DPSN Language

Ok so I’m Gabby, and a weird fact about
myself is that I have lots and lots and lots of cuddly toys in my room. AAC stands for Augmentative Alternative Communication, and is used for individuals who have trouble speaking, like myself, it’s our voice. But it also can include different types of
communication, not just typing, but also pictures (like picture exchange communication
system), and there are the POD books, speech apps, or alternative ways to communicate. I use my speech app whenever I find it
hard to talk. So if I’m anxious or very, very severely
sensory overloaded, or perhaps catatonic, um, I will use my device. The way to describe my speaking abilities
is kind of ‘unreliable’, so it can go at any stage, unless I’ve got my second
voice, as I call it. It’s VERY important for me to have that
second voice, otherwise people go away and make decisions about my care, and myself,
without me having an influence, because they assume that I’m not capable of making an input. So there’s a whole, you know, stigma about
not being able to speak, and people assuming that we must not be able to make a decision. There’s still that stigma that we need to
get around with, especially in New Zealand because we’re so, so far, far behind around
AAC and autistic users. Some reactions are like ‘Woah! Where’s that coming from?’ people think it’s like some sort of TV channel
or something like that, or they maybe assume it’s like a phone call or something like
that. You know, it’s quite interesting because
some of my friends on the autism spectrum, when they haven’t heard a speech device
before, and they kind of get a bit shocked as well, because it’s, it’s like a voice,
but it’s not like a normal voice. We can’t, like, make the voice emotional
and stuff like that But the interesting thing is that my speech
app, we don’t have any New Zealand voices on there, so there’s no New Zealand accents,
and the closest I can get is to an Australian, but we don’t have any Te Reo on speech apps
at the moment so we’re trying to push for that to happen, but I think we’re going
to have to fundraise heaps for it to make it happen so that we can have the native language
on a speech device in New Zealand. With AAC it’s really good for other people
around us to model it to us. So if we don’t have any of our speaking
peers, and our parents and our families and stuff like that modelling to us then we’re
going to be reluctant to use it. So it’s about them modelling it in everyday
situations like at the table, at dinner time, when we’re out at parties or wherever we
go. You’ve gotta realise that our speech device
is ‘OUR’ voice and the device must be treated like our voice, and treated like a
disability aid.

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