AAC Awards 2019

University of Leeds

Friday 11 October

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2019 AAC Awards Winners

October is AAC Awareness month around the world and so we celebrated the achievements of those who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and the people who support them. The main aim of the awards was to raise the profile of AAC and the power it has to allow those who use it to take part in all aspects of life. The recipients of these awards demonstrate this power by showing us all they have achieved. Many congratulations to all the worthy winners! 

Setting of the Year

An award for a setting or context that has promoted AAC in a particularly creative or inclusive way.
  • Winner: Ace Centre - For 35 years the Ace Centre has developed and maintained an innovative approach to supporting children, young people and adults with severe communication difficulties. It is a recognised leader in assessment, provision, training and support in the use of assistive technology.
  • Highly Commended: SCTCI, 1Voice

The Alan Martin Award

An award presented to a person who uses AAC who has made a significant contribution to the arts. This award is dedicated to the memory of Alan Martin, who championed the arts and creative inclusion through his work as a dancer, a musician and comedian.
  • Winner: John Larkins - John Larkins (or Larko as he is known on the grime scene) has been producing music for around 3 years now. With the help of vocalists who spit the lyrics for him he continues with his quest to become big on the grime scene. John shows a younger generation of AAC users that there really are no limits to what you can achieve if you believe in yourself, stay strong through the highs and the lows and dream big.
  • Highly Commended: Jodie Turner, Oli Cunningham

The AAC Innovation Award

An award given to a particular product, resource or supplier that has demonstrated “outside the box” thinking.
  • Winner: Talking Mats - The effort of Founder, Dr Joan Murphy and Director Lois Cameron and their colleagues has seen the development of the Talking Mats framework over many years. It is now a well-respected, well-researched communication framework with a world-wide reputation, which supports the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities guiding principle of individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices. The wide range of contexts and professionals using Talking Mats around the world is enormous.
  • Highly Commended: Debbie Jans and CODES

The Research Award

An award given to a researcher, a published paper or project which has furthered the evidence base around AAC.
  • Winner: Janice Murray - Janice has published in highly regarded journals in the fields of language, disability, and AAC, and her presentations in international conferences always draw a large audience, indicating that her research is of good quality, scientifically topical, creative, and well-presented. She has created versatile national and international networks as a researcher and expert, and has been repeatedly invited as a keynote speaker or a researcher to different countries in Europe and outside.
  • Highly Commended: I-ASC Project under the leadership of Janice Murray, Oliver Wendt

The Student Award

An award for a student, project or group in an AAC-related subject which has promoted understanding of AAC in their university, college or community.
  • Winner: AT Therapy Mentors Team - The team at AT Mentors is a dedicated team of individuals, who are themselves AAC Users. Collectively they have years of experience and competence in using their devices. They are all older teens with daily commitments of their own such as college and family life.
  • Highly Commended: Helen Paterson

Outstanding Community Inclusion

An award for a person or community who have shown exceptional awareness and support for AAC users and their needs.
  • Winner: CALL Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust Partnership - In recognition of the work CALL Scotland does with the Scottish Book Trust to create accessible digital versions of the Bookbug Family Bag. Three books are gifted to EVRY Primary 1 child (Five year old) in Scotland.
  • Highly Commended: Sign Out Loud

The Jamie Munro Award

An award for an inspiring individual, whose work has had impact across the entire field of AAC. This award is in memory of Jamie Munro, who inspired all he worked with during his career as an AAC supplier and developer.
  • Winner: Anna Reeves - Anna was an invaluable partner in the investigation of the provision of AAC services, work that helped lay the foundations for the creation of the national network of AAC Hubs. Anna continues to inspire the sector by driving positive change, not only through her leadership of the Ace Centre but also by bringing the important message of SLCN and assistive technology to policy makers: Anna is a founding member of the advisory board of the all-party parliamentary group for assistive technology.
  • Highly Commended: Marion Stanton

The Rising Star Award

A newcomer to the world of AAC who has made particular impact over the past year.
  • Winner: Laith Ritchie - Laith Ritchie is a highly inspirational, 16-year-old AAC user who over the past year has made a significant impact on the lives of many AAC users. In September 2018, Laith attended the Communication Matters conference where he listened to the ATmentor team share information about their role. Immediately after this, Laith registered interest in working as an ATmentor and by October 2018 was working with the team on a voluntary basis. Laith demonstrates consistent hard-work, commitment and eagerness to learn.
  • Highly Commended: Jemima Hughes, Amy Hanschell

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is presented to a dedicated individual who has made an outstanding and continued contribution to the AAC community.
  • Winner: Paul Hawes