Sometimes a person who is multiply disabled is simply unable to communicate with words, whether verbal or written. Does this mean the person is doomed to a life of no communication? Definitely not! Truthfully, there are alternative communication methods that can be just as effective as speaking and writing.
If people can’t speak or write, how can they communicate?
Great question. There are several communication systems these people can utilize. Here are just a few:
Sign Language is a communication system that utilizes symbols made with the hands. Sign Language can be both seen and felt. It can be seen when a person makes a symbol with his or her hand(s). It can be felt when a signer “makes a sign in the receiver’s hand.”
There is so much good information and so many resources available about Sign Language. If you are interested in learning more about this method of communication, please pursue additional knowledge. You may even be inspired to learn Sign Language for yourself!
The term “symbol systems” encompasses a wide array of communication methods. Symbol systems often utilize:
– Communication books
– Communication boards
In a symbol system, there is a meaning for each symbol. For example, a plate may be a symbol for, “I am hungry.” If a person points to a plate, he or she is communicating hunger. This is an expressive form of communication.
An aid usually augments communication. An aid can be intangible. An example of an intangible communication aid is Sign Language. A communication aid can also be something that is an actual device. For example, a device “that plays a recorded message when a child presses a switch” could be considered an augmentative communication aid.
This is communication that is “shared between the sender and receiver.” There are several different forms of symbolic communication. Here are just a few:
– Sign Language
– Tactile and Picture Systems of Communication
Speech and written words are both major forms of symbolic communication.
Communication is farther-encompassing than most of us realize.
It’s important to remember that writing and/or speaking are not the only methods of communication. Whether or not you know someone who uses an alternative communication method, it is good to keep this fact in mind.
Communication is exciting! It is amazing to consider all the different communication systems and how they work.
Interested in learning more about alternative communication methods? Visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/aac.htm and http://www.livestrong.com/article/272547-alternate-methods-of-communication-for-the-deaf-hearing-impaired/.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
Have you ever communicated with someone who could neither write nor speak? Leave us a comment telling us about your experience.
Do you use an alternative method of communication? Which one(s).