Last week a friend told me a story. He works in a high school and was talking to another teacher about a student who has been struggling in class. This boy is plenty intelligent, but he flounders when he needs to express himself to other people in class or in social situations.
He likes to be around people, but for some reason having his thoughts and ideas come out in spoken words just doesn’t happen for him. The problem had reared its head that day in class when the students were supposed to do an oral presentation, and once again, this boy had not been able to participate.
My friend (having been exposed to the world of augmentative and alternative communication)suggested that the boy might benefit from some sort of AAC.
The teacher looked at him, a little baffled and said, “But this boy is NOT disabled.”
She was under the mistaken impression that AAC was only intended to benefit children with autism.
And that’s one reason why AAC awareness is such an essential thing.
AAC can benefit lots and lots of people in this world, but many of them don’t even know about it.
It doesn’t matter WHY the trouble is happening, when a person cannot express themselves verbally (whether it is after a stroke, because of selective mutism, due to a traumatic brain injury, or, yes, stemming from autism) AAC can help to smooth out rough places and help their voice to be heard.
Now, I don’t proclaim to know how best to help this boy or what issues he is facing, but I agree with my friend. A little bit of AAC COULD be a great fit for him. It could help him. If he could compose his projects or expressions in an app and then let a device vocalize those words, he might feel less out of place and better be able to engage in his classes and with his peers.
And that’s the charge to those of us who know and understand the power of AAC. We NEED to share this force with the world. We need to watch for chances to help others see the beauty of AAC. We need to tell the stories and share our understanding so that NO ONE is left silent.
We MUST share what we know, and AAC awareness month is the perfect time to do it. What will you do?
Some great ways to share AAC love with your peeps: