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

Bookings essential via the Registration Form. 

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

Bookings essential via the Registration Form. 

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.