As it’s AAC Awareness month, we thought it was time for me to take a wander down and revise “Word on the Street”.  My word is “Connection” I thought that would be easy! But nothing has jumped out at me, that was until the morning after our recent KYDX expo! I hope you all managed to connect with our Two Way Street booth, it was kind’a hard to miss our brightly decorated booth!

For those of you who have known me a long time, you’ll know that I prefer to use my natural speech. I guess it’s because I grew up before the era of communication devices. In fact, many of my childhood memories are of connecting with speech therapy, and learning how to sound letters such as “T” and “t” along with “Sss”! Having a device didn’t even occur to my parents, or if it did, I wasn’t aware of it – my natural speech has just been my default connection.

However, using my natural speech has made life a little tricky, especially when it came to employment.  I got my first communication device in 2010, as part of a pilot program. It was also where I first connected with the fabulous Two Way Street director, Janelle.

I have to confess that remembering to use the iPad, to speak for me was difficult to change the default pattern of using my natural speech.  I would make my presentation with it, but the minute they were done, I reverted to my natural ways! I hadn’t yet made the connection that using my iPad for everyday communication might help with everyday connections with people.

One of my roles at Two Way Street, is as a Communication Access Consultant and Trainer.  Communication Access is somewhat new to SA, and aside from the fact that I am paid for that particular role, my personal reason for being a Communication Access Consultant is to make life a little easier for others in our AAC Community.

To be honest with you, there are days when having a communication disability is the absolute pits! I go from having a valued and respected role within society to being called a “good-girl” by a 25-year-old in a blink of an eye!  But what is important is that we don’t give up on being out there, connecting with people and making a difference.

Written by: Margie Charlesworth