Sally McKeown visits Nasen to see Recordable Bar pick up the ICT award

Recordable BarAward winner Recordable Bar: affordable and robust"It may not have the flashing lights and the thumping music or the compere no one's heard of but the Nasen Awards are still well received by the wider special needs community," said one of the speakers at the Reebok stadium in Bolton where eight awards were presented.

The Nasen Awards represent 'excellence and best practice' in books and resources for special educational needs. There are awards for children's books, academic and professional resources and materials for classroom activities. There is also a highly regarded technology award for the ICT Resource to support Teaching and Learning.

As 2011 is the National Year of Communication, it was not surprising to find that companies had focused on resources to support speech, language and communication needs.

There were four entries on the short list:

MyZone, from Inclusive Technology Limited, has large on-screen buttons and offers easy access to programs, activities and games for people with disabilities or learning disabilities  who cannot access a computer via text.

Sound Shuffle, from TTS Group, was created by Carol Allen, advisory teacher for ICT and special needs in North Tyneside. It is a brand new device with a record and playback function for creating stories, sequencing and sound effects.

Logan Proxtalker was created by Glen Dobbs for Logan Technologies. It is an assistive communications device that will let anyone who uses picture exchange (PECS) communicate easily. The ProxTalker uses sound tags so users can call up previously stored vocabulary to make sentences which are then spoken out.

But the winner was Recordable Bar/Story Sequencer from TTS Group. This costs a mere £17.50 and is a robust tool which can be used by individuals or groups. There are six large buttons on the front which could have pictures or symbols. Children or teachers can slot in their own images or words and then record a 10 second message for each slot.  It is great for turntaking and can be used to create talking stories, or question and answer games or picture/ word matching exercises. Use it for a visual timetable or as an audio timetable for children with a visual impairment.

Nasen

Sally McKeownSally McKeown is a freelance writer and is an expert in special needs and inclusion


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