About the Stories

One particular commitment of the Everyone Communicates website is to present the writings and stories of individuals who communicate by using augmentative and alternative communication methods. Through their writings, individuals tell us of struggles, successes, failures, hopes, and dreams. Among other things, they tell what it is like

Each story is different and each storyteller has a unique voice. When we read and listen with open hearts and open minds, we can open up our thinking to new perspectives. Read carefully, listen hard, listen well, and keep on listening. Be prepared to have your previous perspectives challenged by these individuals who share their writings and provide new perspectives on their lives. In doing so, they become highly effective teachers for those open to learning from their first-hand experience.

Some of the writings and stories reside directly on the Everyone Communicates website. For writings which reside on other websites worldwide, we provide links.
View the stories of AAC and FC users

When a family member who has a severe communication impairment gains the ability to communicate more effectively, the family dynamics and interpersonal relationships can change dramatically. The individual who now communicates more effectively (after losing communication temporarily or after a lifetime of limited communication) has the opportunity to be more fully involved in contributing to the conversations and relationships that make up the fabric of the family. Parents, family, and friends often play a significant role in supporting an individual's use of augmentative communication. They must adjust their interactions to include the individual who previously may not have been participating in conversations and decisions. They must also adjust to a change of roles within the family or friendship as the emerging AAC user takes on a different role (or assumes a former one using a new method of communicating).

For some individual AAC users, this new role is greatly different from the previous role the individual had before effective communication was achieved. Some individuals have been mistakenly regarded as intellectually disabled prior to the time when they developed effective communication through use of an augmentative communication system. For these individuals, gaining effective communication provides them the opportunity (perhaps for the first time) to let people know what they understand, to communicate about what is important to them, to have genuine conversations, and to take a more active role in learning and in directing his or her life.

Some parents, families, and friends have shared their stories of these personal and family experiences. We encourage you to read and learn from their perspectives. Some of the writings and stories reside directly on the Everyone Communicates website. For writings which reside on other websites worldwide, we provide links.
View the stories of friends and family

Oftentimes, a teacher, adult service provider, communication specialist, or other professional is the first to introduce augmentative communication to a person with a severe communication impairment. This communication partner may introduce AAC in following up on statements of parents, family, or friends that the individual understands more than people typically assume. In other cases, the communication partner may instead be actively taking the approach that ISAAC (International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication), ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association), and others recommend: presume competence, provide access and training for augmentative communication, and provide ongoing support to the individual and to people in the individual's communication network (parents, family, friends) to help the individual to develop more effective communication.

Whatever the reason for providing access to augmentative communication, when the right communication support is provided to an individual with a communication impairment, the result sometimes is surprising. Individuals who have been presumed to be lacking in understanding have sometimes been able to demonstrate that they understand what is going on around them but that they have been unable to let anyone know due to some barrier to the use of speech, gestures, or handwriting.
View the stories of facilitators

Read more stories from individuals involved in all aspects of alternative communication methods.