Z: When considering etiquette on the letter boards it is crucial to note that kindness is key. A communication partner should be patient and consistent. Spellers need to be able to count on their CRPs for many things, one of the most important being regulation.
N: Zach, my friend, I couldn’t agree more. Respect and regulation…my two favorite ‘R’ words.
N: My first and most important guideline has to be that we keep spelling between individuals who have been trained to work with one another.
Z: 1000% agree. It is so dysregulating when someone lacking training with me drops a board expecting reliable pokes. I work incredibly hard to utilize my form of communication. It simply isn’t fair for someone to hinder my progress with their carelessness.
N: I appreciate that people want to spell with me. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that what I think matters. That said, I can’t spell with just anyone. I could accidentally spell something I don’t mean or spell nonsense words, and in both scenarios, I’m left frustrated, misunderstood and dysregulated.
Z: Those who wish to spell with me should seek training with a practitioner and myself. We need to drive home the fact that every speller is different. We each have different motor abilities, sensory needs, and personalities. What works for one will certainly not work for all.
N: Right on point, Z. It is important to me that anyone wishing to communicate with me as a CRP ask me first. That means approaching me and my current CRP to ask permission to spell with me. This ensures that my response is accurate and reliable. If I choose not to spell with you it doesn’t mean I don’t want to communicate with you. I love having conversations with as many people as possible. It’s just that I must have a CRP that has been trained to work with me to have the ability to fully communicate.
Z: PERMISSION!!! We are people, we have rights. Please always presume competence and ask US the questions. Our CRPs are awesome! But they are aiding us in communication, not speaking on our behalf.
Nicolas Segrera is a nonspeaking advocate for Disability Rights. Much of his time is spent advocating for both himself and his community. He serves as a Director of Tampa Bay Letter Board Community and co-founder of Forging Friendships.
Zachariah Scheu is on the board of directors of Tampa Bay Letter Board Community. He has used S2C as his preferred method of communication for 5 years. His dream as a nonspeaker is to shatter the ground that society’s misconceptions about neurodiverse individuals were founded on. Zach hopes to one day find a position to utilize his strengths in advocacy to change the lives of other nonspeakers.