Amelia Bell to Everyone

Insights from a Conversation with Amelia Bell

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, Spellebrity

The title of this piece comes from zoom chat. When I met Amelia for our interview, when she typed her responses to me on her keyboard, her words would show up on my screen under this legend – Amelia Bell to Everyone. At the time of her interview, I had already read Amelia’s luminous poetry, knew of her passion for reading. A few days before, I met her at a webinar where we all had a spirited conversation about the representation of neurodivergent people in media. I was eager and excited to meet her. This time as an All Star Spellebrity nominated and selected by her peers for recognition as an influencer. Amelia Bell to Everyone is a fitting title for her passion, her words and the influence she wields.

~Lakshmi Rao Sankar

we are other together

the reason i weaken the yearning i am broken
i am other the anger of my raving
the anger of my fate the monster in my ether
say other say anger say wrong say other
am other not alone am other am other
i am other i am half apart i am danger
i am the risk the deviant the idiot the other the nothing
i am here i am hearing i am
am other am angry am alone am among a song
among a wisp of great knowledge a wisp of ambition a wisp of other
am winding am diving am seeing am seen am belonging
am other together

Amelia Bell
Published by Chris Martin, The Listening World

If you were to introduce yourself to a new audience, how would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as an unreliable/nonspeaker, an advocate for those whose motor difficulties prevent them from fully communicating through speech, and an aspiring poet. 

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, SpellebrityWhy poetry? Why does writing poetry appeal to you? How would you describe your poems?

Poetry is a dear method of reaching, veering into sating spheres of treading and bearing.  My hope is that my poems hurl minds into motion, creating swaying, breath easing, stress freeing.

If you were to reimagine the world, what would it look like? AND/OR How would you like the world to change for spellers?

Real change for spellers would be an understanding that we are not just competent but that many of us, even after gaining communication through spelling, are greatly underestimated and dearly lacking a fair means to develop and share our extraordinary abilities. 

What impact has spelling to communicate had on your life?

This is a life-altering shift that is difficult to overstate. It is the difference between the most rudimentary education and being able to take high school-level advanced placement courses. Before I started spelling in June 2020, I was being taught first-grade materials and now I can choose and experience appropriate classes. …

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, SpellebrityMost importantly, spelling has brought me relationships I had never imagined would be possible, friendships that have made my life full and very much represent the greatest benefit of communication. Communication has allowed me to have a romantic relationship filled with joy, and it has led to closer relationships with dear family members.

What are the ways you have had an impact on the world?

I hope that showing the world that I am so much more than what was previously assumed will have an impact. My hope is that parents and educators who are making decisions for nonspeakers in their lives will see stories like mine and rethink their approach and give real consideration to presuming competence.

There are more male nonspeakers than females. Are there any insights you would like to share with other young women – neurotypical and neurodivergent?

This is emotional for me, it is a unique experience of loneliness to be an autistic nonspeaker without a means to communicate, in part because as a female there is an additional sense of “other” when the vast majority of autistics are male. Part of that has to do with gender expectations and reactions to body dysregulation. Fortunately, since S2C, I have met female autistics who I have formed close bonds with and with whom there is an unparalleled sense of understanding.

Amelia, may you continue to rise and shine, and may your words and poetry bring much to spellers everywhere.

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, SpellebrityAmelia is always supportive and understanding , and described by family and friends as caring, thoughtful, “a really awesome friend and really smart too. …she finds the good in all things and makes me smile.” She is most proud of her ability to persevere. “I am very honored to be considered for this. Since I started spelling 15 months ago my whole world has exploded in the best ways.

 

 

Here are some links to Amelia’s work

We are together, Poem by Amelia Bell @ Chris Martin, The Listening World

 Currents-Recurrence, Poem by Amelia Bell @Chris Martin, The Listening World

Boards and Chords 2021 Presentation

Spell X 2020 Presentation

Spell X 2021 Presentation

 

The mission of I-ASC is to advance communication access for nonspeaking individuals globally through trainingeducationadvocacy and research I-ASC supports all forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with a focus on methods of spelling and typing. I-ASC currently offers Practitioner training in Spelling to Communicate (S2C)with the hope that other methods of AAC using spelling or typing will join our association

Posted By on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 in Advocacy,Autism,Community,Families,Nonspeakers,S2C,Spelling to Communicate

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