question to Arran Smith who is the inclusion specialist at Microsoft.
Arran explains that having assistive technology, that removes stigma and barriers to learning is important, but also important is having access to the everyday resources to therefore enable inclusive learning to take place. The inclusion environment is important to both teachers and students
Clark Reynolds is an inspirational Portsmouth-based artist who is registered as severely sighted and is also a visual artist focussing on Braille as an artistic medium. At CENMAC Clark explained his journey and his unwavering optimism and enthusiasm for pushing the boundaries that many think as someone with significant sight loss may be unable to attain.
‘’The ultimate aim of my art is to highlight the importance of Braille to visually impaired people, and therefore to society in general."
LGfL - IncludED Service
Bob Usher from LGfL IncluED service led a fascinating seminar on 'Universal Design for Learning (UDL)’ and how it can be a force to remove barriers to learning.
We shall be focussing in greater depth on this area of Universal Design for Learning in a future full blog but watch this clip below to find out more about this concept and its 3 principles -
If you are interested in this concept we recommend looking at this case study from Woodland Academy Trust where the assistant headteacher Daniel Davies explains how their digital strategy led to them exploring UDL further and ensuring the school delivers on their motto "Ignite the spark, reveal the champion".
Also, further information can be found on the Cast Website for further insights and support
As well as seminars and keynote speakers Communication Works showcased some suppliers and delegates were able to view products, have a go, chat with product experts and learn how these products support inclusive education.
Widgit are simply drawn colourful symbols, uniquely designed to illustrate a single concept in a clear and concise way. Widgit symbols are already part of the LGfL offer to schools with access to many of their symbol sets to use in the classroom. Also, we recently spent some time at Christopher Hatton School in Camden where they are integrating the use of Widgit symbols across the school environment. See that case study here.
The Cosmo Switch created by Filisia is a unique light-up, multi-colour Bluetooth switch interface for tablets, mobile phones, and computers. It blurs the line between learning, therapy, and play and re-imagines inclusive learning, therapy, and play for people with additional learning needs.
Cosmo also has switch enabled activities as part of their resource so that learners can use the devices in a fun and educational way.
The CENMAC event was a fabulous day and LGfL was proud to support it and be part of such an innovative day. Seeing the students of Charlton Park Academy and other schools that CENMAC support, sharing with such enjoyment and pride in their learning was fabulous to observe at first hand.
And finally what about this stand up comedian. Well done Danny you made us all laugh with your 'funny' jokes.