Sharing Day 2019

Click to watch a short video of Sharing Day 2019

Sharing Day 2019, with a full programme of guest speakers, workshops and bookable experiences, was a great opportunity for guests to learn something new and share their ideas and experiences.  Over 130 parents, carers and practitioners with a range of specialisms brought their expertise from all over Essex and beyond.

A group of people listening to a talkThe day got underway with the first of Andrew Whitehouse’s talks “Using visual communication for promoting positive behaviour in early years’ education.” This talk explored the idea that introducing simple pictures can help children accomplish the required task while reducing challenging behaviour. 

“Andrew Whitehouse was brilliant.  He was easy to listen and made absolute sense.” 

Sharron Howard then demonstrated how Tac Pac fosters communication with people with profound and complex needs by using tactile sensations combined with music.

 “Tac Pac will be an excellent resource for my service users who have profound sensory needs.  It will open up their world.” 

Simon Williams from Essex County Council’s Technology Enabled Care team introduced some innovative ideas for using Alexa to improve independence. 

After a brief pause for coffee, Dr Siobhan Timmins talked about using social stories to build resilience in people with autism. Drawing from experience with her autistic son to illustrate how ‘the 5 P’s’ had helped him cope with changing situations in everyday life. 

“Siobhan was so helpful. She provided useful tools and information to cope with the everyday challenges of autism.” 

A group of people at a seminarPaul Hughes rounded off the morning session with an entertaining and inspirational speech about the importance of using the right language.  He regaled us with stories about how he overcame the difficulties of his own dyslexia and ADHD to become an accomplished linguist and a successful air crewman in the RAF.  He ended with the thought-provoking tale of how he was able to come to common ground with the captured Taliban insurgent who had, moments earlier, shot and injured him and killed his colleague. 

“So inspiring to hear how Paul has become so much despite his ADHD and dyslexia!” 

A lady hugging a pillowSid Perry got the afternoon underway with an energetic introduction to Makaton.  She gave anecdotes to demonstrate how useful Makaton can be in supporting spoken language and taught us a few signs.  Her talk culminated in the entire audience signing and signing “A sailor went to sea…” 

Lisa Morsley talked about AAC – augmentative and alternative communication.  She introduced us to the services of the Communication Aid Service East of England, illustrating a range of AAC, from no tech to high tech.  She emphasised that the best aid for an individual is the one that works for them, not necessarily the most expensive nor the most technically complex. 

Enquiries to the service can be made via email to 

Andrew Whitehouse brought the day to a conclusion with his talk, “In through the eyes and out through the mouth: a positive approach to effective communication and ADHD”. 

As well as delivering talks our guest speakers also ran table top workshops to explore their subjects in greater detail.  Andrew and Siobhan proved very popular here too. 

Outside of the main hall, Echo Chandler from Essex County Council’s Quality Assurance team ran a successful Introduction to Inclusive Communication workshop in the morning. This module gives learners practical experience of some of the barriers to effective communication and introduces the idea of using any and all means necessary to ensure understanding. 

“Echo’s session was amazing! Passionate, informative, good presentation and context.” 

The Autism Reality Experience and Virtual Dementia Tour, complementing the workshops and talks had a steady flow of visitors throughout the day. 

“I took both virtual experiences which I found a great help in my understanding of what my learners experience.” 

Sharing Day 2019 has been a resounding success with people taking away lessons and experiences that might help to change the life of someone they care for. 

Three women getting ready for a dementia experience“It was great to have the opportunity to talk to so many different people.” 

“I have learnt so much today.  What a fantastic day!”

No comments
Post a comment