Friday, 5 December 2008

5 Dec: A busy day

morning: movie project with LD Parliament and Engage TV.
afternoon: focus group meeting for 'People and Places' art contest.
evening: 'The Xmas Factor' panto workshop with Durham Area Disability Leaisure Group.
night: movie editing

tomoro: panto workshop all day

now: programme some ideas into my talker for tomoro? or sleep?

5 Dec: Lost in Transition

I put a movie of some of my Transition PowerPoint on YouTube:

Thursday, 4 December 2008

4 Dec: MSOV on YouTube

Not the final cut, but some footage from our Many Stories, One Voice workshops. Putting picture in picture is a new skill.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

26 Nov: Engage TV and LD Parl project

First day of an 8-week documentary and drama project for members of the Learning Disabilities Parliament with Engage TV. I'll write about it sometime after tomorrow's session.

25 Nov: Micro-Enterprises

Guy Turnbull from Rapid Enterprise Developments, RED, did a 2-day workshop for people with learning disabilities to learn how to start up their own business enterprises. Me and Robert went together and the other people their we knew from the 29 Days Festival, the Stay Up Late campaign, the Learning Disabilities Parliament and Innovations.

24 Nov: PowerPoint VOCA: Success!

PowerPoint Voice Output Communication Aids for 20, 30, 50, 77 and 112 high frequency words. Some squares have 2 or more words on them so really there are 26, 36, 60, 93 and 143 words.

Terry edited graphics of Gail Van Tatenhove's Pixon series of communication boards by splitting any square with two or more words to look like 2 or more buttons. We used my Pathfinder to add sound for each word to the slide with 143 words AND POWERPOINT DIDN'T SLOW DOWN THIS TIME!!! As soon as you click on a word PowerPoint speaks it!

In Gail's 1 year Pixon Project using these boards with 24 people with severe cognitive disabilities 2/24 learned over 100 core words, 8/24 learned 76 to 100 core words, 10/24 learned 51 to 75 core words, 3/24 learned 26 to 50 core words, and 1/24 learned 1 to 25 core words.

See my album 'Pixon Boards' on FaceBook. Here is a shot of the 143 board before we swapped the speaker icons for transparent gifs.

19: Nov: C Passports

After the movie project we went for Gemma and we worked on our Communication Passports at my house. We are making PowerPoints about ourselves that will print out at 6 x 4 and help people to communicate with us directly instead of talking about us to our carers.

19 Nov: Campaign Me

Me and Robert and Andrew and about 20 others had our first day on the Engage TV project 'campaign me' at Percy Hedley Day Centre. Over 10 weeks we will plot and plan, make leaflets and posters and a movie, and get an Arts Award for it.

Steve Carolan from Shoot Yer Mouth Off is working with us.

Monday, 17 November 2008

14 Nov: LD Parl: UNCRPD

Today I gave a presentation about the United Nations Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities at the Learning Disabilities Service User Parliament.

We copied and pasted parts of the Rehabilitation International presentation on the Convention into a text-to-speech programme, and parts of Articles 21 & 24. I used the same programme to read out the petition letter before Members signed it, ready to send to Gordon Brown and David Miliband.

About the Convention excerpts are in one movie and reading and signing the letter is in the other on YouTube: and

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Children in Need

Last night we used the free programme Text-to-Wav to make MP3 files for all the words on our communication board and inserted them into the PowerPoint. We aren't going to swap the little yellow speakers for transparent gifs this time. there's no point. PowerPoint really slows down with this number of sound files on a slide, even tho each one is only 10 kb and the overall file size is only 1.94 MB.

Back to the drawing board!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

7 Nov: 11 Million Takeover Day

We took over our favourite corner of Clayport Library and used the big screen to share a problem we are having with PowerPoint's response time in one of our voice output communication aid slideshows. the video is on youtube:

quality of picture and sound is naff. how to get the best out of youtube? another lesson.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

20 Oct: PowerPoint Communication Aid

Here's a screenshot of 340 High Frequency Words on a PowerPoint slide that will speak each word when clicked on (after we copy and paste the recordings from the 2-slide version we made first).

