SLP & A students enthusiastic about AAC
On the afternoon of 5 April 2016, 15 eager students (enrolled for their final year in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Sefako Makkgatho University) visited the Centre for AAC together with their lecturer, Prof Anna-Marie Wium, a former staff (and founding) member of the Centre.
Two persons using AAC (Carla van Nieuwenhuizen, aged 25, and Zainab Omar, aged 12), shared their experiences and expertise with the students. People’s impatience in communicating with a person using AAC is a major barrier to interaction, Zainab indicated. She also reminded students that people who use AAC have a lot to share, including their emotions! Carla challenged students to look beyond the disability and see the person. She shared how using AAC had helped her to fulfil a public relations and advocacy position for a stimulation centre for children with disabilities.
Students were also given a brief introduction about AAC technology and then had the chance to handle and use some of the communication aids and interact with Carla and Zainab. By all accounts, student found the exposure inspiring and helpful. In reflecting on the visit, one student (Mr T. Lekgoro) commented:
“This trip on its own illustrated the multicomponent element that rests at the centre of what AAC is; multidisciplinary with the client as the sailor of the ship. I was excited to be in the midst of the users more than anything. Seeing them in action while demonstrating the use of their systems, and communicating effectively brought new life to my understanding of the theoretical work I and others in class have had our noses in, in attempts to understand. …I love AAC and who knows, perhaps I might just specialise in it.”
It is great to see the enthusiasm of these young professionals – may they keep the AAC flame burning brightly as they embark on their careers of serving those with communication challenges.
Zainab and Carla sharing a personal perspective on AAC
Zainab demonstrating AAC device features