Wishes are wonderful things, seducing us with
their promise and possibility. And there is no better time to reflect on what
we hope for than in the last week of the year. So our next wish is for another
intangible, the big O: Opportunity.
As 2012 dawns, our AAC wish list is all about
opportunities. Our parents and teachers tried to prepare us to recognize
opportunity, and promised us that it would come knocking.
sometimes the knock of AAC opportunity is drowned out by other things.
Sometimes we just don’t hear it. We may miss the opportunity to teach a new
clinician how to expand the language of a teenager learning to use a speech
generating device. We may miss the chance to create the teachable moment for a
child just learning to use AAC to make a comment. We might miss the opportunity
to encourage a parent to give their child choices of what to do, eat, or wear.
We may miss the opportunity to educate a misinformed professional who fears
that using AAC will prevent a student from speaking.
Knocks that we didn’t hear. What to do when we
miss those chances? The legendary comic, Milton Berle, had the best
answer we’ve found. It’s all about creating new opportunities. “When opportunity
doesn’t knock,” he said, “Build a door.”
In the year to come, we hope to build a lot of
doors. Doors of opportunity, because windows are sometimes too small.
In the upcoming year, we dream of:
Plentiful opportunities for people who use AAC to communicate, because we all need to
practice when we’re learning something new.
opportunities for educators, SLPs, families, and others to give AAC a fair chance before deciding that the individual ‘isn’t
opportunities to provide support to
people learning AAC. More teaching and less testing.
opportunities for AAC to be encouraged across
activities and environments. Communication all day long, not just at snack
time. Not just in school.
opportunities for meaningful goals and
expectations. Communication is about power and participation, not tasks and
opportunities to build a dialogue
with you about AAC. It’s a complex field and ongoing interaction about how to
make it work will benefit both of us.
ears are peeled, listening for those knocks. And if they don’t come, well, I
guess we’ll be building some doors.