The Organising Committee invites you to participate in the pre-conference workshops on offer at AGOSCI 2019 Conference. All pre-conference workshops will take place on  Wednesday 28 August 2019 at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre. 

Bookings essential through the Registration Form.

Workshop One: Clinical decision making in symbol communication aids – a practical workshop

Full Day Workshop 

$220 per person including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. 

Support workers will also receive specified catering.

This workshop will be based on the findings from a recently funded UK research project (Identifying appropriate symbol communication aids for children who are non-speaking: enhancing clinical decision making’, NIHR:HS&DR number: 14/70/153).

Delegates will be offered an in-depth review of the findings of the research and the potential implications of these findings. The I-ASC Explanatory model was developed as a theoretical interpretation of the research findings. The model offers a way of conceptualising the complex elements of decision making in symbol communication aid assessment.

Delegates will gain first hand insights into:

  • the I-ASC Explanatory Model as a way of conceptualising assessment
  • the on-line tools and resources developed from the research findings
  • the practicalities of using the freely available tools and resources.

The workshop is open to AAC users, family members and professionals. Although the research focused on children and young people, we have already received feedback that the resources developed have application to adults.

Presented by Janice Murray 

Janice Murray is Professor of Communication Disability & AAC at Manchester Metropolitan University (United Kingdom). Finishing her PhD in 2001, she has been Head of Speech & Language Therapy and is currently the Communication Disability Research Centre lead within the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care. She is a former Chair of Communication Matters ( ), and of ISAAC Council ( ), and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists in 2016. Janice is a founding member of an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology formed in 2017.

She has worked in practice as a specialist Speech and Language Therapist (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). She teaches undergraduate and post-graduate students in her professional discipline, including topics on cerebral palsy, atypical language acquisition, speech processing, and literacy. She is currently working on several research projects concerning aided language development, literacy & AAC and is Chief Investigator for a project on clinical decision making in AAC (NIHR HS&DR: Project 14/70/153: Identifying appropriate symbol communication aids for children who are non-speaking: enhancing clinical decision making).

Workshop Two: Is there a better way? – Exploring the role of communication for people with complex needs and behaviour that challenges

Full Day Workshop

$220 per person including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea

Support workers will also receive specified catering.

Awareness of issues relating to challenging behaviour is growing around Australia especially as the NDIS and the Quality and Safeguarding Framework are being rolled out. However, thinking about the reasons why individuals with complex communication needs can behave in challenging ways, and the best ways to support, continues to be complex to negotiate. Families, schools and services can often struggle to respond to the needs of individuals with many individuals continuing to experience challenging behaviour despite everyone’s best efforts.

This workshop will explore the common factors experienced by people with a disability, their families and support network which often lead to the continuation of complex issues and behaviours which interfere with the person’s quality of life and wellbeing. With an increasing focus on planning and goal attainment, how communication support and skill acquisition are approached is critical in creating sustainable positive outcomes. It is well acknowledged that engaging in behaviours that challenge is a form of communication, but what does this actually mean in terms of understanding the reasons for behaviours and how we respond? We will address how different perceptions of behaviour functions will influence how we view the role of communication and therefore our approach to communication support. The workshop may be helpful for people supporting individuals where a number of approaches have been tried, and failed, to address behaviour.

Presented by

 Jaquie Mills

Jaquie Mills is the parent of four sons, two with disabilities, with her eldest having complex communication needs. Jaquie has worked in a wide range of areas related to the support of people with complex communication needs and challenging behaviour. She developed the ‘Is There a Better Way?’ program which is now in its 5th year of helping families, schools and services to understand challenging behaviour and its relationship with communication rights. Jaquie managed the development of the Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia which is now in its fifth year. Jaquie facilitates a weekly communication and literacy group for adults with complex communication needs, and with them in 2018 developed a series of resources to support people with CCN to engage in their NDIS planning process. Jaquie is also managing director of Microboards Australia, an organisation which develops microboards – a group of committed friends, family and community who support persons with a disability to plan and achieve the life they want to have.

In 2016 Jaquie received the WA Community Citizen of the Year award for her years supporting people with disability and disadvantaged children, and in 2017 she was a finalist in 2017 West Australian of the Year awards in recognition of her work developing the microboard model and supporting people with complex communication needs and behaviours which can be challenging.

Debbie Lobb 

Initially a Speech Pathologist, Debbie has worked with people with disability for over 25 years. During that time she has held many roles including AAC specialist, chair of WA branch for Makaton/Key Word Sign, Autism assessor and specialist. However the majority of Debbie’s career has been in the area of working with families and service providers who support people with complex behavioural needs. She has been an instrumental leader in the development of WA sector wide collaboration for progressive service approaches and supports for people with complex needs and behaviour that challenges us. In addition to her consultative and training role across the sector, Debbie has forged strong partnerships with family leaders who have been instrumental in creating system change for people with complex needs and behaviour that challenges.  Debbie is currently the course developer for the  behaviour support unit as part of the Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs.


Workshop Three: Creative Movement with Melinda Smith

Half Day Workshop – $150.00 per person including afternoon tea

1:00pm – 4:00pm

Attend both Workshops 3 & 4 for a discounted rate of $220 per person. 

