You’re invited to our annual AAC Picnic!

October is AAC Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is “Dare
to LEAD”. To follow this theme, the theme of this year’s AAC Voice
picnic is “What’s your superpower?”. The picnic will be a day of
fun, including mask-making, vision board creating, playing boccia,
as well as an opportunity to chat with other AAC users and their
families.

When:  11am-3pm, Saturday 20 October 2018.

Bobbin HeadWhere: Bobbin Head Picnic Shelter. For more information about
how to find our picnic area: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
venues/the-station-picnic-shelter

Cost: Free. Please note: entry to the National Park costs $12. AAC
users may be eligible for an exemption card for NSW National
parks. For more information: https://
www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees/discount-and-concession-
passes

What to bring: Bring your superpower to share with others! Also
please bring your own picnic gear and a plate of food to share.
Drinks will be provided.

RSVP: Please let us know if you are coming by email to admin@aacvoice.org.au by Saturday
6 October.

Request for proposal — Coordination project

Request for proposal — Coordination project

Project overview

AAC Voice Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation established to support and advocate for people who have little or no speech and use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

AAC Voice is seeking a contractor over a six-month period to assist in coordinating and promoting its activities to achieve these outcomes:

  1. Raising the public profile of AAC Voice
  2. Raising funds to further the work of AAC Voice
  3. Coordinating AAC Voice activities to support and advocate for people who use AAC
  4. Increasing the membership of AAC Voice.

We envisage that to meet these outcomes, the contractor will attend AAC Voice Committee meetings and work collaboratively with the AAC Voice Committee on tasks such as:

  • promoting AAC Voice in the community
  • answering inquiries through email, website and social media
  • promoting AAC Voice membership and process applications
  • updating the AAC Voice website
  • managing social media – Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms
  • coordinating volunteers
  • coordinating events
  • writing letters to advocate for people who use AAC
  • preparing submissions for funding
  • developing new project proposals and plans.

Scope of work and deliverables

The project budget available is about $7000. We envisage that the project will be delivered over six months, and that work required will be at least six hours per week.

Deliverable outcomes are: Measured by:
1.  Raised public profile of AAC Voice Increased social media activity and following; other evidence of public engagement.
2.  Increased funds to further the work of AAC Voice Successful grant applications; increased donations.
3.  AAC Voice activities to support and advocate for people who use AAC. Successful AAC Voice picnic in October 2018,

successful seminar in November 2018.

4.  Increased membership of AAC Voice Increased membership.

Budget and payments

As a contractor, you will be responsible for setting your hours and methods of work. You will provide your own place of work and tools of work and will meet the expenses that are incidental to your work.

Specifically not included in the scope of work:

  • bulk printing, poster printing, or the cost of production of promotional materials
  • expenses (beyond your personal expenses) required to hold meetings or events
  • other expenses arising from the development of new projects.

If additional expenses arise that are beyond the scope of work, these must be agreed with the AAC Voice Committee before they are incurred.

AAC Voice will pay you for this project in response to your invoices. Your proposal document should indicate what schedule of payments you propose. We suggest that a maximum of 6 payments over 6 months would be appropriate.

Deadline for proposals

Written proposals should be submitted by 5pm on Thursday 25 August. The AAC Voice will respond to proposals and conduct interviews with shortlisted applicants to select a contractor. We hope to complete the selection process by the end of August.

Mentoring for AAC users – an opinion

AAC Voice member, Fiona Bridger, has recently written an opinion piece outlining the mentoring and support needed by people with communication disabilities and people who use AAC. It is a great read, and highlights the importance of being surrounded by a strong supportive network.

Read her blog post here

AAC Voice’s new coordinator

In June 2018,Louisa Wilson we welcomed Louisa Wilson as the new coordinator of AAC Voice. Louisa has recently completed a Bachelor of Science–Psychology at Macquarie University, and is hoping to begin a Masters of Speech Language Pathology at Sydney University next year. Louisa has worked as a disability support worker for over a year, is passionate about disability and ensuring everyone’s voices are heard.

Sadly, Louisa will be unable to continue in the role in future, and AAC Voice is looking for a contractor who can take over the project. See Request for proposal — Coordination project for more information.

The new NDIS – an opinion

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a noble idea, but so far has not been as effective as intended, writes AAC Voice member Fiona Bridger in a recent blog post.

Fiona sees problems in the way the NDIS planners assess the support needs of people with disabilities.

Fiona is an AAC user with an active interest in public policy. Read her article on her blog, Silver Lining.

AAC Voice encourages all AAC users to express their opinions on the NDIS and other matters that affect their lives. Let us know what you are doing or thinking, and we’ll do our bit to pass on the word.

Big screen viewing of AGOSCI webinar on Minspeak

On 15 March 2018, AAC Voice hosted a screening of Siobhan Daley’s AGOSCI Webinar on Minspeak. The event was well attended and it was great to see a number of new faces.

Siobhan gave a very candid presentation about her Minspeak journey. Minspeak is an iconic language that uses two or three icons to make a word. Being a Minspeak user myself, I appreciated the challenges Siobhan talked about in learning the language. I am still learning after many years and I am part of the group of ladies that Siobhan referred to who have Minspeak competitions on some weekends. Siobhan always wins.

Although I think Minspeak is a great system, it is important to acknowledge that it is not for everyone. You have to have a great deal of self motivation to learn the system. At the event it was evident that we are still lacking speech pathology support to learn any AAC system, let alone Minspeak.

Some of our members are over 65 and therefore do not qualify for the NDIS yet they still require speech pathology to help them to reach their communication potential. This support is currently out of reach for them. It is not right to stop people communicating after they turn 65. Communication is basic human right for all human beings.

I would like to sincerely thank AGOSCI for their permission for us to screen the webinar and Liberator for supplying the snacks for us to enjoy while we watched.

Fiona Given
AAC Voice President

AAC Voice Picnic: Saturday 14 October 2017 – Bobbin Head, Sydney

AAC Voice Picnic: Saturday 14 October 2017 – Bobbin Head, Sydney

The 2017 picnic was the biggest yet held by AAC Voice, with AAC users and their allies from all over Sydney and a large contingent who came down from Newcastle for the day.

The picnic provided a great networking opportunity for AAC users, parents and friends. It was especially nice to welcome new AAC Voice members who came along to their first event- we acknowledge how unnerving this can be, and we look forward to seeing you at future AAC Voice events.

Bobbin Head was a beautiful location for the picnic and we are planning to hold the 2018 picnic there again.

A huge thank you to AGOSCI and the volunteer Speech Pathology students from Sydney University for assisting with the smooth running of the picnic day.