Monday, 6 May 2013

#14 Keen on Communication Courtesies

In my last post I introduced you to the Slow Talker, the Baby Talker, and the Impatient Talker along with several other talkers - a term I usually reserve for Carter's communication device, but in this case a term paired with mannerisms people take on when speaking with AAC users.

Seinfeld's low talker taught us about communication breakdowns; his close talker about social awareness. My characters were created to help educate people about being courteous when communicating with people like Carter.

Take a look at the resources I found to help educate everyone toward being Compassionate Talkers:

Guidelines for Communicating with a Person who Uses AAC

You don't need special skills to communicate with a person who uses an AAC system. Remember that a person who cannot speak does not necessarily have a hearing or cognitive problem. The following tips will assist in communicating effectively.
  • Make eye contact.

  • Speak directly to the AAC user, not to the person who may be accompanying her.

  • Use everyday language, rather than jargon.

  • Use concrete language, not figures of speech or metaphors.

  • Do not speak loudly, slowly, or in an otherwise condescending manner.

  • Ask the AAC user to show you how he communicates yes and no.

  • Ask the AAC user to show you how she communicates using the AAC system.

  • If necessary, ask the AAC user if you can look for directions on how he communicates. These directions are often on the AAC users tray or in his communication binder.

  • Give the AAC user time to communicate. Using an AAC system takes more time than speaking.

  • Do not keep talking to fill the silence after you've asked a question. It takes time to construct a message using AAC. Try to feel comfortable with the silences.

  • If you are short on time and cannot communicate with the AAC user, be honest and reschedule the appointment for a day when you do have more time.
[source: Safeguarding People Who Use AAC, a CDAC (ACCPC) website]

Will you do your part to become a Compassionate Talker?

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.


  1. Excellent post, especially since some have no idea how to communicate properly with someone who uses ACC.

    1. So glad you stopped by, Catherine. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Thanks!

  2. Stacey, this is excellent. I'm going to forward it to our Special Education consultants so that they can get it to those who need it!

    1. Excellent! Thank you, Ida Mae. Anything you can do to help spread the word would be greatly appreciated!