Jonathan ThomsonJonathan ThomsonBy Sally McKeown

The SEMERC brand is alive and kicking and could be coming to a centre near you. SEMERC was famous for providing software and hardware solutions for early years and special needs pupils and its most famous product was probably the My World series which covered everything from design and technology to French vocabulary to the famous Dress the Teddy pack.

Jonathan Thomson, brand director of SEMERC, is about to sign a deal to set up SEMERC centres across England. ‘When we relaunched SEMERC, there was tremendous enthusiasm from our customer base," he says.

Sally McKeown catches up on ICT for special needs with Inclusive Technology
My Board softwareInclusive"How often do children choose between milk and juice in a day?" asked Sandra Thistlethwaite, specialist speech and language therapist. "Not very often, so we need to give them more useful vocabulary. What’s the first word a child says to express an opinion?"

‘No!’ we all chorused. You could spot the parents among us. All agreed that a good way of getting children to talk is to program the words "No" and "More" into their communication aids. We also found that the average two-year-old has a vocabulary of 278 words so  children with speech and language problems should have access thesm as early as possible. This core vocabulary will also also reflect current obsessions from football to Iggle Piggle and the characters from the BBC's In the Night Garden.

Welcome to the Green Velvet Club. It’s a rum place, as you’ll see when you click on the play button, and it was created by students at Wandle Valley School in Carshalton.

The school features in Becta’s fascinating research report, “Digital creativity and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties”. And headteacher Doug Bone was so impressed by the effectiveness of using digital creativity with his learners that he went out and bought more of the Apple Macs his students had used in the project.

Malcolm Bruce and Cate CalderMalcolm Bruce MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness, launched Phoneme Machine 6 at BETT 2009, writes Sally McKeown. The software is part of the suite of programs developed by THRASS (Teaching Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Skills), a very popular synthetic phonics system used by many schools.
The project is a joint scheme between THRASS (as part of its corporate social responsibility programme) and SMART Technologies.

The program will be free and can be downloaded from the THRASS website.