AAC Campaign--Get people talking about AAC and help more people get access to communication technology, training and ongoing support

We are continuing our efforts to bring awareness and understanding of the need for anyone who has limited communication to gain access to other ways to communicate, termed AAC (augmentative and alternative communication methods). These methods include other ways to speak, write and read such as electronic talking aids, computers, tablet computers, boards and books with pictures, words, and letters, Talking Mats, Communication Passports, eye-gaze, partner-assisted scanning, facilitated communication training, Rapid Prompting Method, gesture and sign language, and captioning. We encourage you to learn more and to teach others about AAC methods and how they can help with expression and with understanding what is being said.

Here are some ideas for learning more about AAC, increasing the visibility of AAC and people who use it, and helping people who use AAC to teach others about communication. Invite a person who uses AAC to make a speech or other presentation. Invite a person who uses AAC to demonstrate their communication method and to have a conversation so that others may learn better to interact with and listen to people who use various AAC systems. Host a film about AAC and invite people who use AAC to share their experiences with the audience. Connect people who are new to using AAC to communicate with mentors who are experienced users of AAC. Work with people who use AAC and their families and supporters to organize fundraising events to raise funds for AAC devices in your local area and to share information about AAC. Get local news media to interview people who use AAC and to print stories about AAC technology, the numbers of people who need AAC but may not have access, the lack of professionals trained in AAC, and related issues.

AAC Visibility and Awareness Project

Thursday, March 31, 2016

TASH New Resolution on the Right to Communicate 2016 

TASH Resolution on the Right to Communicate – Cover Letter

The TASH Board of Directors has revised and finalized a new Resolution on the Right to Communicate in response to member recommendations. The Resolution was reviewed and supported by these prominent TASH members, many of whom worked together on the revision. We thank these members for their support and dedication to TASH’s mission.
Judy Bailey
Fredda Brown
Pascal Cheng
Harvey Lavoy
George Singer
Tracy Thresher
Julia M. White
Don Cardinal
Marty Agran
Fred Spooner
Christy Ashby
Rob Horner
Jean Trainor
Nate Trainor
Darlene Hanson
Susan Yuan
Mary Falvey
Jeff Strully
Pat Mirenda
Rita Rubin
Sue Rubin
As an organization, TASH has always supported the right of all people with disabilities to full and equal access and meaningful inclusion in schools, the workplace, and communities. This has long included a focus on the fundamental right to communicate. For more than two decades, TASH has had a statement on the Right to Communicate. This resolution reaffirms TASH’s support for the right of people to utilize their desired means of expression, including access to the alternative and augmentative communication systems and supports of their choice. For many years, this resolution specifically listed Facilitated Communication (FC) as one of those possible systems or methodologies.
At the most recent TASH conference in 2015, a small group of interested members met, including researchers both in support of the method and those that are not in favor of its utilization, practitioners, and an individual who uses FC. Their discussions included concerns related to scientifically based research around FC and the perception that, in light of recent events in the media, TASH was withdrawing its support for FC, and in turn, individuals who use FC. The outcome of this almost four-hour meeting was a suggested revision to the Resolution on the Right to Communicate that included the removal of facilitated communication from specific mention in the statement. The rationale for removal was to recognize that while TASH continues to support the fundamental right of all people to communicate using their desired method and have that communication respected by others, it is not the position of the organization to recommend, support, or deny any specific communication device, approach, or methodology. The revised Resolution on the Right to Communicate, drafted by these members, is intentionally broad so as to be relevant to all people with communication needs and to be responsive to the ever evolving research in the fields of developmental disability and communication.
The drafters of this revised resolution are hopeful that this change is not perceived as a weakening of support for individuals with complex communication needs and their rights to have their preferred communication methods available and supported. Facilitated Communication has always been subject to controversy which continues today. However, there are many members of TASH who have benefited from this method and their communication must be fully considered.
We trust that all TASH members are united in a belief that the role of TASH is to support its members and to be in alliance with all people with disabilities who face oppression, marginalization, and doubt. A grounding principle of TASH is the presumption of competence and self-determination, which necessitates a willingness to consider all possibilities and provide the widest range of options for communication for all people.
Sincerely,
Ralph Edwards, President
Barb Trader, Executive Director

TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs – those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through research, education, and advocacy. The inclusive practices TASH validates through research have been shown to improve outcomes for all people. More information about TASH can be found atwww.tash.org.
TASH | 2013 H Street NW, Suite 404 | Washington, D.C. 20006 | (202) 540-9020 | info@tash.org
Copyright © 2015 TASH, All rights reserved.
http://tash.org/resolution-right-communicate-cover-letter/ 


TASH Resolution on the Right to Communicate

Statement of Purpose
The right to communicate is both a basic human right and the means by which all other rights are realized. All people communicate, and are presumed to have an active interest in communicating their decisions and choices. In the name of fully realizing the guarantee of individual rights, we must ensure:
• that all people have a means of communication which allows their fullest participation in the wider world; and
• that their communication is heeded by others.
Where people lack an adequate communication system, they deserve to have others collaborate with them to discover and secure an appropriate system. No person should have this right denied because they have been diagnosed as having a particular disability. Access to effective means of communication is a free speech issue.
Rationale
Freedom to Communicate. People with communication disabilities must be allowed to use the communication system of their own choice in all communication interactions in any setting. In no case should an individual be left without a means to communicate. This includes all forms of augmentative and alternative communication, assistive technology, and access to a variety of effective methods and strategies. In any instances where such use is forbidden, there should be recourse to the legal and protective systems.
Access to Communication. All persons with disabilities communicate, and should have access to opportunities to learn to communicate effectively. All people with communication disabilities should have continuous access to and use of augmentative and alternative communication. “Access” includes: a) access to assessment to aid in choosing a suitable method, b) access to training in the method, c) access to any equipment needed, both in the short term during training and in the longer term for continued use on a daily basis if training is successful, and d) access to skilled and trained support partners so communication can take place across environments; e) access to ongoing evaluation of progress in whatever method the individual chooses and modifications as indicated; and f) access to adequate funding to ensure long term training, support, and needed equipment.
Education and Life-Long Learning. Instruction is an essential element of learning to communicate. People using augmentative or alternative communication must be given any assistance necessary in order to communicate with others across the life span. The individual support team must ensure that any equipment, training, or staffing necessary for continued communication is provided to that person and to those with whom he or she wishes to interact on a regular basis. The individual support team must ensure that the person’s communication system and supports follow the person when transitioning across the life span.
Respectfully submitted by:
Judy Bailey
Fredda Brown
Pascal Cheng
Harvey Lavoy
George Singer
Tracy Thresher
Julia M. White
Don Cardinal
Marty Agran
Fred Spooner
Christy Ashby
Rob Horner
Jean Trainor
Nate Trainor
Darlene Hanson
Susan Yuan
Mary Falvey
Jeff Strully
Pat Mirenda
Rita Rubin
Sue Rubin
For more background information on the Resolution on Right to Communicate, view the cover letter.

TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs – those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through research, education, and advocacy. The inclusive practices TASH validates through research have been shown to improve outcomes for all people. More information about TASH can be found atwww.tash.org.
TASH | 2013 H Street NW, Suite 404 | Washington, D.C. 20006 | (202) 540-9020 | info@tash.org
Copyright © 2015 TASH, All rights reserved.