We didn't like it when we couldn't see half of the words at any one time on the 2-slide version, so we reduced them to fit 1 slide. These small words and large number of words on a page won't suit everyone's accessibility needs, but we need to see this set of words all at once for a project we are working on.

Gail Van Tatenhove recommends having all core words in view at once, and we have copied the colour-coding and word arrangement from her Colour Word Board.

The screenshot was taken in full screen SlideShow view. If you can't see it all at once press F11 to make the Menu bars go away. Press F11 again to bring them back.

All 330 words from the Marvin Study are on the slide and we only had to add another dozen to make sure that the Dolch top 200 reading words and the AAC Interview top 100 core words were included.

Note: In a language study with more participants or of longer duration there would hardly be any nouns at all (pale orange words, last two columns). The nouns in the Marvin list are not words that we would all say every day. They are the nouns specific to the few hours of conversation recorded in a study of 6 3-4 years old pre-schoolers in 3 classrooms.

PowerPoint 2007 has a Format option 'Change Picture'. Microsoft's little yellow speakers can be replaced with transparent gifs and recorded sounds can be right on top of something without blotting it out. We found this out while narrating the PowerPoint stories we wrote for Many Stories, One Voice.

Both stories have graphics showing around 80 Toddler's highest frequency words (Banajee, Van Tatenhove) so we turned them into voice output communication aids:


Wednesday, 22 October 2008

22 Oct: MSOV: Ferryhill

Today we read to students at Jake's school, Broom Cottages in Ferryhill.

Jake used his communication aid to introduce himself and us, then he used ReadPlease to read out his poem about Jigsaw Puzzles.

It was cool that the ReadPlease programme only covered the text of Jake's poem and we could still see the border of photos and painting of Jake in the Word document behind it.

ReadPlease will carry on talking in the background even when you have a PowerPoint slideshow taking up the whole screen, but we do like to see ReadPlease because it highlights each word as it reads and this helps our learning.

21 Oct: My knee!!!!!

Terry and Andrew were downstairs printing out MSOV bookmarks and stories from the Collection for tomorrow's reading and I was upstairs when my knee cap rolled around the side of my leg - glad they heard me shout - they tried to hop me over to my bed and somehow it went back into place by itself - it's a bit sore and swollen.

20 Oct: MSOV: Stanley

We read our narrated Powerpoint stories to the Special Needs group at Stanley library, and read more using the ReadPlease text reader.

We showed everyone the Many Stories, One Voice Online Writing Collection of over 100 stories, essays and poems written by people who cannot use speech as their main way to communicate. The authors are aged between 6 - 65 and from 13 countries.

We all wrote especially for ISAAC International AAC* Awareness Month this October, when people are reading aloud in libraries around the world, using AAC and computer technology.

Here's the link to the MSOV Collection:

Check it out!
Our stories are on this page:

16 Oct: MSOV: Spennymoor

Today we read to Robert's class at his school, The Oaks in Spennymoor.

15 Oct: LDP: Sedgefield Locality

Sedgefield Locality meeting of the Learning Disabilities Parliament.

I showed some slides I made to introduce everyone to the CRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites). On the slides:

1. Some text copied from the Rehabilitaion International PowerPoint about the CRPD, and
2. Articles 21 & 24 of the Convention.

I used a free text-reader programme called ReadPlease to read out all the words on the slides. All I had to do was copy and paste the text from PowerPoint into ReadPlease and press Play.

Before this we had to work for hours storing everything on my communication aid in advance.

We are going to work on making CRPD information accessible for everyone to understand and discuss by the next meeting.

10 Oct: Engage TV

Charly emailed to say they got the funding to make a documentary with me! it will be three minutes and has to be done by February. More on that later.

Engage are also starting a year long Media Skills course with Gateshead College, NCFE certificate. People with learning disabilities will be working on 3 professional films, learning by work placement and working on all aspects of media from camera to performing.

11 Oct: MSOV: Durham

We read our stories to students from St Hild's at Durham Clayport library.

7 Oct: MSOV: Chilton

Our first for AAC Awareness Month was at Chilton Library.

The Mayor and Town Clerk, and Mrs Bell's class from the junior school came to hear our stories.

7 Oct: LD Parliament

Our first meeting since the swear in 3 September.

At 'Any other Business' I asked if the Parliament would petition the UK government to Ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities.

It does not become law for us in the UK until they do.

I gave them CD from Rehabilitation International with a PowerPoint about the Convention and a template letter that we could send.
There was a lot of interest and it was agreed to talk about it at the next Locality meeting.

28 Sep & 1 Oct: MSOV

Getting ready for our reading sessions in October.

26 Sep: Bruce Baker

We got 2 hours of video of Bruce to add to the CM and Montreal footage, edit and get on You Tube, still going places and doing things and collecting even more video to work on...

24 Sep: Engage TV

Went to Newcastle for a camera shoot with Engage - we are in a shortlist of three projects for making a documentary.

21-23 Sep: Communication Matters

I'll write up about our weekend with Communication Matters soon - getting some pics from the video took, for this post and some others I'm just making space for now.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

3 Sep: I'm an MP!

I am an elected Member of on the County Durham Learning Disability Parliament. I am one of the MPs for the Sedgefield Locality. I was sworn in at the Parliament's first meeting for this term at County Durham Council Chambers on 3 September.

Some MPs will join the Partnership Board, some will serve on the Regional Forum, and others will become Ministers for the many issues that affect people with learning disabilities. We will discuss our roles at locality meetings later this month.

I am most interested in asking support from the Parliament to:

1. Persuade the UK government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

2. Campaign for the right to literacy lessons for disabled people of all ages and ability levels.

3. Campaign for the right to meet an AAC Role Model for everyone with communication disabilities, their carers and the professionals who work with them.

4. Make sure that everyone who finds communicating by speech difficult gets a communication board with the everyday core words that we all use for most of what we say and write, and other AAC materials like a communication passport (a little book with essential information about the person) and talking mats (for consulting and decision making).

I have loads of special information on how to use the boards to facilitate language development, participation and inclusion. It's all on the video I brought home from the ISAAC Conference in Montreal in August.

22-24 Aug: Solfest

We had a wicked Bank Holiday weekend at Solfest. I will post a short video clip soon.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

12-30 Aug: DADLG Fun

12 August: Snow Tubing at Whickham
13 August: Pirate BBQ on Prince Bishop Boat, Durham
19 August: Flamingo Land
30 August: Diggerland

These were all great days out with my friends from Durham Area Disability Leisure Group. My stills camera is broken but I do have video clips from each day that I can post or grab frames from when we can get to editing them.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

9 Aug: Back Home

Been home a few days now - with 13 hours of video tape to make running lists for, so that we can match the footage from both cameras - and I've been on two days ot with DADLG in between - snow tubing at Whickham Falls, and on a Pirates BBQ on the Prince Bishop boat.

My stills camera broke on the first day at Montreal so all the pictures I have will have to be grabbed from the video footage. We have done Thursday to Monday so far and my PA, Craig is putting them on FaceBook with me tonight. We'll do a few each day.

I'm not sure how you will find my FaceBook, but my profile name is Michael Reed, and I'm in the Newcastle network.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

1-9 August: ISAAC: Montreal

Here I am, in the Chinatown area of DownTown Montreal, a French-speaking Canadian City.

Our hotel is the Holiday Inn, right across the street from the Palais des Congres where the ISAAC Biennial Conference is on from Monday 4 August to Friday 7 August.  

Our taxi driver told us that just five minutes up the road from our hotel was a free music festival - there are stages set up on the streets for bands and DJs, and we had a great time there on Thursday night and Friday.

On Saturday we watched China's display for the International fireworks competition in Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Since Monday we are at the conference - we are filming it so we can share the highlights and make an AAC documentary. We are just back from the President's reception. We will be on a Canadian night out with ISAAC tomorrow night. We have filmed some of the workshops, and hope that some of AAC's leading lights will speak on camera for us the next two days.

