By Grace Trumpower for AAC Awareness Month
Author’s Note: Sociology suggests that the average person waits about two to four seconds before expecting a response from their communication partner in any given conversation, which puts people who use augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) at a significant disadvantage.
I use AAC to help me move past scripted responses and say what I am really thinking. Speech is very tiring for me, and I often use a script instead of what I want to say to avoid a longer conversation. Sometimes I lose my speech entirely, and my speech device allows me to continue to participate in social interactions. It has opened up a lot of opportunities for me, but I am often frustrated because people do not like to wait for me to finish typing. It is important to respect a person’s chosen method of communication and make conversations accessible to everyone, and it is worth the effort, too; you never know what amazing things you might get to hear!
I revel in my silence
like a child revels in the splashing of a swimming pool.
I am cool and calm and free.
I don’t want to be pulled into the noise.
But the world doesn’t give me
Insisting that the words from my fingers
my real voice.
But they are.
I could retire
my old, empty
scripts left hanging limply
from the edge of my lips
and give you something
with a little more substance.
you would only let me.
You see, my mouth always says things like
But I struggle to so much as
narrate my day.
And, in the end, I give you nothing.
I could tell you my hopes and my dreams and my fears
and what I see myself doing
these next twenty years.
If only you’d WAIT
but you WON’T.
I feel sorry for the both of us.