These are the issues that the members of Speaking Differently have determined to be most important to persons who communicate in non-standard ways. The issues are presented in priority order. Do you agree with these issues? Are there others that SD should be concerned with? Please let us know. Contact us
1. Education of Professionals who Deal with Persons who use AAC · Reduce the tendency for persons such as doctors to ignore persons with little or no speech in favor of their attendants or facilitators during examination and treatment. · Example: Teach the police to deal with persons with little or no speech. Whether encountered in formal situations (such as court) or on the streets, police need to recognize differences between persons with little or no speech and persons who are intoxicated and etc. · Encourage the training of professionals to communicate with people who use AAC during professional training. · Make available training kits to help AAC users and their facilitators to succeed when dealing with health, legal, government and other professionals. Transportation · Train AAC users to achieve transportation on demand independently. · Educate drivers who know little or nothing about persons with little or no speech and how to communicate with them. · Make available a training kit to help AAC users and their facilitators arrange for and manage public transportation. 3. Housing · Work toward requiring provisions in independent living settings for communication systems that allow AAC users to control their environments. · Training for domestic workers in communicating with persons who are essentially non-speaking · Make available quick, easy materials that can help domestic workers understand the environment of AAC users and how to communicate with the AAC user resident. 4. Attendant care · Provide the ways and means for persons with little or no speech to direct his or her own care. · Work toward formal communication training of attendants. · Encourage an atmosphere where attendants are commitment to their work and hold respect toward persons who use AAC. 5. Friendship · Provide opportunities for persons who use AAC to meet new persons, some who do not speak, some who do, some with disabilities, some without, to help to reduce the tendency for persons who are non-speaking to have only “paid friends” . · Make available social-communication training for persons with little or no speech and for those they are going to meet. 6. Jobs · Reduce problems associated with accessing government services associated with employment by providing communication training to government workers and by providing strategy workshops to persons who use AAC. · Help to ensure that government policies that deal with the employment of individuals with disabilities include persons who have little or no speech. · Increase the availability of supported and sheltered employment for persons who use AAC by providing training for both AAC users and workshop operators. · Make available training kits to help AAC users successfully navigate job interviews. 7. Leisure · Ensure that persons who are essentially non-speaking have the experiences, knowledge, and specific communication skills to make their own choices of leisure activities.