seeing people before their augmentative communication devices

I am sure like me most of the people reading this take their ability to speak for granted. I did until a girl in my teens who had been left non verbal as a result of a brain injury from an accident.

This encounter was humbling for me it made me truly realize how blessed I am to have the ability to speak. The experience also reminded me to be patient and remember that communicating with alternate means is a pain staking task that is often well worth the wait.

People often get frustrated by the communication tools used by people who are non verbal because of the time they take to have a conversation is lengthy but if you can learn a lot if you take the time.

Avoiding the frustration

Over the years having several friends with various means of communication I have learned a few tips a long the way

  • wait until they finish their thoughts
  • don’t guess what they are trying to say
  • give them ample time to express themselves

I would be interested in your experiences with augmentative communication do you or your child use it? is it frustrating for you or them that people don’t take the time to listen to what they have to say.

 

 seeing people before their augmentative communication devices
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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook

Comments

seeing people before their augmentative communication devices — 4 Comments

  1. I called my insurance provider, and wound up speaking with a man with a severe stutter. As a (mostly) former stutterer myself, I was very sympathetic to his struggles, and also surprised that such a person would be working in a position that required him to talk on the phone. It was hard, even for me, to relax and let him speak the way he spoke, and not finish sentences, etc.

  2. I had an aunt who developed Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It got to the point where she could not talk, nor move but she could still understand what others would say to her and see them. She could only make grunting noises and wailed when she cried, which was often. That was the extent of her ability to express herself, despite all attempts to find a device that would let her do so. After reading your post Laura, it is my hope that, in addition to the tips above, we will all remember to be grateful that people using augmentative communication devices are able to use them in the first place, and that although it may take a while to express themselves, at least they are able to – no matter how long it takes.

  3. I have a friend with Athetoid CP who has trouble speaking. I had to learn to be patient with her. People treat her like she is mentally impaired. When I met someone with a stutter the same thing happened where the cashier gave him a dirty look and treated him like he was stupid. I find it so sad that people automatically assume you are mentally impaired when it is just your speech. Good advice.

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