From the Minds of AAC Users

Jun 30, 2020

Often, when we talk about augmentative communication, the conversation is lead by speech therapists, teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, or other supporters. These communication advocates are irreplaceable and they have important ideas and experience to share.

But sometimes we unintentionally miss the chance to hear from the most important person on our AAC teams – the AAC communicators themselves.

This year, at AAC in the Cloud (a free, online augmentative communication conference), several presentations were given by AAC users.  Their perspective and understanding is immense.  Their insights and personal expressions cannot be overlooked.

Thanks to each of these presenters for their self-advocacy in the arena of communication and for empowering people everywhere to work to be heard.

Don't miss the chance to learn about augmentative communication from those who live it every single day.

Mike Hipple: Welcome to the AAC Community

Parents can feel overwhelmed with everything they need to do. Sometimes parents don't learn about our community until much later or not at all. This workshop will invite parents, siblings, grandparents, and professionals to the beautiful community and to give ideas to build your local AAC community. Come learn and be amazed about our big and beautiful community.

Endever* Corbin:  AAC Backups (and Backups for Backups)

Why should you have backup AAC methods and how do you make them? This session is about planning for situations when you can’t access your primary communication method.

Lily Huston: Alternative Access Beyond Physical Disabilities

We know and use alternative access methods for students unable to activate a device with direct selection. But what about our other students? What if we used eye gaze, head, pointing, switch scanning, and partner-assisted scanning for students that have the motor abilities for direct selection?

Darla Burrow: Talking About Your Passions – Challenges & Realities in Programming AAC to Talk About the Stuff You Love

AAC users are at a disadvantage in speaking in detail about their hobbies. It can take a lot of work to set up AAC to discuss specificity in theses areas, but it allows AAC to be used to better communicate interests, and engage with social and peer groups.

Saoirse T.: Communication is a Human Right – Why is Society Communication Inaccessible

Society is built around mouth-words. People claim to care about our futures, but everyone’s entire focus is on vocal speech. There’s little to no communication accessibility. This needs to change. To improve the lives of non-speaking people, we need a society that includes us. We need a communication accessible world!

Tuttleturtle (Stephanie): My AAC is Part of My Gender Presentation

When setting up AAC, considering disability is normal. But, identity is complex, more than just our disabilities, and our assistive tech is a part of us. It needs to support the whole person. We’ll discuss using AAC as a trans, disabled person and some considerations as they customize their device.

**Photo by Richard Clyborne of Music Strive

Melissa DeMoux

Former CoughDrop Director of Marketing and Support -- worked with AAC communicators & teams