Insights from a Conversation with Shane Alvado
Shane is a minimally speaking speller who made the transition from the ATL community to Tampa, Florida. He received this nomination in the “Dauntless” category because of his noted resilience and adaptability during this challenging relocation in the middle of a pandemic, no less! He and his communication partner/S2C practitioner, Evelyn Moldal, were kind enough to meet with me during their session hour and to respond to our interview questions. Here’s what he had to say!
You were nominated in the category of “dauntless”-how do you feel about that description?
NOTHING MAKES ME MORE PROUD. I’M LIVING PROOF THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. SPELLING TO COMMUNICATE HAS OPENED SO MANY DOORS FOR ME THAN I EVER THOUGHT WAS POSSIBLE. TRYING TO NOT MAKE A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT IS HARD. TO MAKE MY THOUGHTS AND DESIRES KNOWN IS LIFE-CHANGING. WE REALLY HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN FROM NONSPEAKERS.
That actually leads us right into my next question: what misconception about nonspeakers do you want to correct?
YOU’LL NEVER KNOW US BY JUST LOOKING AT OUR BODY LANGUAGE.
Perfectly said-we can never reiterate the idea that “insides don’t match outsides” enough! It so often leads to nonspeakers being underrecognized. What do you think is the biggest contribution spellers bring to the world?
WE HAVE AN UNCANNY ABILITY TO MAKE CONNECTIONS. WE’RE SKILLED IN THIS. WE CAN CONNECT PEOPLE TO ONE ANOTHER WITHOUT THEM EVER REALIZING WE MADE IT HAPPEN. SWEET RELATIONSHIPS HAVE FORMED FROM OUR INTERVENTIONS.
What is bringing you life and joy these days? Tell us about it.
LIFE HAS CHANGED SO MUCH SINCE WE MOVED TO FLORIDA. FRIENDSHIPS THAT HAVE BECOME SIMPLY THE BEST PARTS OF MY LIFE. DOING THINGS TOGETHER THIS YEAR HAS PRESENTED ME WITH A WORLD THAT KEEPS GIVING MEANING TO MY LIFE.
I love that! I know you also recently started attending Invictus. What has that been like?
I’VE REALLY ENJOYED THE TRANSITION TO FLORIDA. THIS HAS BEEN THE GREATEST THING WE’VE DONE. SO MANY TIMES I HAVE SEEN WHAT INCLUSION LOOKS LIKE IN TV SHOWS AND IN MY DREAMS. THE COOLEST AND BEST PART OF OUR MOVE IS TBLC, YOU HAVE TO COME TO HANG OUT WITH US SOMETIME SOON.
I will gladly take you up on the invitation, it’s been on my bucket list for a while! I just have a couple more questions for you: How do you feel you can give back to the spellerverse?
THE REALITY IS THAT IN THIS WORLD WE RELY ON EACH OTHER TO EXPERIENCE LOVE AND SUCCESS. WE GIVE BACK TO THE SPELLERVERSE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD.
Your theme of community and connection continues to run through your responses-I think I’m going to have to frame that first sentence! Final question before we end-we’ve talked a lot about nonspeakers in general, but what is something you want others to know about you?
I WANT OTHERS TO KNOW WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT THAT I AM INTELLIGENT, THAT I SHARE THE SAME QUALITIES OF EMPATHY, LOVE, AND SELFLESSNESS AS NEUROTYPICALS. THE MOST IMPORTANT TO ME IS THE RELATIONSHIP PIECE. SO MANY PEOPLE MAKE THE INACCURATE ASSUMPTION THAT WE DON’T FORM FRIENDSHIPS-QUITE THE OPPOSITE. WE’RE CAPABLE OF THE MOST DEEP AND LOVING RELATIONSHIPS ON THIS PLANET.
Be sure to check out Shane’s SpellX Presentation.