Back soon...

28 July: DADLG: Batman

Met up with friends from Durham Area Disability Leisure Group at the Gala Theatre to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight. Thoroughly enjoyed it. And went for a meal at the Bishop's Mill after.

We were going to stay out all day and have a session at Clayport Library with our story writing team, but, with only a couple of days to go to my Montreal trip, we thought we'd better get home and work towards that.

18 July: 1 Voice: Transition

This year's teenage project was called 'Lost in Transition'. We had workshops, gave our own presentations, were filmed by Scope as part of their BT funded 'No Voice, No Choice' campaign, had a great time with friends that we only see once a year.

We hope we can get together again and work some more on Transition and becoming AAC Role Models, maybe even make a joint presentation.

24 June: DADLG: Quads BBQ

Always worth getting a bit dusty and wet for, the DADLG Quad bikes and BBQ night - good friends, good fun, good grub - will upload pics when I'm back in the UK.

Friday, 1 August 2008

20-22 June: Headlines Adventure

I had a great weekend with Headlines teenagers and families at the Pioneer Centre in Shropshire.

We climbed, abseiled, built rafts, went indoor caving, outdoor swimming, and played some really funny games round the campfire. I will write more and post some pictures soon but I am abroad right now.

13 June: MSOV: The Stories

I got together with my friends 17 times between April and June, and we wrote 2 stories for the ISAAC Many Stories, One Voice writing contest.

Around 100 stories were received from around the world and they are all going online shortly after the MSOV press conference at the ISAAC Biennial Conference in Montreal 4 August.

Everyone will have from August to October to practice reading the online stories ready for the reading events in libraries in October.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

1 Voice Network Day: Sun 20 July

The weekend of 18 - 20 July is the 1 Voice teenager project and family network day.

This will be my last project with the 1 Voice teenagers as I am 18. I need to get good at communicating with my AAC so I can volunteer to help at future events.

If you use or would benefit from using a communication aid 1 Voice would love to hear from you. The website address is: Here is the Network Day flyer:

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Communication Matters Roadshow

Communication Matters Roadshow only comes to County Durham every 2 to 3 years, so this is a rare opportunity to learn about all the things that are available to help people with little or no speech or other physical disabilities that make communication and computer access difficult.

The CM Roadshow is for anyone who has an interest in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), users, potential users, family, carers, and all the professionals who work with people who have communication difficulties.

See you there!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

MSOV: 3 dates this week

Our next three story workshops are on the flyer:

I will give a talk about Many Stories, One Voice and some story writing tips.

We we can look at the story planning sheets and writing frames I have downloaded from the Internet, do some art to start designing our story characters, and decide if we want to use some story outlines for practice before we write our own stories.

If you miss any of these workshops, don't worry, we will be meeting at least once a week this month and will post the dates and venues here as soon as they are arranged.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Spring Break Activities

The Easter break was full and busy.

My talk at the Learning Disabilities Parliament on 10 April went really well. Adult Services want to put a video of my presentation on their website. We will edit it as soon as possible.

The middle weekend I went to the Holiday Inn at Coventry, to be with friends who have Apert Syndrome and other craniofacial conditions. Our group, Headlines, is 15 years old this year.

We went bowling and had a barn dance on Saturday, and a movie-making workshop on Sunday. In between times we went swimming in the hotel pool.

On Wednesday of the second week I went on a bush craft day with Durham Area Disability Leisure Group.

On the Tuesday and Thursday I got together with friends to do art and story planning workshops. We painted pictures of ourselves, ready to put labels on and start building character profiles.

We started a story-writing group.

I gave a talk on my Pathfinder on the Tuesday about the story-writing contest we are entering, and how to plan a story.

Some friends were away and couldn’t come. Let me know if you want to write stories with us, and I will invite you to our next story workshop.

We need to meet at least once a week between now and end of May, to write our stories.

