If you were asked to list the characteristics of a competent public speaker, orator, speech maker; I doubt very much non-verbal, nine year old, AAC user would come to mind. But, like many AAC users before him (Stephen Hawking and Roger Ebert to name a few), Carter gave a speech last night at his school's end of the year Achievement Celebration.
He was one of seven students to step up to the mike and talk about one of the many events he and his fellow students took part in throughout the year. He spoke about the Terry Fox event and he did an amazing job! The speech was preprogrammed into Carter's device (which means he hit one button and the whole speech was spoken, rather than him having to hit different buttons to put the speech together word by word), but I was extremely proud of him for having the confidence to get up in front of a crowd and use his talker. Click here or see below to take a look and a listen (he's the only guy I know that can jump while talking and not have it affect his voice):
As if making a speech wasn't enough, my hard working boy brought home three awards! The first was for Academic Excellence in Science. The second; a participation award (again, who would have thought that a non-verbal boy would receive an award for participation?). His teacher told the audience that in class, Carter often has his hand up before a question is even asked - he's that eager to contribute. The third and final award for Carter was all in good fun and not a huge surprise: the Jokester award. That's my boy - ever the goofball, always with a perpetual smile on his face.
|Receiving the Science Award|
|J&T help hold C's awards for a pic w/ his teacher.|
Way to go, Carter!
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.