The First Tendrils of Communication

Photo © Shannon Des Roches Rosa [image: Orange and purple flowers among green leaves.] Cal Montgomery For Mel Baggs and Phil Smith, who knew, and know, communion with the wild places better than I can imagine. Do you remember how you learned to communicate? If you communicate pretty typically, odds are it wasn’t perfect, but it included something like: you reached out socially, and people reached back. You looked at them; they gazed adoringly back at you. You smiled; they smiled back and waved. “Hi, Baby! Hi! Oh, what a beautiful face!” You laughed; they reveled in your chortles and giggles and were silly in the hope that you would laugh again. You cried; they held you and comforted you and tried to figure out what was making you miserable. You called out at night; they pulled themselves out of exhausted slumber, scooped you up, and blearily cuddled…


ASL for Autistics

Photo © MrTinDC | Flickr / Creative Commons  [image: Bronze sculpture of hands demonstrating American Sign Language, in the visitor center at Gallaudet University.] endever* corbin To preface: I am a hearing semiverbal autistic person who is studying American Sign Language (ASL) and using it as AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). I want to talk about why ASL can be useful for some hearing autistic people. (Of course, it’s widely useful by d/Deaf/HoH people, despite oralists’ discouragement of sign languages—destroy this philosophy for all!) However, before you consider my words please look into perspectives from actual d/Deaf people, whose experiences and culture should always be centered when discussing sign languages. Here are some links to start, and there’s a more thorough list at the bottom of this article. •Dr. Vicar’s ASL instructional videos •Rikki Poynter, deaf vlogger
 •Andrew Parsons, Deaf advocate —- I formally studied ASL as a teenager before I…


Book Review: Communication Alternatives In Autism

[Image: Book cover with a background that is blue on the left and yellow on the right. A red bar in the upper center contains white text reading, “Communication Alternatives in Autism,” followed by smaller yellow text reading, “Perspectives on Typing and Spelling Approaches for the Nonspeaking.” Below, two hands hold a white tablet device with a keyboard visible and white text on black reading, “Hello my name is …” Below, red text reads, “Edited by Edlyn Vallejo Peña”] Communication Alternatives in Autism contains the perspectives of ten autistic self-advocates, who “share their experiences with alternative forms of communication. Their narratives document the complexities that autistic individuals navigate—in both educational and community settings—when choosing to use approaches that utilize letter boards and keyboards.” Review by Olympia Eleni Ellinas Autistic children and adults, around the world, are being treated as if they aren’t humans, as if they aren’t capable of sentient thought.…

An iPad screen with the app Speak for Yourself, and a list of animals in the message bar: "banana, cookie, cat, dog..."

OK, So We have AAC: Now What?

Think of your goal less about “doing it right” and more about “getting comfortable with AAC.” I’ve seen fear of being wrong all too often lead to no modeling. And I promise some modeling, modeling with mistakes, modeling slowly, all of it is better than no modeling.