Sunday, 31 March 2013

#3 Your Secret is Safe With Me

Not being able to talk means being really good at keeping a secret.





How are you at keeping secrets?








Disclaimer: Views in the Not Being Able to Speak series are derived from my personal experience with Carter. I do not speak on behalf of others with complex communication needs. It is not my intent to minimize or disregard the power of expression that can be found through the use of augmentative and alternative forms of communication.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

#2 Talking With Your Mouth Full

Jack and Taylor need regular reminders to finish what's in their mouth before speaking. Let's face it, all of us do every now and again (seafood is great, but 'see' food isn't). When we remind the kids of this rule we often add that Carter is the only one who doesn't have to worry about it. 

Carter 'talks' with his mouth full all the time. He chomps down his food while asking questions and making comments during meals. 

His talker has some useful features like pre-programmed phrases suitable for school aged kids, a variety of synthesized childrens' voices; all in the name of creating a more authentic communication experience. But, nowhere is there an option to change the voice so that it sounds like the user is talking with a mouthful (now that would make for an authentic communication experience).

We've noticed lately that Carter has been overdoing things a bit with this advantage of his to literally 'talk with his mouth full.' I think when you hear this, you'll agree that he's really pushing the envelope. We delegate the job of dinner time  grace to Carter. It's a perfect way for him to participate at mealtime and he's proud to take on the task. 



When we sit down for dinner, Carter knows what he's to do. He presses a couple of buttons, gains access to his mealtime words, and then hits the button programmed for grace. And then? My presumptuous  little man picks up his fork and starts in on the first bite of his meal while his talker reels off grace. 

Not being able to talk means not having to worry about talking with your mouth full. It also means saying grace while, at the same time, getting started on your meal.



Do you ever need to be reminded not to talk with your mouth full?







Disclaimer: Views in the Not Being Able to Speak series are derived from my personal experience with Carter. I do not speak on behalf of others with complex communication needs. It is not my intent to minimize or disregard the power of expression that can be found through the use of augmentative and alternative forms of communication.

Monday, 25 March 2013

#1 Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Tomorrow Jack turns eight. Carter won't speak any birthday wishes to him. Nor will he sing as Jack blows out the candles on his cake...





...but that doesn't mean that Carter will be any less excited about his brother's big day.

Carter is older than Jack by 18 1/2 months, but in many ways Jack plays the role of older brother. Jack is one of Carter's favourite people in the world: his best friend, his sidekick, his playmate, his ally. The two have always had a special bond. 











Will it bother Jack that Carter can't say Happy Birthday to him like everybody else does? Not at all. He'll eagerly accept one of Carter's famous bear hugs in place of a spoken message. Jack will let Carter help him open his presents without complaint. And if Carter expresses something on his talker, Jack will patiently listen with interest to what he has to say.

Not being able to talk means not being able to speak the words, 'Happy Birthday' to your brother. But actions can speak louder than words. With my boys I see that every day.









What are you communicating with your actions?








Disclaimer: Views in the Not Being Able to Speak series are derived from my personal experience with Carter. I do not speak on behalf of others with complex communication needs. It is not my intent to minimize or disregard the power of expression that can be found through the use of augmentative and alternative forms of communication.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

On Inspiration (and Perspiration)

There's a quote about inspiration and perspiration that I'd love to use here in my intro, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is...

75% inspiration + 20% perspiration = 95% sweat stains...no, that's not it.

40% inspiration + 10% perspiration = 50% - halfway there, better keep working...no, that's not it either.

Let's forget the motivational sweatiness for now and move along, shall we? 

I'd like to say thank you. 100% pure and simple, thank you so very much! 
I was recently presented with the Inspiring Blog Award. What an honour! The award was given to me from a truly inspirational blogger herself: Ida Mae from Vision for Our Kids. Ida Mae's blog is comprised of a number of heartfelt stories about her family, mixed with a healthy dose of  educational and parental resources. Be sure to stop over and check out Ida Mae's brilliance. You won't be sorry that you did.

