By Rob Laffan
Imagine you could only communicate within a space no bigger than your living room. Imagine what that isolation would feel like and the frustration you would experience due to the limitation of not being able to reach out and connect with the world around you. Unfortunately, this is the exact condition many children and adults who are non-verbal live with every day.
People in the general community – people who don’t have a non-verbal learning disorder – have the luxury of viewing verbal communication as a given, something they do automatically without thought. Social communication is so important to us that we have invented technology and media platforms just to enrich the process: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messaging, and so much more. Now, just for a second, try to imagine someone taking that choice away from you. It’d be hard to be in relationships, hold a job, and perform normal, everyday tasks.
How we choose to communicate allows us to define who we are as individuals. It allows us to share and connect with the world around us. Same-room interaction or general communication should be the first step in our journey with our loved ones who are non-verbal. It is our job, as parents, sisters, brothers, and caregivers to do everything in our power to ensure that they reach their full potential. Each one of our loved ones living with a verbal disability is an individual; our job is to help their world grow, to introduce individual choice, to expand their social network, and to provide a platform for social inclusion. We must have expectations for our loved ones, and provide them with the tools and skills necessary for them to reach their full potential. Without this commitment, we are just placing more limitations upon them.
As the wise Temple Grandin once said, “The worst thing you can do is nothing.” At TippyTalk, we’re making sure that we’re doing “something.” We have an intimate understanding of these barriers to communication and have first-hand experience in removing them through the use of TippyTalk. TippyTalk is reducing the frustration, isolation, and limitation of same-room communication by providing a platform for social inclusion. With just the tip of a finger, people with autism have the power to reach out and connect with their social network.
Social inclusion is an important mission here at TippyTalk, and through discussion and the sharing of opinions and information, we can form a better community of educators and advocates. Have additional thoughts? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.