“CamOnWheels”: Increasing narrative skills and participation for young people with complex communication needs

Mascha Legel, Annalu Waller

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) attempts to augment natural speech, or to provide alternative ways to communicate for people with limited or no speech. Although some people who use AAC do develop good narrative skills, many do not. This presentation will explore the idea of Film as a vehicle for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (FaOC) as a method to support more effective conversation. Young people with complex communication needs (CCN) are trained to film and edit their own material. These films are them used as context prompts within conversations. Cameras are adapted to enable participants to have independent access. For example, an iPad might be mounted to a wheelchair allowing the filmmaker to shoot their own material. Editing consists of selecting images, implicitly making a strategic plan about what will be shown to tell a story (a narrative). The filmmaker then tells a story or participates in a conversation using the selected images as a communication support by both the storyteller and the communication partners. FaOC has evolved into CamOnWheels, a multidisciplinary project in The Netherlands which aims to provide young people with CCN with opportunities for interaction. Adolescents and young adults with CCN are often misunderstood and become socially isolated. "CamOnWheels" aims to help young people in increasing their confidence and independence through participation. The project achieves this by offering training in film making and creating a meeting place where students can integrate and study with their peer group. Disabled students attend courses and projects at the CamOnWheels Studios along with mainstream film students. CamOnWheels" staff and AAC experts deliver training on filming and editing, developing student’s creative talent and enhancing their skills and knowledge in various fields. "CamOnWheels provides the equipment, space, training and guidance and arranges internships and work experience placements.

The presentation will discuss the early work of the project together with the underlying research. Participants will be invited to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of the CamOnWheels project discussing the potential to initiate similar projects in other locations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2017
EventPromoting Inclusion Transforming Lives (PITL) International Conference 2017 - University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jun 201716 Jun 2017
http://pitl.org.uk (Link to Conference website)


ConferencePromoting Inclusion Transforming Lives (PITL) International Conference 2017
Abbreviated titlePITL 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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