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Setting up a School AAC Toolbox for Learners with Communication Support Needs

Are you looking to set up or your AAC toolbox of resources for your classroom or school? Are you needing guidance on good practice and strategies for using AAC resources with your learners? This workshop will provide a practical guide to help identify useful AAC digital resources and how to use them to support communication and participation in classroom activities.

AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) includes a range supports for communication, such as symbols, printed resources, communication boards, as well as digital resources, such as simple to more complex communication aids, Big Macks, iPads and other voice output devices. They can support individuals with communication support needs, who may be non-verbal, to have a voice.

The purpose of this course is to equip staff working in education to identify what resources to include in an AAC toolkit, matched to the needs of learners with communication support needs from conditions such as ASD, learning disability, sensory and genetic conditions, cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. The focus will be on identifying, setting up and using digital resources, including simple single, stepped and multi-message talkers, and iPads with starter communication apps. We will also reference associated printed symbol resources and describe alternative access methods when touch control is difficult. We will demonstrate CALL Scotlands free-to-use resources and discuss practical strategies for using them within different curricular activities, equipping staff with skills to use AAC toolkit resources in a group setting and with individual learners, to promote inclusive educational experiences.



10th November 2022
University of Edinburgh

Online learning
per person
Time: 4:00pm - 5:30pm

What you will learn

  • To understand the rationale for using AAC to support communication, participation and learning.
  • To learn about printed communication resources and simple starter communication aids for an AAC toolkit.
  • To understand best practice for introducing and supporting AAC toolkit resources in the classroom.
  • To explore CALL Scotland's and other top resources for AAC.

Who is the course aimed at?

  • ASN Teachers, Support for Learning Teachers.
  • Special School Teachers, Pupil Support Assistants.
  • Early Learning and Childcare Practitioners.
  • Speech and Language Therapists.

Meet your presenter(s)

Gillian McNeill
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Gillian’s specialism is in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, drawn from 25 years working within a regional AAC team in Fife, before joining CALL Scotland in 2011. Through this she has built experience from developing a multi-agency AAC partnership, carrying out assessments, implementing support services, delivering training and contributing to AAC projects. Having worked with people with complex communication support needs of all ages - children and adults - her key area of interest presently, is supporting pupils to access learning and communication, through technology.

Joanna Courtney
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

She has 18 years' experience of working in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, spending her first 7 years working in a Special School. She has an Honours degree (BSc) in Speech and Language Pathology from Queen Margaret University and her particular area of interest is enabling peer interaction and group opportunities for people who use AAC.

About the event

  • Duration: 90 minutes, starting at 4:00pm
  • Capacity: Maximum of 20 per workshop.
  • Equipment requirements: Either a Windows PC (or laptop), Mac or tablet device with an internet connection and speakers. Microphone is optional.
  • Weblink for online workshop: This will be emailed to you a week before the event.
  • Preparing for the Webinar: To try and ensure the webinar goes as smoothly as possible for you on the day, we've created a very simple 4 point preparation list that you may wish to follow.


If you have technical problems and are not able to access the Online Learning on the day you will receive an archived recording of the session. No refunds will be given.


Course can be paid for by invoice or debit/credit card.

Card payment: You will recieve an email after your booking from which will contain a payment link.

Invoice: All Authorities are no 'NO PO, NO PAY' so please make arrangements to provide CALL Scotland with a Purchase Order Number from your local authority or school finance system. We will raise an invoice which will be sent directly to your Finance Office.

NB: We will be on the PECOS system as: The University of Edinburgh and NOT CALL Scotland (this is because we use the University's finance systems).