News

Press Release

April 1st, 2020

I-ASC COVID-19 Response

We hope this newsletter finds you all healthy, safely hunkering down at home, and with some degree of mental and physical well being. I think we can all agree – staying home; learning and working at home; relying on family to be your CRP (communication and regulation partner); becoming the primary CRP; missing friends; and taking care of ourselves is HARD!  This is what I know about the disability community – WE DO HARD THINGS! Whether you are a nonspeaker, autistic or disabled person, parent, professional, family member or ally in the disability community, YOU are among the most tenacious, resourceful, adaptable, make-the-best-of-it people around. Not because you want to be. Not because you deserve to be. Because you have HAD to be! 

We can take a laminated alphabet board and turn it into assistive technology that supports full reliable communication. We can take limited resources and create a program. Given a “no,” we organize a grassroots advocacy campaign. When faced with obstacles, we team together with ingenuity, and sometimes duct tape, to create solutions. I have often said, there is no one else I would rather be stranded on a desert island with than folks in the disability community. We’d have that island fully operational in no time.  Well…Welcome to COVID Island! Is any of this easy? Nope. It never has been. It probably won’t be. WE DO HARD THINGS.

Over the last several weeks, spellers, families, practitioners and allies have come together to create resources to weather through this pandemic. Spellers are connecting online. Families everywhere are jumping in as primary CRP and leading home-based learning. We are writing lessons to help explain COVID-19 and Social Distancing and some lessons that are a little warmer and fuzzier too!  We have pulled together resources to support spellers and families in home based practice, we have blogs to feed your brain and reduce anxiety by implementing safe health practices and creating plans in case someone gets sick. We have put these resources together in a one page PDF so we can easily share with anyone who needs it. Our Spellers and Allies network is working on a special event (watch our Facebook page for details). Many of our S2C Practitioners are offering online individual and group classes for both S2C and Motor practice (contact us for referrals).  I-ASC has shifted the S2C Practitioner Training Cohorts to completely online, the practicum component to follow when it is safe for practitioners and spellers to work together.  Everyone has demonstrated the ability to pivot, change, be agile and creative. 

Do these uncertain times make me feel anxious?  Sure. Am I riding the roller coaster of emotions. You bet.  Am I a bit cranky and restless. Sometimes – and that’s ok. Am I certain we will get through this together? Absolutely!  WE DO HARD THINGS and we are in this TOGETHER!

E. Vosseller

 

Press Release

January 14th, 2020

I-ASC members featured in film at Sundance Film Festival

We are pleased to announce that I-ASC will be attending Sundance Film Festival this year in celebration of our participation in and to support the documentary film THE REASON I JUMP, which is based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida. The documentary features three members of our community, Benjamin McGann, Emma Budway and Elizabeth Vosseller as subjects in the film. They are invaluable members of the I-ASC team and I-ASC is honored to be part of this amazing film.

THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive film directed by Jerry Rothwell, which explores the experience of nonspeaking autistic people around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.

Acutely observed moments in the lives of each of the characters are connected by passages from Naoki’s writing, in which a young Japanese boy journeys through an epic landscape, gradually discovering what his autism means to him, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps.

The film distills these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

Film Director Jerry Rothwell’s work includes the award-winning feature documentaries HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD, SOUR GRAPES, TOWN OF RUNNERS, THE SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD, DONOR UNKNOWN, HEAVY LOAD and DEEP WATER.His films have won numerous accolades including two Grierson Awards, a Sundance Special Jury Prize, an RTS Award, the IDA Pare Lorentz Award and a BAFTA nomination.

Benjamin McGann is a member of I-ASC’s Nonspeaking Leadership Council and editor of the literary magazine In Words We Trust. He wants to create a place where autistics and neurotypicals alike could safely and comfortably express themselves creatively. He values every opportunity people get to share their opinions openly. In his down time, you will find Benjamin fiercely advocating for his nonspeaking brothers and sisters.

Emma Budway is a nonspeaking autistic who is passionate about advocating for women like her. She is known for her efforts alongside her friends, the Tribe, to make the world more accepting of the neurodiverse. Emma believes that art and writing are powerful outlets especially for nonspeaking individuals.

Elizabeth Vosseller is honored to serve as the Executive Director for I-ASC. She has worked with individuals with complex communication and sensory-motor differences since 1995 in hospital, university and private practice settings. In 2013, she began using Assistive Technology to teach students the purposeful motor skills to Spell to Communicate (S2C). Teaching motor versus cognition to access communication, meaningful education and inclusion has been a game changer for nonspeaking individuals. Elizabeth and I-ASC are committed to ensuring ALL nonspeaking, minimally speaking and unreliably speaking individuals have access to communication through training, education, advocacy and research.

All three of these individuals are a vital part of the I-ASC team and it is an honor to have them represented in this powerful film and at the Sundance Film Festival.

For additional information please contact Jason DiMambro, Deputy Director of Outreach and Development, at jason@i-asc.org. or visit our page about the film.

 


Press Release

December 1, 2019

Introducing the
International Association for Spelling as Communication (I-ASC)

Herndon, VA – The International Association for Spelling as Communication (I-ASC) began in April 2019 and merged with the Nonspeaking CommUnity Consortium (NCC) in November 2019, taking on it’s 501(c)(3) status while maintaining its name.

I-ASC’s mission is to advance communication access for nonspeaking individuals globally through training, education, advocacy, and research. I-ASC envisions that with communication nonspeaking individuals will have equitable and supported access to all aspects of lifelong education, employment, relationships and community.

The organization will be advised by a Nonspeaking Leadership Council, composed of nonspeakers who spell to communicate, a nine member Practitioner Leadership Cadre, and a Board of Directors who will provide governance and oversight. I-ASC is staffed by an Executive Director, a Deputy Director of Operations and Finance, and a Deputy Director of Community Outreach and Development.

For information on I-ASC’s membership program, S2C Practitioner Training Program, Social Advocacy, how you can help, and more please visit our page about the film,visit our page about the film
For additional information please contact Jason DiMambro, Deputy Director of Outreach and Development, jason@i-asc.org.

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