Celebrating eight years with Communication Matters!

In September, we welcomed Communication Matters’ International Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Conference to campus.  Attracting over 430 delegates from 19 countries including Japan, the USA and Denmark, the UK’s leading annual AAC event provided a unique forum to meet and exchange information with an array of representatives across multiple disciplines, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants, professionals and more.

two women in conversation

This year the conference, which took place from Sunday 8th – Tuesday 10th September, followed the theme of Strictly Come Dancing and offered delegates the chance to ‘strictly’ attend sessions about all things AAC. Keynote speakers included the Director of the Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies at The University of North Carolina, Professor Karen Erickson, who delivered the keynote address. In addition to this, performance poet and artist ‘The Shouting Mute’ also presented a plenary address, where AAC users had the opportunity to take part in a unique poetry workshop.

people sat in a lecture theatre

Held across the university’s world class venue facilities for its eighth year, delegates also experienced a supplier exhibition in the iconic Parkinson Court building, whilst residential accommodation was held in the Storm Jameson Court hall of residence and surrounding areas. What’s more, delegates also enjoyed a conference dinner and disco, keeping in line with the theme.

group in 'Strictly' fancy dress

Communication disability in the UK affects millions of people. Up to 20% of the UK’s population experience communication difficulty at some point in their lives, and more than 10% of all children have a long-term communication need. In preparation for the conference, the team at MEETinLEEDS all undertook important face-to-face training with the aim of helping trainees identify ‘good communication’. What’s more, MEETinLEEDS were awarded the Early Adopter status for the Communication Access symbol last year; a symbol dedicated to indicating spaces that are accessible for people with communication difficulties.

two people facing each other

man smiling with a mask on his head

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We’re delighted to have supported the Communication Matters conference for the seventh year. The Communication Access (CAUK) training was an extremely important aspect of the conference preparation and is demonstrative of how we work in partnership with our conference organisers to provide the best customer experience to their conference community whilst on campus. We are delighted to have been able to offer our support, and commitment to such an important conference at the University.”

two women posing with a Strictly poster

Emily Campbell, Charity manager at Communication Matters (ISAAC UK), commented: “We’re thrilled with the success of the Communication Matters conference. The team at MEETinLEEDS have been a huge support to us, both through their services and through the vital CAUK training they received. We hope that the delegates enjoyed their time at the university and took away valuable information which will help to shape the future of communication processes.”

a busy conference dinner

For more information about Communication Matters, please visit their website.