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What the Ladybird Heard-Spring has Sprung for Accessible Books!

By Joanna Courtney on Tuesday 24th March, 2015 at 1:13pm

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Now that Springtime seems to be upon us at last, you'll be looking for some suitably 'fresh and lively' reading material for your Young Readers!


Just to remind you that CALL's PowerPoint bookshelf is available for download with links to lots of ready made PowerPoint switch prompt books for you to use with pupils who have a Print Disability


Why not start by downloading 'What the Ladybird Heard,' a fabulous story by Julia Donaldson about a ladybird who spoils the plans of two thieves trying to steal the prize cow from the farmyard!





Download CALL's symbolised 'Shared Reading' resources to accompany the book and enable children with Communication Support Needs to take part fully in the fun. The resources include a printable symbol board (or Go Talk 9+ overlay), Step by Step and Big Mack switch tops and a Vocabulary Sheet with ideas of what vocabulary to use. The Shared Reading set of resources appear near the bottom of the page.






There are also some great teaching ideas and resources to go with this story on the Teaching Ideas website as well as from the Scottish Book Trust's website.


Please also remember that CALL's symbolised resources to accompany ALL the short-listed Bookbug books from this year's Scottish Children's Book Awards, including the 2015 winner Robot Rumpus by Ross Collins and Sean Taylor, can still be downloaded from our website until the end of March.

So download the resources now before time runs out!





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Bright Red to provide digital files for Learners with Print Disabilities

By Paul Nisbet on Thursday 19th March, 2015 at 4:02pm

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We are excited to announce that Bright Red Publishing are the latest Scottish textbook publisher to agree to provide digital copies of their books for the Books for All Database. Bright Red publish Study and Revision Guides for Intermediate, National 5 and Highers and also SQA Past Papers. Over the next few weeks we will be adding their books to the database and we'll list the books on the blog and on the Database News pages as they become available.

This is particularly good timing since the 2015 exams are looming ever closer!

Staff and learners should also check out the free Bright Red Digital Zone. This "is a fully interactive online resource where teachers can find useful information and students can put in that extra effort to help them get the best possible grades". The website has been developed in collaboration with Professor Bill Buchanan at Edinburgh Napier University.


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New books on the Books for All Database

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 18th March, 2015 at 5:08pm

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Rebecca has uploaded some more books from VTSS in Edinburgh to the Books for All Database. Some are scanned copies and some are Large Print. The new books are:




Home Economics 


Modern Studies


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EmergencySMS service to call 999 - great for nonspeakers!

By Sally Millar on Monday 16th March, 2015 at 10:19am

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Police Scotland are offering a new Emergency SMS service which could be very valuable for people with speech, language or communication impairment, or deafness (who cannot easily use a voice based phone service).

If someone can access a mobile phone reliably, they can send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service to call for help. The emergency services will be able to reply and pass your message to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard as required.

You will need to register your mobile phone before using the emergencySMS service. Do it now - don't wait until an emergency happens! Click to Register your phone ​

Click to download the emergencySMS leaflet.



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Friday Games for switch and touch users

By Sally Millar on Friday 13th March, 2015 at 1:01pm

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You will find some fun online games (free!) for early level learners using switch or touch, or mouse click, on Ian Bean's SENICT Software website.  Lots of other great resources, links, and information etc. there too.


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Red Nose Day 2015 resources

By Joanna Courtney on Thursday 12th March, 2015 at 3:08pm

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As you will know, it's Comic Relief's Red Nose Day tomorrow!

Download a Red Nose Day symbol board to enable pupils with Additional Support Needs to take part fully in all the fundraising shenanigans!

-this can be used as a printable low tech board or as an overlay for a Go Talk 9 + communication aid. Or, just cut up the symbols and use them as you see fit!

To celebrate, I'm also sign posting you to various games and resources to help you and your pupils take part fully in the fun!

Fun games and activities 

-'Nose need to panic' uses the 'space bar' so could be accessed via single switch-very quick though!

Or Make your Face Funny using a photo, like me! 

Red Nose Day Song for schools

-download the song 'Making Funny Faces' and a PDF of the lyrics and sheet music

Download a funny face kit

-make your face 'Funny for Money' using the ready made stencils and face paints or make up!

And lastly, if you are needing new jokes to record into a simple AAC device e.g. Step by Step for the big day tomorrow, download the CALL joke sheet here!

So, enjoy raising money for a great cause and having lots of fun at the same time!






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Scottish Children's Book Awards 2015 winners announced!