We could meet on weekdays after school, or Saturdays.

We might meet at Chilton College, The Store at Dipton, Clayport Library, or ask if we can have a room at Gilesgate Community College or Framwellgate Secondary School.

We have booked a room at Clayport Library for Friday 9 May from 5pm to 7pm. We hope to meet before then, one day next week.

The lady we spoke with at Clayport today was very interested in our project and she is going to contact our school, other schools, and other libraries to help us promote the writing contest and the October reading events.

I'll keep you posted with whatever we arrange.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Story Planning Workshops

I am getting together with friends at Chilton Community College on Tuesday 15 April, and The Store at Dipton on Thursday 17 April, both days from 10 am - 3 pm, for art workshops and to design characters for our stories for Many Stories, One Voice.

Many Stories, One Voice is an international AAC and Literacy event for people who have communication difficulties and physical disabilities. People who would benefit from AAC.

AAC is the name for the many things that help people with communication difficulties, like talking boxes, computers, books and boards with letters and symbols, and sign language.

The writing Contest is part of International AAC Awareness Month in October, when people with speech, communication, and physical disabilites will read aloud stories, poems and essays from one big online collection, in libraries around the world.

Entries are welcome from all ages. People can work alone or in teams. They can have as much help as they need, including having their stories written for them.

The events are being arranged by the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, ISAAC,

There's a special website for Many Stories, One Voice events

Don't forget to phone me to let me know if you are coming on 15 April and 17 April.

Chilton is a big venue but places are limited at Dipton.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

ISAAC UK: The Power of Communication

If you know anyone who can't talk or write, please watch this movie.

You can view it online on Communication Matters (ISAAC UK) website:

The DVD of the movie is available from Communication Matters at the same link.

Communication Matters:
UK Chapter of ISAAC, the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

1 Voice: HMS 1 Voice

HMS 1 Voice: 1 Voice Under-13's Project
Norbrek Castle Hotel, Blackpool, November 2007

Every year, 1 Voice under 13's and their families, have a special weekend together at the Norbrek Castle hotel in Blackpool.

The children, who all use communication aids, put on a performance at the dinner disco, that they make in a day.

A team of volunteers, including older communication aid users, all help.

The theme for the November 2007 weekend was Under the Sea.

I went with Mum and Jake and Jake's Mum Dawn. It was Jake's first time.

I was a Role Model this year. I talked to the families, and helped in the video work shop.

I am busy editing footage from the weekend, to make the next 1 Voice DVD, and upload the movie to YouTube.

The movie will be called HMS 1 Voice, after the music track that the work shop leaders made for the performance, with messages from the children's communication aids.

Monday, 24 March 2008

1 Voice: Diana Award

The Diana Award Holder's Conference was at City University, London, 19th March.

Four of the teenagers from the Listen to Me DVD project were able to go and represent 1 Voice - Rosie, Pranav, Gregor and me.

Olympic Rower, Guin Batten, gave the key note speech, telling us how she was shocked not to be considered for the Olympic rowing team, after winning so many sporting events at school, county, and national level. They told her she was too small to row in the Olympics.

Guin left the country and rowed abroad. Sometimes she rowed on her own rather than in a team, to prove her skill without doubt. When she came back to England she got a place on the team for the next Olympics, and won England a silver medal.

Her message to us is that everybody should have a dream, our dreams are important, and we should never let anyone tell us that our dreams can't come true.

The rest of the day we moved around in groups to think about ideas for future award projects. We were all in different groups from each other, so we didn't get to plan our ideas together or with people from our area.

Luckily, before we left, I met a student from a school close to mine in Durham. I will write to him and his Head Teacher to ask if students from his school will help students from my school with their story writing and readings for the Many Stories, One Voice international event.

Gregor and me and our Mums went to Rosie's house for tea. Thank you Rosie and Anna. Pranav had another date. See you all in July!

It was a great day.

