News

MAY WAS CHALLENGE YOUR MOTOR MONTH!

Greetings nonspeakers, families and allies! We trust you noticed that May has been all about MOTOR at I-ASC. We wanted to raise awareness for National Apraxia Month AND having fun showing off your purposeful motor skills.

It is important for us to educate our world about apraxia. Apraxia is the main reason that many nonspeakers in the Spellerverse can’t speak reliably, or at all.  It is more than often the reason nonspeakers in our community have difficulty initiating their intended actions or maintaining momentum to follow through to completion.  Nonspeakers often appear to not understand words or instructions because apraxia gets in the way.  Apraxia, together with sensory processing disorder and reactions to stimuli, sometimes leaves nonspeakers in our community very misunderstood. Together we can change this.

Even though apraxia hinders the seamless execution of purposeful movement, you can challenge your apraxia with purposeful movement!  You’ve been telling us that the more purposeful motor you do, the better you get at it.  It is key to gaining back control of your body.  When we practice purposeful motor actions regularly, we myelinate neural pathways, which means we build them the way a muscle builds with regular workout. That’s why when you’re not spelling, we know you love to challenge your apraxia in other ways!

In the last few weeks, spellers, families, practitioners and allies have taken action to educate the world about apraxia and motor differences, and to celebrate the idea that we know it takes a LOT to challenge Apraxia, but it is possible.  In late April, I-ASC’s Spellers and Allies Advocacy Network ushered in Motor May with a totally lit international dance party that attracted friends from across the globe and got us dancing to some serious beats by the inimitable DJ Schaik it Up.  Spellers  have been running with our Daily Motor Challenges.  Try searching #IASCmotormay on our Facebook page  to witness some fine and gross motor feats! These posts prove that doing purposeful motor actions are HARD but with the right kind of support, patience and encouragement, they are POSSIBLE.  At I-ASC we are using our purposeful motor skills to write lessons for you to be purposeful at home during the ongoing global pandemic.  We have also been sharing some fantastic and useful blogs about setting motor goals, supporting purposeful motor, and motor and anxiety regulation.  If you run out of great purposeful motor ideas in COVID-quarantine, don’t forget to check our VAKTivities list for inspiration, along with all the other resources to support spellers and families in home based practice.  Finally, we remind you that many S2C Practitioners are offering online individual and group classes for Motor practice, in addition to regular spelling sessions and consultations, check out our new S2C Practitioner map to help you find a trained practitioner near you!  

While we are not yet in the clear from the coronavirus pandemic, remember that when you practice good hygiene to stay physically healthy, you should also practice self-care to stay mentally healthy, being mindful of our very different life experiences and needs for such care in these times.  And we encourage you to check back regularly for updates to our 1-page Inclusive Resource Guide for COVID-19.

Thank you to everyone that continues to be part of Motor May #IASCmotormay. Continue to share pictures and videos!

 

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, an 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? Absolutely!  WE DO HARD THINGS and we are in this TOGETHER!

E. Vosseller

 


Press Release

March 19th, 2020

 

The S2C Practitioner Training Program is as strong as ever! 

As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, we want to take this time to reassure future applicants, current applicants and current cohort attendees that we are ready to adapt the S2C Practitioner Training Cohort to make it possible for all of you to successfully complete the course.   

Our plan includes:

  • Shifting the cohort kick off weekend to online
  • Front loading the academic content to the beginning of the course with completion of clinical practicum once it is safe to do so
  • Flexing the cohort end date depending on the time needed to complete competencies

 

Keep in mind that for those of you with kids now home during the day, other than the cohort kick off weekend times, all seminars and instruction will take place in the evening. This may be just the reason you need to close yourself up in a room and learn with a group of amazing adults who want nothing from you!! 

We are excited to be launching our first 2020 S2C Practitioner Training Cohort at the end of March and have plans for three more to launch in the next few months. This time at home may prove to be a good opportunity to get a jump start on S2C Practitioner training. We are currently accepting applications so if you or someone you know would like to apply to train to be a registered S2C Practitioner, please do not hesitate to contact us, training@i-asc.org.  

We will resume our standard training once it is safe to do so.  Until then, we will move forward online to ensure that we are ready to serve nonspeaking, minimally and unreliably speaking individuals as soon as possible. Sending our best wishes to you and your family for health and well being during this difficult time.  

The S2C Practitioner Training Cohort Application can be found at this link:  S2C Practitioner Application

 


 

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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