What we're about
This meetup group is for AAC Users, family and friends - for friendship, support and advocacy.
Let's make this group a place where the communication needs of people with little or no speech are respected and understood. When AAC Users attend meetups, we do not underestimate them, we encourage, we know how to wait and listen, we try to understand their challenges, and we learn from doing this.
Learning to communicate with AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) can be very challenging, both for the AAC Users and their families and advocates.
Too often the AAC User and their family are, or 'feel', alone on this daunting journey. This is one of the reasons for the high rates of device abandonment.
It's sad and alarming that in this day and age, most people with little or no speech, still have little or no effective AAC system. The situation for people with severe autism is most alarming! Although there are many inspiring success stories and potential AAC role-models, unfortunately most people with little or no speech and their families don't get the opportunity to meet them, to be encouraged and supported.
There is no wide-reaching or effective support network for AAC Users. For most AAC Users and their families there is basically no-where to go for peer support, to meet others who have travelled further down this long road. Where can the parents of a young non-verbal child who has been prescribed a communication device, go to meet device users and their parents?
The professional bodies do little to unite AAC Users, to bring us together as a community, or to advocate for the needs of AAC Users.
This Meetup group can help us to get together for peer support, role-modeling and mentoring for AAC Users, their families and friends. In doing so we can also help to educate our communities.
'Nothing for us, without us', should be a guiding principle of this group. So we'll need to involve AAC Users at the centre of activity and organisation. So let's invite some of the more accomplished and experienced AAC Users, to join and help to run this group (and as role-models and leaders).
Apart from the AAC Users themselves, parents and close advocates should make up the membership more than professionals.
Please let me know in discussions page or direct messaging, what you think! All comments, questions, suggestions will be most appreciated!