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Technology to Support Learners with Complex Communication Support Needs (CCSN) in the Classroom

Technology in the form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems, can give non-verbal learners a 'voice', enable them to access the curriculum and to raise attainment, health and well-being, participation in activities and independence for everyday living. An increasing number of learners with CCSN are having access to AAC systems via tablet devices such as iPads, through dedicated devices with eye gaze and other access methods, or lower tech such as communication/symbol books. Many staff however, are unsure how best to support learners to develop and use their AAC and there is clear evidence that this can only be achieved through teaching strategies with opportunities for practice and functional use.

This full day course will provide participants with knowledge and skills to implement AAC in the classroom. Participants will gain an understanding of CCSN, explore a range of AAC systems including low and high tech, and learn how to create opportunities and strategies for use. Also included, using tools for planning and measuring progress, linking targets to Curriculum for Excellence, using resources/strategies such as Aided Language Stimulation and modelling, and hands-on activities and discussion around pupil examples.



8th March 2018
University of Edinburgh

Full day course
(9:30pm - 3:30pm)

What you will learn

    • Communication competences for AAC
    • Knowledge of a range of AAC photo/symbol and digital technologies
    • Vocabulary selection and strategies for teaching
      including Aided Language Stimulation
    • Developing communication in existing classroom activities
      and creating new communication opportunities
    • Linking AAC learning activities to CfE
      and embedding learning outcomes

    Who is the seminar aimed at?

    • VI Specialists
    • Class Teachers, ASN and Support for Learning Teachers
    • Pre-school staff
    • Classroom assistants, Additional Support Needs assistants
    • Speech and Language Therapists
    • Anyone working with a learner with Complex Communication Support Needs (CCSN)
    • Parent/ Carers

    Meet your presenter(s)

    Claire Harrison
    Assistive Technology and Complex Needs Officer

    My role involves: assessment and support of individual learners and research and development projects.

    What the research says

    Ahmed's story - an AAC user

    This case demonstrates quite clearly the positive outcomes achieved with the use of AAC equipment and support. Access to the curriculum would not be possible without it. The AAC equipment has supported Ahmed to achieve many of the well-being outcome indicators identified within GIRFEC,13 for example,

    • 'developing a level of autonomy, appropriate to age and stage',
    • 'meeting or exceeding appropriate levels of educational attainment'
    • and 'receives additional support to overcome any disadvantages that may contribute to social exclusion'

    are but a few of the positive outcomes described above.

    A Right to Speak, Scottish Government 2012


    About the day

    • Duration: 9:30pm - 3:30pm
    • Class size: No more than 16
    • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.
    • Food: A generous lunch to keep you full up.


    • Room: , University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