Tonight Jess went out to lunch and the movies with a friend. When she is with someone that can speak her language, then she has a lot more to say. This made me realize how difficult it is for her to start a conversation with someone who isn’t comfortable with an AAC device.
Most of her life, Jess has been without the ability to converse. Having Speak for Yourself, she has developed her own way of talking. What Jess has figured out on her own is she can keep up with a conversation if she keeps it succinct. However, if someone is willing to speak at her speed and understands AAC, then she will express herself with more words.
Tonight she shared with her friend about how she got her St. Patties day shirt, how Cinderella wore a pretty dress with glitter and she pointed out where the liquor store was when her friend said she didn’t have wine for dinner. Jess hears everything. Others need to stop and listen.
If the average person can speak 145-160 words per minute and the average person can type 40 words per minute, then there is going to be a lag time. If Jess is chatty, she may get 20-30 wpm. Who wants to be part of a conversation if they can’t keep up?
Jess may not have been part of the beginning of SFY, but she is part of the story. She has shown that it isn’t too late to find your voice. She has demonstrated that having a complete language system at her fingertips is more important than having someone guess what you want to say and program it in for her. Jess wants to find her own words.
Bottom line, the most important thing to be aware of when you are talking to someone who has an AAC device is to give them time to form their thoughts. We are so rush rush when it comes to fitting everything in our life, we often don’t take the time to listen.
Here’s a short video showing Jess using Speak for Yourself. She is very excited to be out with her friend.