Because Roxy needed to get her ya-ya’s out, we decided to go to the dog park. Jess put on her boots, grabbed her coat but left her AAC device on the table. Typically, she takes her talker with her. Up until now, when she has forgotten, I’ve reminded her. This time, I said nothing. Today we were going to break the rule to “have your talker at all times”.
It’s cold and windy at the park. The dogs don’t seem to notice, but the owners are huddling. Jess and I sat at a table with a few other people. They all sneak glances at Jess, but I just smile. As a mom of a person with Angelman Syndrome, my senses are heightened whenever we are in public. Goes with the territory. Anyhow, one man said he has a sister like her. He was not judging, just his way to acknowledge.
Then a woman asked if “she” had a computer. I shared that this time, Jess chose not to bring her talker. The woman then said she has kids at her school that use PQ2G. Then I volunteered that we use Speak for Yourself . She had never heard of it. I further explained how Jess has 1,000’s of words at her finger tips in just two taps. Not just any words, but words that I would never thought of adding to her vocabulary. To have the ability to find the words to express yourself without support is pretty remarkable.
Here’s the thing my dear daughter, if you don’t take your talker, I’m not going to know what you want or what you are thinking. By not having your voice, you allow others to make your decisions. This is especially true for the outside world. People tend to talk around you, or to the person you are with, instead of directly to you. Unfortunately, no one will know how smart or funny or unique you are unless you speak to them. As they say, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Today you realized your voice is needed even when you don’t feel like talking.
I’ve always thought that in order to spread the word about AAC, the talker needed to be visible, yet no one has ever commented about her device at the park before? This wasn’t the teachable moment I expected. This was serendipity that came to play and I love it when this happens. Jess, we all learned something new today because you broke the rules. Now don’t let that happen again! lol….