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“Communication is universal, with access, agency, and autonomy, everyone can be heard”

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What is Spelling to Communicate? (S2C)

 Spelling to Communicate teaches individuals with motor challenges the purposeful motor skills necessary to point to letters to spell as an alternative means of communication. Skilled and rigorously trained communication partners teach purposeful motor skills using a heirarchy of verbal and gestural prompts. Teaching and motor practice centers around engaging cognitive lessons. 

Motor skills progress along an increasingly complex hierarchy from pointing to letters to typing independently on a keyboard. Once students have achieved the motor skills for autonomous communication, the focus expands to develop whole-body purposeful movement for daily living and achieving personal goals.

Integration of cognitive and motor skills leads to improved physical and emotional regulation. Communication and motor control leads to improved access, quality of life and opportunities to be contributing members of society.

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Eye Tracking Research

About one-third of autistic people have limited ability to use speech. Some have learned to communicate by pointing to letters of the alphabet. But this method is controversial because it requires the assistance of another person—someone who holds a letterboard in front of users and so could theoretically cue them to point to particular letters. Indeed, some scientists have dismissed the possibility that any nonspeaking autistic person who communicates with assistance could be conveying their own thoughts. 

In the study reported here, head-mounted eye-tracking was used to investigate communicative agency in a sample of nine nonspeaking autistic letterboard users. The speed and accuracy with which they looked at and pointed to letters as they responded to novel questions was measured. Participants pointed to about one letter per second, rarely made spelling errors, and visually fixated most letters about half a second before pointing to them. Additionally, their response times reflected planning and production processes characteristic of fluent spelling in non-autistic typists. These findings render a cueing account of participants’ performance unlikely: The speed, accuracy, timing, and visual fixation patterns suggest that participants pointed to letters they selected themselves, not letters they were directed to by the assistant. The blanket dismissal of assisted autistic communication is therefore unwarranted. Read the Full Report Here

reconsider...

Reframing "Severe" Autism

Damon was one of many incredible presenters as SpellX 2020
SpellX is a global, ground-breaking, salon-style event, featuring short presentations by nonspeaking people who spell and type!
SpellX takes place in 6 virtual salons spanning 6 geographical regions/time zones making SpellX available to communities across the world and the spellerverse! Each salon is hosted by nonspeaking and speaking emcees who will present recorded presentations from the spellers and interact with the audience.

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Giving Tuesday

Imagine that you are the parent of a nonspeaker. Imagine that for years, you have been searching for a way for your child to be able to communicate. You know that they’re intelligent and that they have so much to say, but you haven’t found a way to help them express themselves. One day, you hear about a method called Spelling to Communicate, and you are ecstatic that you’ve found a way to communicate with your child. We don’t want anything to stand in the way of this excitement.

We understand that there are considerable financial obstacles for families these days, and we refuse to let finances be a barrier to accessing communication. Today, we are raising money to ensure that no nonspeaker is left without communication. Today, we invite you to give towards our Speller Access Fund. 

change...

Change the Life of a Nonspeaking
Child or Adult

We understand that there are considerable financial obstacles for families these days, and we don’t want finances to be a barrier to access to communication. We have been actively working on raising funds to help new spellers who need financial assistance to afford S2C sessions with a registered S2C Practitioner.  We have achieved some fundraising goals and are ready to launch our Speller Access Fund. 

Included in the New Speller Access Fund are a set of stencil letterboards, two workbooks, and vouchers for 5 sessions with a registered S2C Practitioner participating in the Speller Access Fund Program. 

Be on the lookout for I-ASC Executive director Elizabeth Vosseller in...

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Read...

This is a HUGE moment for NONSPEAKING PEOPLE everywhere! We particularly love film director’s, Jerry Rothwell, comment thanking the young people who are in the film for “reminding him of a different way of being human.” Long time spellers Benjamin McGann and Emma Budway are powerful representatives in this film for ALL nonspeaking, minimally and unreliably speaking people who spell or type to communicate! 

In Underestimated: Jamison (Jamie) Handley is an eighteen-year-old nonspeaker who was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. Thanks to a new communication method called Spelling to Communicate, Jamison is now able to fully communicate and switched from a “life skills” classroom to a regular academic classroom at his high school and will be graduating in 2022. Jamison hopes to inspire others with his story and dedicate his life to advocating for the rights of all nonspeakers. 

grow with us...

Nonspeaking, minimally speaking and unreliably speaking people have long been undervalued and underserved, this is unacceptable.  Donations to I-ASC help us pursue our vision that nonspeaking individuals will have equitable and supported access to all aspects of life long education, employment, relationships, and community by increasing access to communication through training, education, advocacy and research.