October was AAC Awareness Month, and the 2018 theme was “Dare
to LEAD”. To follow this theme, the theme of this year’s AAC Voice
picnic was “What’s your superpower?” Our day of
fun included mask-making, vision board creating, playing boccia,
and plenty of chat between AAC users and their
AAC Voice member, Fiona Bridger, has recently written an opinion piece outlining the mentoring and support needed by people with communication disabilities and people who use AAC. It is a great read, and highlights the importance of being surrounded by a strong supportive network.
On 15 March 2018, AAC Voice hosted a screening of Siobhan Daley’s AGOSCI Webinar on Minspeak. The event was well attended and it was great to see a number of new faces.
Siobhan gave a very candid presentation about her Minspeak journey. Minspeak is an iconic language that uses two or three icons to make a word. Being a Minspeak user myself, I appreciated the challenges Siobhan talked about in learning the language. I am still learning after many years and I am part of the group of ladies that Siobhan referred to who have Minspeak competitions on some weekends. Siobhan always wins.
Although I think Minspeak is a great system, it is important to acknowledge that it is not for everyone. You have to have a great deal of self motivation to learn the system. At the event it was evident that we are still lacking speech pathology support to learn any AAC system, let alone Minspeak.
Some of our members are over 65 and therefore do not qualify for the NDIS yet they still require speech pathology to help them to reach their communication potential. This support is currently out of reach for them. It is not right to stop people communicating after they turn 65. Communication is basic human right for all human beings.
I would like to sincerely thank AGOSCI for their permission for us to screen the webinar and Liberator for supplying the snacks for us to enjoy while we watched.
The 2017 picnic was the biggest yet held by AAC Voice, with AAC users and their allies from all over Sydney and a large contingent who came down from Newcastle for the day.
The picnic provided a great networking opportunity for AAC users, parents and friends. It was especially nice to welcome new AAC Voice members who came along to their first event- we acknowledge how unnerving this can be, and we look forward to seeing you at future AAC Voice events.
Bobbin Head was a beautiful location for the picnic and we are planning to hold the 2018 picnic there again.
A huge thank you to AGOSCI and the volunteer Speech Pathology students from Sydney University for assisting with the smooth running of the picnic day.