By Joanna Courtney on Thursday 5th March, 2015 at 11:13am

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Congratulations to the Winners of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2015! The awards are run by The Scottish Book Trust and the winners were announced at an Awards Ceremony at The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on the 4th March 2015 in front of 600 school children. The winner for each category was

Bookbug Readers (3-7): Robot Rumpus by Ross Collins and Sean Taylor

 Younger Readers (8-11): The Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens by Alex McCall

Older Readers (12-16): Mosi’s War by Cathy MacPhail

This is the first year that, along with digital versions of the books in all three categories, CALL Scotland has produced symbolised resources to accompany the 3 Bookbug Readers short-listed books; Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray, Lost for Words by Natalie Russell and Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins. 

These 3 books were given FREE to every P1 child in Scotland by the Scottish Book Trust during Book Week Scotland 2014, in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Pack.

CALL's FREE resources include paper-based symbol materials, ‘GoTalk’ communication aid overlays, Big Mack/Step by Step symbols and SoundingBoard app boards for use on the iPad. There are specific resources for talking about each of the 3 books as well as for shared reading and for voting.

 Download the symbolised resources here

It was great for me to meet the authors of these books at the ceremony; Alison Murray, Natalie Russell and Sean Taylor and Ross Collins to chat to them about the resources and how they have enabled children with communication support needs and physical difficulties to take part in shared reading of their books and in the voting process. The authors were also keen to try out their book’s resources on a Go Talk communication aid!

The symbolised resources are all still available to download FREE from The Books for All website as well as digital copies of the last 6 years’ Bookbug books in PowerPoint format from our PowerPoint Bookshelf

A great way for ALL of your pupils to access books and additional resources on this World Book Day!  



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New French books on the Books for All Database from VTSS in Edinburgh

By Paul Nisbet on Tuesday 3rd March, 2015 at 5:58pm

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Just before Christmas Mary Matson from Edinburgh and Lothians VTSS transcription team kindly gave us over 15,000 files to add to the database.

Rebecca Gow here in CALL, with help from James, a student, have gone through this treasure trove and sorted and edited the files into complete books. Some of the books are beautifully laid out Large Print, whilst others are scanned copies of paper books. The scanned files have been converted into text, but (as you can imagine) we've not had time to proof-read and correct them, so you will find some errors.

Over the next few weeks we will check and upload books for different subjects to the database and post a list of the new titles on the blog and on the Database News page.

The first batch are French books:


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tha e air beagan Gàidhlig?

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 25th February, 2015 at 3:00pm

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We are pleased to report that we have received funding to work with CereProc to develop and license a Scottish Gaelic computer voice for the Scottish public sector. CereProc are a world-class text-to-speech company based in Edinburgh and the Gaelic voice development is funded by The Scottish Government Gaelic and Scots UnitScottish Funding CouncilScottish Qualifications Authority and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The new Gaelic voice will be available to schools from The Scottish Voice website for the start of the 2015-16 academic session, alongside  Heather and Stuart, which are high quality computer English voices with a Scottish accent. We first licensed Heather from CereProc in 2008 and she was followed by Stuart, in 2011, and they are now used in computers in schools all across Scotland in a variety of ways by learners with additional support needs. For example:

  • students with reading difficulties use the voices to read digital textbooks, assessments or digital exam papers;
  • learners with visual impairment use the voices to read and access the computer screen;
  • pupils who have difficulties with communication use the voices in their electronic voice output aids for personal communication.

By licensing Heather and Stuart nationally, schools and other public agencies are saved the cost of buying the voices or buying computer reader software with high quality voices. We estimate that we have saved Scottish education at least £2 million compared with the cost of schools or local authorities buying the voices commercially. 

However, there is no Scottish Gaelic computer voice available and so Gaelic learners and speakers do not have the same opportunities as Scottish English speakers. The new Gaelic voice will we hope address this.

The Gaelic computer voice will not just benefit learners with disabilities and additional support needs:  anyone who reads Gaelic could find it helpful to read web sites, documents, or to check and proof-read their own letters or emails. The voice will be licensed for use by Scottish schools, colleges, universities, local and national government agencies, NHS units and for use at home by pupils and staff.



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Free online course, iPads for sensory level education

By Sally Millar on Friday 13th February, 2015 at 10:56am

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Did you know that there is now an online training course on using iPads in education for learners with additional support needs? This has been put together on his website by the redoubtable Richard Hirstwood (famous for his energetic and imaginative sensory education training), and is FREE! 

The course is divided into 7 sections (each of which includes text and video material), plus 4 sections covering lists of Apps for particular topic areas. Altogether, there is maybe up to about 7 hours of learning in there, though of course, you can break this up into small chunks of time, as you please. 

It works well on tablets and phones, as well as on computers with larger screens

Ideal half-term browsing!


