One of the Awesome-est Advocates: Samantha Strong
Last March, we had the opportunity to connect with an amazingly kind and dedicated representative from Prentke Romich, Nick’s speech device .
Samantha Strong met some of the AiA team in Fort Collins (all the way from Lafayette) at Starry Night coffee shop.
Not only did she buy us drinks, but she spent her afternoon sharing funny stories and learning all about Awesome in Action, Co. Nick says Samantha has a great laugh, and works well with his speech device. We love her patient and flexible demeanor, and her philanthropic nature.
With and impending large presentation at a school in Merino, Co, we reached out to Samantha once again for help in early April. Samantha enthusiastically stepped in to run our speech device station during 2 separate workshops at this all day event. She brought 4 speech devices to give the students a chance to try speaking with Augmentative Communication, and guided them in the use of the equipment. During our break, she even printed out new guides for the students, as the materials we had did not match with her newer technology. In addition to this, she invited Speech Language Pathologists from the neighboring school district to learn about the technology as she taught the students….talk about efficiency! Nick says “Samantha is warm-hearted because she helps students.”
Clearly, Samantha has gone above and beyond her role as a representative for her company. She offered assistance to us in our time of need, but also spends much of her free time helping out her community. Samantha has organized a story time at her local library in which the children hear stories read on an assistive speech device. Samantha is a great asset to the Awesome in Action community, as well as any other that is lucky enough to have her!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Conversing: Speech Device Etiquette brought to you by Awesome in Action
After many, many years and conversations in the community with people unfamiliar with Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Nick and his team have put together a comprehensive guideline for the average Joe (or Joe-ette) to reference. Hope it helps all parties within a conversation!
We’ll Start with the Do’s, since they seem more positive:
Do…Hear me. Listen to my words, and ask me to turn up my device or repeat if you do not understand.
Do…Focus on me when I’m talking. My words are important, too.
Do…Realize it is hard to speak in complete thoughts. It takes a lot of work for me to move my arms and find the right word on my speech device
Do…Recognize that I use a combination of gestures and words to get my point across.
Do…Understand my care providers are here to help me communicate. I am the one who wants to talk to you.
Do…Talk to me, not about me or above me.
Do…Talk to me like you would anyone else. I have a sense of humor, and I am just like you!
Do...Respect my personal boundaries. I do not need to be touched while you are talking to me. Family members and care providers need to remember this especially!
Do…Wait for me to finish talking. Be o.k. with quiet as I look for the correct words.
Do…Minimize distractions, it takes a bit of focus for me to communicate.
And now for the Don’ts….
Don’t….Talk too loud. I have a great sense of hearing, my friends call me “bat ears”
Don’t…Move too fast.I need to look at my speech device and cannot always have eye contact with you. Sometimes I miss gestures or facial expressions that you may need to repeat.
Don’t… try to respond for me because I am taking too long.
Don’t…assume I’m unintelligent and talk down to me just because it takes me awhile to respond.
Don’t… talk above my head. I can hear and I have feelings!
Don’t….ask me to perform. I will say the things I want to say when I want to say them (and deal with the repercussions!)