Film critic, screenwriter and journalist, Roger Ebert passed away last week at the age of 70. Ebert began treatment for thyroid cancer in 2006. After several procedures he lost his lower jaw and as a result, his ability to eat and speak.
Click here, or see below to watch Ebert's 2011 Ted Talk: Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice. The running time is 20 minutes. Take a look. If not now, come back when you have the time. It's worth it. I promise.
For my own interest, I cited some of Ebert's most salient comments from the talk:
"For most of my life I never gave a second thought to my ability to speak. It was like breathing. In those days I was living in a false paradise."
"...the act of speaking or not speaking is tied so indelibly to one's identity."
"I'm aware that most people have little patience for my speaking difficulties."
"People are impatient."
"People talk loudly and slowly to me. Sometimes they assume I am deaf. There are people who don't want to make eye contact."
"We are born into a box of time and space. We use words and communication to break out of it and to reach out to others."
"How did I feel not being able to speak? I felt, and I still feel a lot of distance from the human mainstream."
"Because of the digital revolution, I have a voice."
And lastly, my favourite:
"What you see is not all you get."
Thank you, Roger Ebert. RIP
Disclaimer: Views in the Not Being Able to Speak series are derived from my personal experience with Carter. I do not speak on behalf of others with complex communication needs. It is not my intent to minimize or disregard the power of expression that can be found through the use of augmentative and alternative forms of communication.