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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Song: I'm a Yankee Doodle Advocate--ADA & AAC Advocacy song

I’m a Yankee Doodle Advocate – ADA & AAC song, ISAAC International AAC Awareness task force and TASH Communication Committee (tune: chorus of I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy by George M. Cohan; public domain song)

I’m a Yankee Doodle Advocate,
A Yankee Doodle do or die,
A real campaigner for the ADA
Signed in the month of July.
I’ve got a Yankee Doodle vision
For the future you will see:
Social justice, full inclusion, opportunity
And equity, yes, for one and all.

Welcome ADA campaigners.
It’s good to see you here today.
We come together here to celebrate.
Yes, we have come a long way.
But we still need to advocate for
Communication rights you see.
People live in silence needing good communication
Time to campaign for A-A-C.

Everyone needs to communicate
And needs literacy, too.
A conversation helps to set us free.
Mentors help both you and me.
We know that role models can show us
Endless possibilities:
Self-determination and communication freedom,
They are a right for you and me.

Yes we all need conversation
Anywhere and anytime
With anyone and about anything
That we may have on our minds.
We all need self-determination
With communication rights,
Social justice, full inclusion, opportunity
And equity, yes, for one and all.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Song: If I Had a VOCA (Voice Output Communication Aid)

If I Had a VOCA (Voice Output Communication Aid) (Tune: If I Had a Hammer)*


If I had a VOCA,
I'd talk in the morning
I'd talk in the evening
All over this land.
I'd talk about justice,
I'd talk about freedom,
I'd talk about love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a keyboard,
I'd type in the morning,
I'd type in the evening,
All over this land.
I'd type about justice,
I'd type about freedom,
I'd type about love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a story,
I'd write it in the morning,
I'd write it in the evening,
All over this land.
I'd write about justice,
I'd write about freedom,
I'd write about love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Well I got a VOCA,
And I got a keyboard,
And I got a story to write,
All over this land.
It's the VOCA of Justice,
It's the keyboard of Freedom,
It's the story about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

It's the VOCA of Justice,
It's the keyboard of Freedom,
It's the story about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.


NOTE: Original words and music of "If I Had a Hammer" were by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger. The arrangement used in "If I Had a VOCA" on YouTube was by Peter, Paul and Mary, who brought the Hays and Seeger song to an older, now, and future generation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJi_Si_jTHk

Song: It's a Long Way to Conversation (AAC and Literacy Advocacy)

It’s a Long Way to Conversation:  AAC and Literacy Advocacy Song (to the tune of chorus only of "It’s a Long Way to Tipperary")


It’s a long way to conversation.
It’s a long way to go.
Literacy will help you.
You will need mentors also.
Role models, too, can show you
Endless possibilities.
It’s a long, long way to conversation,
But my heart's right there.

Come and let me tell you more now.
I talk with technology.
People call it A-A-C.
It provides a voice for me.
You wonder how it works now.
Let me show you then you’ll see.
It was a long, long way to conversation,
But it was waiting for me.


A-A-C now what IS that?
Ways to choose, discuss and chat.
If it is hard to speak then,
Alternatives may help with that.
Pointing, signing and typing,
Eye-gaze or switch to press.
It’s a long long way to conversation,
But you’ll get there yet.

Who really needs A-A-C?
Many people you will see.
Anyone who cannot find
How to speak what’s on their mind.
Never doubt that A-A-C
Sets thoughts and feelings free.
It’s a long, long way to conversation,
But it’s a good place to be!

There’s one more thing that you must know now.
Hear us well before we go.
Everyone communicates, yes,
Listen and facilitate.
Silence won’t have to rule now
People just need A-A-C.
It’s a long, long way to conversation,
But that’s where we’ll be.

So to set free our conversation,
Teach us literacy.
Help us connect with mentors,
‘Cause they help both you and me.
Role models, too, can show us
Endless possibilities.
It’s a long, long way to conversation,
But it’s a great place to be.

