The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Inspiration from Gail VanTatenhove via ASHA Community

From the SIG 12 Community Board

Do you ever wonder why you do what you do?
For the past several weeks, I have been corresponding with a woman (Vanessa) in the Philippines who has been trained as a deaf educator.  As a community service, she volunteers at an orphanage that has over 30 children with cerebral palsy who need AAC systems.  (NOTE:  In the Philippines, she reports that only 1% of children with cerebral palsy are enrolled in any type of school program.)   She was searching online for ideas and came across the BeCOME:AAC website by Chris Klein ( To make a long story short, Vanessa contacted Chris and Chris put her in touch with me.  Vanessa identified several students and we've collaborated to make them simple manual communication boards.

Here is her comment about her experience introducing AAC to these children. 
"Seeing language in a person who has for so long been shut off never fails to amaze me.  I've seen it in the deaf people I work with, and now in these children with cerebral palsy. After introducing my first board to them, I regret not trying this years ago when I started volunteering in the orphanages."  Vanessa
Thank you Vanessa for reminding me that AAC opens up the world for people with limited speech!    She's doing something and that's everything for these kids!    That's why we do what we do!
Gail M. Van Tatenhove, PA, MS, CCC-SLP
Orlando, FL
SIG 12 Coordinating Committee (2011-2013)

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