How important is it to consider the best way to speak in any given moment? It’s so important that we’ve got a mantra for it. Keep these five ideas front and center as you teach communication and we think you’ll see new levels of engagement, interaction, and progress. And don’t forget. Multi-modal doesn’t mean just using the different modes on Talk Suite. It means remembering to use eye contact, your own voice (whatever it is), smiles, body movements, and even learning to smartly use the environment around you for communication cues.
To fully understand where it can all lead, check out the video at the end of this section, and see how much can happen with only five words.
Richness in life doesn’t often come from richness in one’s language.
Talk Suite is, of course, a communication app. And the language we use certainly has an effect on all we do. However, there is so much more that comes from the way we engage and connect with others. So we spend as much time focussed on that. In short, Talk Suite is designed to support not only rich communication, but also a rich life.
Use multiple ways to communicate.
It’s true. It’s just less obvious when you speak verbally. But seriously, the volume of our voice, the words we choose to say, the things we say for the first time, or those we repeat over and over…. It completely varies from situation to situation
Think about it. Don’t you choose and deliver words differently when you meet a friend, talk to a teacher or professional, tell a joke, or get angry? Of course you do! And that insight is where Talk Suite begins.
Anticipate the different ways we will talk.
If you’re going to be introducing yourself to someone, you should try to make it a great first impression. If you pretty much know what you’re going to say, you should be prepared to say it in an effective and engaging manner.
Those are not rules for AAC. They are rules for us all. So we also need to keep that top of mind when we offer alternative communication.
Make smart communication decisions.
Whoo boy. As hard as it is to say this…. the default in the world of AAC is “generative speech!” And that often means coming up with new words on the spot. That’s despite the fact that when a verbal person has something to say, they often pre-plan what they’ll say.
A bunch of people may disagree with this… that’s okay. But we think those same people would also talk about the many challenges with making friends, getting what they want, being included, and so on. So why not try to rethink the world a bit.
People get trained in creating for giving speeches, doing negotiation, making friends, being fun at cocktail parties, and on and on. That are specific and different approaches for it. Let’s do that in this world too!
Accept that other people want people to talk quickly.
Interesting thing about AAC. So while the rest of us vocalize to speak and type to write, that’s not how it works here. It’s typing or touching buttons for everything.
Try typing to someone in the room. It’s slow. It changes conversation. It asks a lot of the listener. And that’s okay. We all should learn to listen better! But when there are chances to talk quickly…it is to the speaker’s benefit. So we do all we can to provide those opportunities. While still providing many great options like world by word symbols or typing… for the many moments when only generative speech will do!
Don’t just focus on sentences. Focus on relationships.
Relationships begin when people realize they share things. Interests. Sense of humor. Perspectives on life. Favorite films and TV shows. Once people see that light go on, they want it to be brighter.
Starting a relationship with the complexity of alternative communication, sadly, is not the best way to do it. It’s why so often relationships never get off the ground. Why people don’t find chances for engagement.
It’s why so many people in this world wind up lonely. As hard as that is to admit, it’s true.
Once we know that we share interests or goals with people, things change. We give them so many more opportunities.
That’s why we provide so many other options aside from word by word speech… and organize Talk Suite so they can be smartly accessed. It’s so people who use it have the chance to build a foundation not just for language… but also for connection.