Category Archives: Uncategorized

Be a Field Service Engineer with a difference

We are currently recruiting for field service engineers.  This is not your average field servicing job though – this post is rewarding and challenging in equal measure. In addition, there are routes to personal development including working towards registration as a clinical technologist within the NHS.

These roles are key to our team’s ability to install, service,  maintain and repair the communication aids and environmental controls that our team provides to individuals with severe disabilities.

You will have to have a strong electronic/computing engineering background and the ability to communicate with a range of people and have an excellent ability to fault find and fix problems. You will also enjoy being a part of a supportive and dynamic team.

Read more about the job on the NHS Jobs page.  You can also see more about what we do on our website.


Communication in ASD: AAC, Research & Practice Study Day – 20 April 2016

Helen Robinson, one of the team’s Speech and Language Therapists, will be presenting at the “Communication in ASD: AAC, Research and Practice” study day on 20th April in London.

Before joining the team, Helen spent many years supporting non-verbal children with ASD and has a keen interest in the evidence and clinical practice regarding the use of AAC with this client group.

Helen spent two years looking into the use of the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) approach and will present the findings of two projects which aimed to  identify criteria for children who are likely to be successful with the LAMP approach

Also speaking on the day are:

  • Dr Elaine Clarke, Great Ormond St Hospital
  • Darryl Morgan, The ridgeway Community School
  • Dr Greg Pasco, King’s College London

For further information and to book a place, click here booking form

‘Access to Assistive Technology’ – The Access Group National Training Event

On 12-13th November myself (Jenny) and Stewart, Occupational Therapists (OTs) with the Barnsley Assistive Technology team attended the Access Group National Training Event ‘Access to Assistive Technology’ at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney, London.

The Access group consists of a group of individuals working in, or with an interest in Electronic Assistive Technology, (including Augmentative Communication and Environmental Control), with a specific focus on accessing this technology for those with disabilities. The group consists of mainly OTs, but is open to other professionals working in the speciality also. The group is primarily a national online group, but with regular meet ups to share knowledge and best practice, including a two day training event every other year.  Details of the group and how to join their email list can be found on their website:

Due to OTs being a new addition to the Barnsley Team this year, this was the first time that the team had sent OTs to this event and we both found it a great opportunity to meet and network with others working in this specialist area.  The two days mainly consisted of sessions presented by group members on a variety of topics, but also offered a valuable opportunity for discussion and sharing of knowledge around accessing assistive technology.

Sessions were varied and included, amongst others: developments in computer access; functional vision assessment; the use of technology for profound and multiple learning disabilities; accessible gaming; and considerations in low tech AAC.

Accessible Gaming

The sessions by the charity Special Effect   and Geoff Harbach of Lepmis provided a great insight in to the adaptation of gaming consoles and controllers to enable individuals with limited movement to access gaming.  This is something that we are regularly asked about in regards to environmental control, but as a team have previously had limited experience in implementing AT in this area.  As a result it was really interesting to see the work and devices/access methods that these two organisations use and specialise in to facilitate, what is for some people, such an important and meaningful occupation.

Integrated access

Another session of note was ‘The Highs and Lows of Integrated Access’ by Jodie Rogers, OT from East Kent Adult CAT Service. This discussed experiences of the provision of integrated assistive technology, including integrated AAC and EC devices and integrating AAC devices with power wheelchair control.  This session focused on the need for strong communication between different services (AAC, EC and wheelchair services amongst others), highlighting the difficulty of jointly providing the increasing range of devices that do both AAC and EC across respective services. On a positive note, this did emphasise how well this works for the Barnsley team as both specialised EC and AAC services for the region are both provided from the same service, with team members experienced in both specialist areas.  In terms of funding, communication and seamless working, this does indeed make things much easier for the team, however it also highlighted the challenge for our team to be knowledgeable and up to date regarding both EC and AAC products and the implementation of these.

As a team however, we regularly have visits and demonstrations by various EAT companies to update us on their products.  We are coming to the end of our current run of these type of events, but we will likely be looking to book in some further sessions in 2016.  See our website for further details of training and sign up to our email list – selecting ‘training and education’ to receive information about future training events.

A positive event

All sessions were a great way for the group to share experiences and knowledge and discuss devices, software and approaches for facilitating access to EAT.  Thanks go to the AT team at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability for hosting the event and to the members of the Access group for organising and presenting.

Barnsley AT Team Training review-Your chance to influence the training we offer!

Part of our role as a specialised service for Augmentative Communication and Environmental Control is to support local services through training. We launched a new training curriculum earlier this year and have now completed our fist cycle. We are taking this opportunity to review the training we provide so that we can make sure we are offering what professionals from across the region require, in a way which is both effective and accessible.
We have written a short survey to gather the views of professionals across the region. You do not have to have attended any of our training to participate.You can complete the survey here
If you would like to review the training on offer before answering the questions you can access our curriculum here
Please feel free to share this with any colleagues working within the field of Assistive Technology!

Learning about electronic assistive technology!

We have just finished another round of our local professional training courses. These are designed to help local professionals to identify and refer people who may benefit from electronic assistive technology such as communication aids or environmental controls.  Importantly they also aim to help local professionals in supporting individuals in the community who use this technology.

Training in action

Anyway, the feedback from the sessions was good and we will plan in further dates for next year. We will publish these  here and on the training page of our website.

As well as these courses, we will be running the Elklan – ‘Supporting Children and Adults using AAC’ course in Early Jan, if you are interested in attending this, please get in touch.

If there are any other courses that you feel we should offer please also get in touch.

Training in action

Typing with a numberpad (Multi Tap)

Simon Judge on AT

I’ve a client who uses a bluetooth NumberPadNumerpad keyboard (with a keyguard) to move the mouse (using mouse keys) and have been trying to find a good solution for her to type (another post coming with more details). Long story short, i’ve just setup a ‘Multi-Tap’ style typing setup for her, and am hopeful this will work.

Mobile Phone NumberpadMulti Tap is the mobile phone style input method that you used to use when you first had a phone with only a numberpad.  With this method you press each key a number of times according to what letter you want – so, for example, the ABC key (number 8) you press it once for A, twice for B, three times for C… [ out of interest – there are some this good comparison papers such as this from 2004 (when people used these things!) as well as Scott Mackensie’s book and lots…

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