Song: She'll Be Using Her Technology to Talk (AAC song)

She’ll Be Using Her Technology to Talk (She’ll Have Freedom to Communicate at Last) (tune: She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain)

She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain when she comes
She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain when she comes
She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain
She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain
She’ll be coming ‘round the mountain when she comes.

Oh we’ll all come out to meet her when she comes
Oh we’ll all come out to meet her when she comes
Oh we’ll all come out to meet her
Oh we’ll all come out to meet her
Oh we’ll all come out to meet her when she comes.

She’ll be using her technology to talk.
She’ll be using her technology to talk.
She’ll be using her technology,
Using her technology,
Using her technology to talk.

She will wave and say “How are you?” to us all.
She will wave and say “How are you?” to us all.
She will wave and say “How are you?”
And she’ll tell us “I have missed you!”
She will wave and say “How are you?” to us all.

She will talk with anybody when she comes.
She will talk with anybody when she comes.
She will talk with anybody—
Anytime and Anywhere and
About anything she wants to when she comes.

She will tell us jokes and stories when she comes.
She will tell us jokes and stories when she comes.
Anywhere and anytime and
She may even sing and rhyme and
We will have great conversations when she comes.

We will talk with her 'til midnight when she comes.
We will talk with her 'til midnight when she comes.
We will talk with her 'til midnight,
We will laugh and have a good time,
We will talk with her til midnight when she comes.

She’ll have Freedom to Communicate at last.
She’ll have Freedom to Communicate at last.
She’ll have Freedom to Communicate,
Yes Freedom to Communicate,
Yes Freedom to Communicate at last.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Song: Take Me to Conversation: AAC and Literacy Advocacy

Take Me to Conversation: AAC Awareness Song
(tune of Take Me Out to the Ballgame)

I must have conversation.
Teach me literacy.
It will set my conversation free.
You must introduce mentors to me.
And of course role models with help me
Because they show what can be
Self-determination and more possibilities.

Come and hang out with me, I
Talk with technology.
People call it AAC, you know,
It gives me a strong voice and although
You may think perhaps it cannot be,
I’ll show you and you’ll see,
Conversation works very well with my A-A-C.

A-A-C is just ways to
Choose, discuss, and to chat.
If perhaps speaking is hard, you see,
Then alternatives may be the key,
And with pointing, signing or typing,
Eye-gaze or switches to press
Conversation happens and takes away lots of stress.

Who you ask needs A-A-C?
Many people you see
Anyone who tries and cannot find
How to speak to say what’s on their mind.
You must never doubt that A-A-C
Sets thoughts and feelings free.
A-A-C conversation gets better with literacy.

One last thing that you must know,
Hear us before we go.
Yes, everyone does communicate.
Listen well and facilitate.
And then silence won’t have to rule ‘cause
People have A-A-C.
You can make a difference presuming competence.

So yes . . .
We all need conversation.
We need literacy.
Yes, conversation can set us free.
Mentors also help both you and me.
And of course role models can help us,
Because they show what can be:
Self-determination and more possibilities.

Song: Yankee Doodle AAC Advocate: Communication Rights (short version)

Here are lyrics I wrote in honor of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, using the George M. Cohan tune (which is now in the public domain).  Anyone who wishes to use them is welcome to do so.  I would love to hear of any occasions when they are sung. 

Yankee Doodle AAC Advocate: Communication Rights Song (tune: I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy)

I’m a Yankee Doodle Advocate,
A Yankee Doodle do or die,
A real campaigner for the ADA
Signed in the month of July.
I’ve got a Yankee Doodle vision
For the future, you will see:
Self-determination and communication freedom.
We must campaign for A-A-C.

Everyone needs to communicate
And needs literacy, too.
A conversation helps to set us free.
Mentors help both you and me.
We know that role models can show us
Endless possibilities:
Self-determination and communication freedom,
They are a right for you and me.