This AAC Awareness Month, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have inclusion in the field of augmentative and alternative communication. It is near impossible to reach the goal of inclusion if we don’t presume the ability to learn. When we underestimate human potential, we can constrain someone from being able to say all that they have to say. When we give only phrases, we make the presumption that someone should only say what we want to hear.
What potential for inclusion do we cut off when we decide that someone doesn’t need to say certain words? That they don’t need to talk about a topic, such as sex and relationships? Or if we say, “So and so has died, so we can take their name off this person’s device.”
We all need all the words. And partners willing to listen.