Set against the stunning backdrop of Hylands House, the 2015 Sharing Day brought together families and professionals from all over Essex and beyond. They came with a shared goal - to learn something that will help them improve the life of someone they care for.
9th Annual Sharing Day - 2015
"I learnt a lot that will help me with my customers."
The day catered for young and old. People were able to drop in for a workshop, browse market stalls, try out the table top tasters or take time out to have a chat and share ideas. With sessions repeating throughout the day, people had more flexibility than ever to choose what they wanted to see and do.
"Listening to other people made me think a lot. It made me more aware of other people's disabilities".
Click below to watch a short film of the day's events.
Throughout the day, leading experts from around the country, including Ability World, Liberator, PECS, Techcess, Therapy Box and Toby Churchill were available to demonstrate their latest equipment and methodologies. At the ICE stand we signed up new members who now have access to our catalogue of communication resources which they can borrow for free through Essex Libraries.
"I was amazed at how many different techniques there are!"
The workshops started early with a breakfast session specially for speech and language students. This meant that, for the first time ever, Speech and Language Therapists and Behaviour Advisers were available during the day for families to book a one-to-one session.
Gavin and Mark made an entertaining double act. Their positive outlook was a real inspiration as they shared their experiences from a service user's point of view.
The Introduction to Inclusive Communication proved popular. The session aimed to give people a better understanding of how we communicate and the barriers to effective communication. Christine Chester-Helyar from Communication4All plunged her audiences into a muffled world of darkness, challenging people to think differently about how they communicate.
"Inclusive communication is not only beneficial for people with learning disabilities."
Janet Gurney from Us in a Bus encouraged her audiences to leave their own comfort zone and step into someone else's in her Introduction to Intensive Interaction sessions.
Russell Smith from Dad in a Shed amazed people with the diversity and versatility of modern technology in his Enabling with Apps workshops.
"I didn't know there was so much choice. It's inspiring what IT resources are available."
Dr. Siobhan Timmins' Social Stories workshops introduced people to the uses and benefits of social stories in communicating with someone who has autism.
Sarah Sherratt's Makaton sessions introduced people to signed English. By the end of her sessions, her audiences had learnt core vocabulary from Stage 1 of the learning manual. This lead neatly on to Singing and Signing with Christine Chester-Helyar where groups learnt to sing and sign popular songs. The day ended with a rousing, signed rendition of We are the Champions.