1 Voice: Listen to Me

1 Voice Teenagers' Project, Summer '07

Last summer, a group of teenagers from 1 Voice, including me, made a DVD called Listen to Me. Our movie is part documentary and part music track. The music track is on YouTube. You can view it at:

We talk about our experiences as communication aid users, and give our top tips on how to listen to us and communicate with us.

Listen to Me has been sent to people all over the world. It won us a Diana Award.

In November, Scope invited us to the launch of their No Voice, No Choice campaign at a large reception at Westminster, where John Bercow, MP, gave a talk about his Review of speech and language therapy throughout the UK.

The politicians watched our DVD, and Nadia read them her poem, With and Without a Voice.

The Teenagers' DVD project was funded with prize money from the Guardian and a grant from Awards for All. 1 Voice won the Guardian Award for Best Children's Charity in December 2006.

You can order a copy of Listen to Me from 1 Voice.

Call 0845 3307862, or email
Visit 1 Voice website to find out more about what we do:

AAC: Writing: Part 2

My Pathfinder types straight into Word, the Internet, PowerPoint, Writing With Symbols, and more.

In Writing With Symbols, the icons I need to press on my overlay, to say or write the words, appear above each word as I type.

Plain text can be pasted from another programme and it is automatically symbolised with my icons in seconds.

When I store new words on my Pathfinder, the Writing With Symbols word list must be updated or no icons will appear above the new words.

Symbolised text helps me learn to build good sentences. It helps me to say and write words on my Pathfinder that I can't read or spell yet. It reminds me where new words are stored on my Pathfinder.

Symbolised text takes up around six times as much space as plain text, but I don't need pages of symbolised text for everything I say.

Sometimes I just need a crib sheet or topic page for a set of words on a given subject. I know lots of words already, and I have a symbol dictionary for where 1,100 high frequency words are stored on my Pathfinder.

But it is good to deliver a piece of work in one go without me having to look up lots of words on topic pages or in my dictionary.

Once I have prepared a piece of work, I can ask Writing With Symbols, Word, or my Pathfinder to read aloud the whole piece, a paragraph at a time, a sentence at a time, or word by word.

Word by word communication is best for talking and writing. It lets me say and write whatever I want.

Reading word by word on my Pathfinder is very slow. There are better ways to use AAC for reading. I will post on AAC and reading another day.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

AAC: Writing: Part 1

I can write from my Pathfinder, to any computer with the free programme, AAC Keys, installed.

I connect my Pathfinder to my laptop with a serial cable. The Pathfinder acts as a keyboard. I can switch between laptop and Pathfinder to type, one doesn't stop the other from working.

I could remove the icon overlay from my Pathfinder and use its QWERTY keyboard.

But it's quicker to use the icon overlay. I can spell or choose whole words from there. Spelling is really slow compared to selecting whole words.

It takes 2 hits on the overlay to say or write most words. Icon one selects a word group, like adverb, conjunction, determiner. Icon two selects a word from that group.

Any of the icons could lead to a word group, and many do. But the few hundred words that make up 85% of everyone's sentences, spoken or written, belong to just a few word groups. Some of these word groups have only 6, 10, or 20 words.

The folder labels in the graphic above describe the essential core word groups. On my Pathfinder overlay, I press icons in exactly these positions to access these same word groups.

This is how I talk and write.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Many Stories, One Voice

Many Stories, One Voice is a worldwide AAC and Literacy event organised by the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, ISAAC. It has a writing contest part and reading events part.

Here's the writing contest flyer:

I'm going to build my characters and do some of my story planning on Monday afternoons in my Art class at Bishop Auckland College.

AAC means augmentative and alternative communication, the many ways to help people who can't speak or write, things like talking boxes, computers, books and boards with pictures or letters, sign language, and my Pathfinder communication aid.

If you want to know more about Many Stories, One Voice events, or about AAC and Literacy, visit

ISAAC is celebrating its second International AAC Awareness Month in October 2008.

