AAC Awareness Month

Communication is something most of you probably take for granted. So this month I have a challenge for you: can you choose an hour of family time to communicate in any way except spoken speech? If you want to make it a bit trickier, can you do this without using pen and paper?

For me, and hundreds like me, this is my reality.  This is AAC – Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

If you try my challenge in public, I can guarantee that people will view you differently.  If you are a child most people will assume you only have the understanding of a toddler, if you are an adult I expect most people avoid talking to you at all.

This month I am continuing to try to break down the assumptions that yoke non-verbal children.  Yesterday, I spoke to 300 trainee teachers at the University of the West of England, co-presenting with Sarah for Teach Us Too.  My prayer is that my book and Teach Us Too will make a difference so that all children are taught to read and write regardless of their label.

As you will have discovered if you did my challenge, literacy is the key to being able to say exactly what you want.  For non-verbal children literacy is the key to unlocking our voice.

In the comments below let me know how you got on with my challenge.

UWE October 2018 2



Sir Michael – the Master Storyteller

Yesterday, my sisters and I had the privilege of seeing our names in a book – and no, I haven’t written another book already!  Back in April this year Sir Michael Morpurgo wrote and asked if he could dedicate his book, Grandpa Christmas to the three of us – if that was ok with us.  Of all the questions I have been asked, this was the easiest to answer.  The unbridled joy as my sisters and I danced to the equal honour; not just for me with them tagging along, but all of us on the page sharing the moment together.

Today, my literary hero turns the grand age of 75.  I haven’t got a book to offer him, so instead I have written him this poem as a token of my love and admiration for my friend, who has taught me so much.

Happy birthday Sir Michael!


Sir Michael – the Master Storyteller

Painting with words on the canvas of my mind,

Scenes from your dreams become my visions alive,

Landscapes explored, travelling historical times,

Tales of animals’ gentle spirits released,

Horrors of war from the champion of peace,

My master of stories your friendship bequeathed.

 Sir Michael Morpurgo_Moment