Communication and giving our children a “voice” is so important – but it is a lesson that has not been an easy one to come by for me.
We started PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) when Aysh was very young (barely 2). He responded amazingly. But I still remember raising concerns about focusing on this instead of focusing on getting him to talk. And I remember someone saying to me “this is important in case he never talks”. I don’t even remember who said it. Maybe it was a speech pathologist, maybe a doctor, I just don’t remember. But I remember being gutted.
I get it now. I understand the power of language – not just speech – and how the ability to initiate a communicative gesture can help him navigate the world and get his needs met.
It’s a shitty day here today. The screaming is relentless and we are worn out. But he has been able to tell me (without words) that he wants to go back to school.
And that is the power of AAC.
Thank you to those who had the insight to introduce us to AAC. While we value every verbal, spoken word, AAC gives us a back-up and has helped Aysh learn the power of having a voice.
(AAC stands for Alternative and Augmentative Communication and generally refers to ways of communicating such as picture exchange, communication devices or apps and sign language.)