Writing is my passion. As it happens I also need to write in order to speak. And I’m increasingly asked to ‘speak’ at events, but unlike most people I can’t present to slides and alter my words on the day to fit the audience, I have to write a script in full for each event. Mulling over ideas and fine tuning my words takes days and weeks, and often the final presentation has encased within it hours and hours of work from me, my friend Alaric (who voices my writing), my mother, carers and Sarah who put it all together in a PowerPoint. In all it takes about two hours for me to write and edit one minute of script, and the team another hour per minute to create the final presentation.
This term has been busy, hours and hours of busy! A few weeks ago I was very grateful for the opportunity through the Straight Talking AAC Group in Dundee University (which I join on Zoom every fortnight) to speak to second year medical students. Sharing experiences as a non-verbal person and asking awkward questions about assumed incompetency was fun.
Thanks to a pandemic accelerated paradigm shift in attitudes towards what is possible in lecture theatres, I am now able to ‘visit’ universities anywhere with Teach Us Too. So far this term we’ve done a live question and answer session with MA Education students at Dundee University and BA Early Childhood Studies at Teeside University. If you know of a course that would benefit from this please get in contact.
On Saturday I was honoured to speak at a Through the Roof event encouraging more people to champion the inclusion and involvement of disabled people in church. Seeing all the people log on to the morning gave me great hope for the church.
At the beginning of Saturday’s meeting someone from Through The Roof explained that as an organisation they don’t use the phrase ‘persons with disabilities’, but rather ‘disabled people’ as we are more disabled by the society we live in than by our illnesses. Unfortunately, those attitudes still exist in the education system, but through the charity I set up, Teach Us Too, we are trying to break down those assumptions. After half-term there is an excellent free literacy training opportunity for teachers and professionals working with students who use AAC, sponsored by Teach Us Too; please pass this on to anyone who might be interested.
Happy half term!