The timing of Ida Mae's presentation is somewhat apropos. I recently decided that I'm going to try doing things a bit differently here at More Than Words. My decision to make changes was inspired by some unique ideas that I've seen on other blogs.


Neil Pasricha's blog, 1000 Awesome Things is simple, yet very clever. What's not to like about a a blog whose sole purpose is to share things that are awesome?  Pasricha shares something awesome with his readers on a daily basis. Things like bakery air, finding money in your pocket, the smell of gasoline and popping bubble wrap.




Julie Powell's blog tells the story of her daily attempts at cooking. Over the course of a year, Julie cooked her way through every recipe in Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and then she blogged about it. Her blog was made into a book and then a movie (I have a small confession to make: I didn't actually read Julie's book or follow her blog, but I did see the movie). 

I was inspired by the ambition of these writers and by the fact that they had a specific purpose behind their writing. They set a goal to deliver a distinct message on a daily basis, and they stuck to it.


Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. That's the quote I was looking for!

I've shared with you my inspiration. Now I need to get to work. I've set up a blogging schedule for the next twelve months. Starting March 25th (my bloggiversary), my blog posts will take on a a whole new format. I can't promise that the new format will mean my writing will be genius (as in the quote above), but my goal is to write more consistently and to produce some thought provoking material. 


1 new blog format
365 days
122 blog posts


Let the perspiration begin! 

See you on the 25th.


Yep, I'm nervous but I'm also really excited!


Sunday, 10 March 2013

The 3Ps of My Writing, My Blogiversary and What's to Come?


It's been three weeks since I wrote my last post. Three weeks! To be honest, I haven't been feeling very inspired lately. 

I blame the 3Ps for my absence. 
  • Perfectionism 
  • Privacy 
  • Procrastination                                           
It goes something like this: 

An idea forms in my head (Yes! I'll write about that next), and inevitably one (or all) of the 3Ps does a slice and dice on my idea before it has the chance to travel from my brain to my keyboard:



1. My perfectionism has  me talking myself out of writing about my idea. I become convinced that I won't be able to write anything interesting on the topic so why would I even try?


and / or

2. My privacy monitor has me questioning whether I should share certain information here on my blog.

and always accompanying 1. and 2. the mother of the 3Ps

      3. Procrastination. Of the three, she's the most self explanatory. I'm sure some of you are familiar with her. Toilets glisten, kitchen appliances shine, even Carter's talker screen, caked with crusty bits of last night's dinner, gets a good cleaning yet, my computer screen stays blank and another day passes.

My blogiversary falls toward the end of the month. Roughly one year ago I created More Than Words. I set up this blog platform,  pecked out my first blog post and clicked the publish button on March 25th, 2012, officially staking my claim to a minuscule piece of the densely populated blogosphere.


During my uninspired three week hiatus, I mulled over the status of my blog: Have I accomplished my goals? Where do I want to go from here?


I started blogging because I love to write. I'd written for the Waterloo Region Family Network blog and I'd done some guest posts for Holland Bloorview's Bloom Blog. More than once I was told that I should start my own blog. When we moved to our new home, I finally decided to go for it. I would share  how everyone was doing after our move (and how Carter was doing at his new school)  through a blog.

Once I got started, I realized that I wanted to offer more. I wanted to use my blog as a platform to talk about Carter's unique form of communication. I wanted to connect with others, to offer them our story in hopes that it might be helpful. 


Have I accomplished what I set out to do? 

I've told Carter's story. I've shared. I've connected with others. I'd like to think that what I've offered here has been helpful, maybe even a bit entertaining. So, now what?

There will always be things to share about Carter's challenges and triumphs and I'll continue to share them here (not to worry, I'll also continue to share pics of the kids). My original goals have not changed, but my creative side is feeling a bit stifled. I think it's time to change my approach and try doing things a bit differently. 

How will I do that? What will my future blog posts look like? Stay tuned. You won't want to miss what's coming next at More Than Words!