Abigail was thrust into the world of Rett syndrome in October 2013 when her daughter Esme, then 3, was diagnosed with the condition. Up until age 2, Esme had been developing at a typical, if not slightly advanced rate, able to demonstrate what she knew, thought, liked and didn't like.
After attending the first Rett Education conference in 2014, the family fundraised relentlessly, purchasing their first eye gaze device that year. Refusing to believe that Esme would be unable to progress with her learning and cognitive development, Abigail persuaded Susan Norwell to mentor her in teaching ways to get started with AAC.
Abigail shadowed Susan at various events and in 2016 co-hosted at workshops in Nottingham and Edinburgh before going on to work alongside Callie Ward and Gill Townend from the very start of the Rett UK Communication and Education Project.
Deciding to further enhance her knowledge of child development and the factors affecting it, Abigail completed an MA in Childhood Studies and Early Years in 12 months (2017/18) through Leeds Beckett University, gaining a merit. She used Rett syndrome as a focus point wherever possible throughout her studies, submitting a thesis titled "A Study of Parental Experiences in the UK of the Implementation and Use of Electronic AAC Methods to Support Their Child with Rett Syndrome."
She is now the Communication Coordinator at Rett UK for the Communication and Education Project. This role includes managing the loan device program and the team of Regional Communication Champions, supporting and advising families in all matters regarding communication and education, and arranging digital conferences!
Abigail's conference talks will remain available as replays until 20th November 2021.