Support workers will also receive specified catering.

Creative Movement with Melinda Smith

Join Melinda Smith on a creative journey through an imaginative world of movement, dance, visualisation, creative play, music and mindfulness.

This workshop is for everyone, whether you are a person with limited movement, AAC user, a teacher, therapist or parent.  Melinda will take you through techniques of mindfulness, relaxation, stretching, movement and dance, set against the backdrop of her travels through Africa.  It will include highlights from her documentary film collaboration with Dr Dianne Reid, “Nothing But Bones In The Way,” and performance collaboration with photographer Nicole Tsourlenes, “The Colour of Time.”

Come along and be inspired to explore what your mind and body are capable of. 

Presented by Melinda Smith

Melinda Smith comes from a professional background of mentoring and consultancy in the disability and education sectors. Her work promotes the rights of people with physical disability and communication impairment, with a focus on health and wellbeing outcomes of dance and movement.

Melinda has always had a passion for visual and performing arts and sees participation in this field as essential for the wellbeing of individuals. She believes that the creative process is intuitive and vital, regardless of age or disability. She is recognized around Australia for her work as a trainer and mentor for people with diverse physical needs and is currently working at Melbourne’s Cerebral Palsy Education Centre in their Physical Education and Movement programme.

In 2016 Melinda began a collaborative dance practice with Dr Dianne Reid, elements of which feature in Dr Reid’s 2016 Doctoral thesis undertaken at Deakin University, entitled Dance Interrogations – the Body as creative interface in “Live Screen/Dance.”  Their work also features in Dr Reid’s documentary “Nothing But Bones In The Way.”   The next phase of Melinda’s work sees her collaborating with Melbourne’s Women’s Circus, where she is incorporating aerial apparatus in her creative practice.

Melinda lives with cerebral palsy, which has necessitated the use of powered wheelchairs and speech generating devices. 


Workshop Four: Developing romantic connections for people who have specific communication needs

Half Day Workshop – $150.00 per person including morning tea

9:00am – 12:00pm

Attend both Workshops 3 & 4 for a discounted rate of $220 per person. Includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. 

Support workers will also receive specified catering.

Developing romantic connections for people who have specific communication needs

This half-day pre-conference workshop aims to support people with communication disabilities to talk about their experiences and learn from the experiences of peers and gain new strategies in expressing their own desires in relation to romantic, sexuality and self-identity. The pre-conference workshop will combine academic research and practical application through participatory activities, and opportunities to share stories. starting with a brief outline of historical oppression of natural development and identity as “the eternal child”, the workshop aims to keep the conversation going within this niche sector within the AAC community.

Learning outcomes

• Understanding of historical oppression

• Strategies for people supporting young adults who use AAC in developing healthy relationships and understanding that almost always everyone experiences heartbreak, and that is natural human evolution.

• Natural safeguards/strategies that can be implemented to lessen vulnerabilities

• Connections made through these workshops are often also the biggest learning most memorable outcomes for many participants

Presented by: Lisa Lehmann and Darryl Sellwood

Lisa and Darryl have discussed running a workshop together for quite some time when AGOSCI invited them to collaborate on a workshop, they both were very keen to accept. This dynamic duo will be one to watch, as they hope to develop more workshops on this

and other more in-depth training around relationships, sexuality, and safeguarding. 

Darryl and Lisa are AAC users themselves and are well respected within the disability field and beyond; Lisa and Darryl have discussed running a workshop together for quite some time. 

Darryl Sellwood, a PhD candidate, who has carved out a name for himself through his research as a respected academic and is due to gain his PhD in September this year. Darryl has presented his findings both nationally and internationally about his research, periodically throughout the whole process; thus within the academic society, and communication access community the final results of Darryl’s research are highly anticipated. Dazzling Darryl will soon be Dr dazzling Darryl Sellwood.

Lisa Lehmann who has an interest in sexual health and social justice underpinned by Social Role Valourisation (SRV) theory. Lisa has only been involved in the AAC community since receiving the outstanding consumer lecture at ISAAC in 2012 on ‘intimacy as a

human right’, from there her journey and as she describes it, as ;finding My tribe’, in the sector has given opportunities like being invited to run a webinar on social media and people with disabilities: building online networks to enhance community engagement(2013). Lisa then presented a pre-conference workshop at ISAAC in 2014 on relationships and AAC, then at AGOSCI 2015, Lisa was invited to present a pre-conference workshop on sexuality and AAC. Lisa is a single Mum, human rights advocate, fashionista & shoe lover, relationships and sex educator, and an entrepreneur. Her approach is interactive and challenging the mainstream media portrayals thru arts, activism using social media as a platform to channel her passion for advocacy and representing her peers who use AAC, and marginalised groups in society.


Register for AGOSCI 2019 Pre-Conference Workshops

Want to attend the AGOSCI 2019 Pre-Conference Workshops? Click here to access the Pre-Conference Workshop registration form.

Pre - Conference Workshops

 Easy English Document for information on the AGOSCI 2019 Pre-Conference Workshops.