The theme this year is AAC and Literacy. ISAAC invites people who use AAC (of all languages, ages and skill levels) to write a short story, poem, or essay. The stories, which will feature AAC, will be placed on the Internet in one big collection. The Many Stories, all written with the One Voice of AAC, are a way to promote the importance of literacy for people who use AAC, and provide a stepping stone for sharing their thoughts and beliefs through writing. In October, people who use AAC will have their voices heard all over the world when they pick any story from the Many Stories, One Voice online collection and read it aloud in a library or other public, accessible place in their community.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

29 Days: 29 Feb: Babs' Dyson

Guess what? It works! Babs you must have meant it was a little tired, not broken. I'm delighted. Thank you!

29 Days: 29 Feb: Day 29

The workshops are over. Today is celebration day. Balloons and Banners. Hair styling and Makeovers. Creative exhibitions of our work by the artists who worked with us. KK2 Disco and Karaoke. Cap-a-Pie Theatre dance and sing-a-long. Isla St Claire. And as usual, good grub!

Mum dropped me off early for the morning part, and picked me up at lunch time, to go to Oxford for my cousin Lauren's 3rd birthday - she was 12 on 29 February. So I went to a different disco and karaoke today. It was awesome, but I wish I could have done both!

I hope everyone enjoyed it. I can't wait to see you all again, and to see the DVD.

The Person Centred Plan Team have a lot of work to in the next few weeks, or months - hundreds of photos and yards of video footage to edit, our Plans to make. Good luck with the work, and a great big thank you for a wonderful time. Thank you to all the artists.

And thank you to our hosts Cap-a-Pie. The Store at Dipton is a fantastic venue.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

29 Days: 28 Feb: Journeys by Night

Today we worked with Abbi Barker in a dark space with fluorescent lights. We shared our dreams and talked about angels. We made angels out of fluorescent card and laminated them.

Can I spell fluorescent? Not yet. So how did I write it? I use my Pathfinder communication aid connected to my computer to write. I can type on it by spelling, but I don't have to spell everything. It has 6,500 whole words already on it for me to choose from. I made fluorescent up by adding together shorter words: flu - or - e - scent.

This is Abbi and my friend from Derwentside College.

And this is Babs, who helped me in today's workshop. Babs is bringing me her old Dyson tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

29 Days: 20 Feb: Full Size Body Image

Jane Few Dodds runs the body image workshop. My picture will be a map of everything I like and do, and would like to do. Jane cut the paper. Donna drew round me. I painted me.

Jane had some labels ready for us to write things on, and pictures to cut up. I brought some pictures with me. I'll be working on this again next Thursday.

It turned out great. Now people can know me in a minute. I'm really looking forward to working on it some more.

29 Days: 19 Feb: Movie Techniques

Today we had a movie making workshop with Steve Carolan from Shoot Yer Mouth Off. We watched two short movies and talked about them. We talked about what issue we would make a movie about, and storyboarded it on a flip chart.

Our movie was about the problems disabled people have trying to keep friendships. Some people move house a lot. Some people go to different day centres or schools or live a long way from their friends. Some people can't go out on their own. Some people can't talk so it's hard to ask for the help they need to to see their friends.

I was in the dissappearing friends scene and I talked to Steve on camera, but I had to go home at dinner time, so I don't know how the movie turned out. We will see it next week.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

29 Days: 12 and 13 February: Animation

Rachel Clarke is working with using blue screen video technology and stop motion animation.

John is on the Person Centred Plan team. He interviewed me about my hobby of collecting vacuums, and asked if anyone ever tell me I spend too much money on them!

29 Days Festival: 12 February: Computer Profile

I started my personal computer profile in pictures, working with Dan Forth.

Mark let me try his coat on today!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

29 Days Festival Person Centred Planning Workshops

I am going to 10 of the 29 day workshops where the Person Centred Plan team will get to know me and another 100 adults with learning disabilities and what we want to do with our lives during fun activities.

on Monday I made some felt out of coloured wool and made it into a picture of my favourite vacuum, the Hoover Z, and an angel.

yesterday I made a collage of my favourite things.

This is me with Mark, my Person Centred Plan coordinator.