The Importance of social communication by Rob Laffan 19/05/2016

I bumped into an old friend the other day, one that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, and he congratulated me on the success of TippyTalk. I said thank you, and we began to talk about each other’s lives, old friends, and how life was before we had families, the so called “good old days”. We reminisced about the vacations we took, the concerts we had seen, as well as some things I am not going to mention. At the end of our conversation just as we were about to go our separate ways he asked me if I was on Facebook so that we could stay in touch.

Later that night sitting on my couch watching some silly TV show, I started contemplating the real significance of social communication to the wider community.The wider community, are people who do not have a verbal disability.

People within the wider community have the luxury of viewing communication as a given, something they do automatically without thought. Social Communication is so important to us in the wider community that we have purposely invented technology and media platforms just to enrich the process such as Facebook, Twitter, Text-messaging, Instagram, Smart Phones, and many more. All allowing us to stay in touch with family and friends all over the world within just a click of a finger, giving us social communication independence.

“Now just for a second, try and imagine someone taking that choice away from you”

Only allowing you to communicate within a space no bigger than the room you are in. It wouldn’t even matter what technology you had, you still could only communicate within this room. Imagine what that isolation would feel like, because for me that’s exactly the conditions we are asking children and adults who are non-verbal ASD to live in.

How we choose to communicate allows us to define who we are as individuals, it allows us to share and connect with the people around us. Same room interaction or communication only puts more limitations on our loved ones lives. It is our job as mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers to do everything in our power to ensure that we provide the necessary tools so that our loved ones can reach their full potential.

Each and every one of our loved ones, living with a verbal disability is an individual; our job is to help their world to grow.

These are some of my own personal views. I would love to hear back from people on whether you agree or disagree. I feel that through discussion and the sharing of opinions and information that we become a community of educators which can only be beneficial to all parties involved.