Thursday, October 2, 2014

AAC Awareness: TBT: Open Letter to Parents of a Child with Speech Delays

This is the first Throw Back Thursday post for AAC Awareness Month. The post I'm sharing today is probably my most popular AAC post: "An Open Letter to the Parent of a Child with Speech Delays."
In this letter I make the case for access to AAC (right now) and provide a bunch of action steps and resources.

Without early access to AAC, we wouldn't know Maya. First and foremost, she wouldn't be able to connect with us, boss us around, tell us about her day, talk about things she loves (and things she hates). It was our job to provide her with the tools that she needs to communicate, the same way that it would be our job to make sure that she had a pair of glasses if her vision was impaired.

On a different note, she also wouldn't have been able to show us how bright and clever she is, and our expectations (despite every best effort) would not have been as high as they should have been. She would not have been placed in a classroom that is academically challenging, and she would not have a way of "proving herself" to new teachers, therapists, and staff. And if this is where you tell me (or yourself) that nonverbal kids shouldn't have to "prove" that they are capable of learning academically rigorous material any more than verbal kids should have to prove it . . . well, you're preaching to the choir . . . but you're also kidding yourself. Maya has to prove her cleverness every time she meets someone new. And sometimes she even has to re-prove it, especially as her behaviors sometimes indicate that she isn't paying attention, doesn't care, and isn't learning . . . until she suddenly reaches over and taps out a correct answer or connection or observation on her talker, and they are reminded.

It's on us to make sure that our kids get access to the AAC that they need. This post may be of some help.

An Open Letter to Parents of a Child with Speech Delays

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