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How accessible are your school computers? Are we meeting legal obligations?

By Paul Nisbet on Wednesday 4th February, 2015 at 6:01pm

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On 31 October the Scottish Government published Guidance on “Planning improvements for disabled pupils’ access to education” which "describes the requirements the Act places on education authorities and schools to work to improve the education of disabled learners and to help ensure that they are properly included in, and able to benefit fully from, their school education."

The Guidance contains two appendices that refer specifically to measures that local authorities should take to improve the accessibility of school ICT and computers. It covers things like installing the Scottish computer voices; having text-to-speech software available; providing access to control panels so that students with disabilities can make adjustments to enable access; etc. The document is available here:

Now that the guidance is published, it would be helpful to get a snapshot of how accessible school computers are across the country, and what might need to be done to improve the accessibility of ICT used in schools.

To accomplish this, please help us by completing a survey that you can find here:

We know that in some parts of the country, learners have the benefit of readily-available accessibility software and adjustments, but in other schools the provision is not so good. By completing the survey you will help identify areas where improvements might be made. Please also pass the link on to your colleagues.

Many thanks,



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More AAC Professional Learning Opportunities

By Sally Millar on Monday 2nd February, 2015 at 12:13pm

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Check out the upcoming CALLlive Webinars on AAC Topics - you are welcome to join!

CALL Scotland delivers regular short  (approx. 30 minutes) free webinars on a range of topics, many of which relate to AAC. You can join these 'live' at 4pm - 4.30 pm
  • 11 February Text-based AAC Apps and iOS8 keyboards 
  • 25 February; Apps for Skills Assessment, to support AAC Choices 
  • 4 March Go Talk Now App
All at 4pm (register in advance and check in a few minutes early, for tech. checks).If you can't manage to join these 'live' you can replay them from the bank of Archived Webinars. Recently archived AAC Webinars include:
  • 2nd December 2014 (Introduction to the Right to Speak resources, including videos, online training modules, downloadable posters, resources)
  • 21 January 2015, Tools2Talk App




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AAC courses in Scotland, in March 2015 - book now!

By Sally Millar on Thursday 22nd January, 2015 at 3:39pm

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Good news for AAC folk - there are TWO upcoming courses  - in March 2015 - that promise be not only valuable and interesting but also FREE!

  • Liberator AAC Awareness Day: 27th March, Kilmarnock
  • One-day PODD Training:  31st March, Alloa Campus, Forth Valley College

Book early to be sure to get a place!

Flip across to the AAC Scotland website right now to get the full information and links to booking form etc.


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TeeJay books are available on the Books for All Database again

By Paul Nisbet on Tuesday 13th January, 2015 at 10:59am

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Following the incident where a TeeJay book was found available on the internet (see the 7 January blog post), we have modified the wording of the Books for All Database records and we hope that it is clearer and encourages staff to read and understand the terms and conditions.

Tom Strang at TeeJay is happy with the wording and so we have made the TeeJay books available once again. We are very grateful to Tom for his understanding and for allowing us to share his publications, free of charge, so that learners with print disabilities can access them.

You can see all the TeeJay books by clicking here

This is the arrangement:

These accessible copies are made available under the terms of the Copyright Licensing Agency Print Disability Licence to be used only by a learner who is visually impaired or otherwise disabled and by reason of such visual impairment or disability is unable to read or access the original printed book.

Under the terms of the licence you must download or obtain an accessible copy for each learner who needs one. All learners must have a print disability.

By downloading this book I confirm that:

  • I am downloading this book for a learner with a print disability.  I will not supply the book to learners who do not have a print disability.  I will not upload the book to the internet for public access.  
  • I understand that I am legally responsible for the file and for its usage.  
  • I agree to the Books for All Database Terms and Conditions.

Books for All Database Licence Conditions for TeeJay Books

  • The user of this Accessible Digital Copy must have legal access to a print copy of the book, bought either for personal use or as part of a class set.
  • The Accessible Digital Copy should be deleted once the pupil has completed the course for which it was supplied.



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Wot? No TeeJay Books?

By Paul Nisbet on Friday 9th January, 2015 at 3:17pm

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You may have found that the TeeJay maths PDFs are not on the Books for All database any more. We have temporarily removed them because just before Christmas one of the files appeared on Wikispaces, freely downloadable, and this is not permitted under the agreement we have with TeeJay.

We are discussing how we can prevent this from happening with TeeJay and once we have a solution we hope to have them available again soon.

This emphasises how important it is to abide by the Books for All terms and conditions and to ensure that the files are only provided for learners with print disabilities. If we collectively don't protect the publishers' rights and property, they won't let us share their files. 

Watch this space - we'll let you know when they are available again.


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