Wednesday Apr 10, 2024

Beth Moulam & Joanna Holmes: Recognizing AAC Users as Multimodal Communicators

This week, we hear Chris’s interview with Beth Moulam and Joanna Holmes! Beth is a master student, former Paraolympian, a Trustee of Communication Matters (a branch of ISSAC), and patron of a charity called One Voice. She is a multi modal communicator who often uses AAC devices to communicate. Joanna (@mummyvsaac on Instagram) is the mother of Lucy, a 9-year-old multimodal communicator with a complex medical history that includes a genetic component. They share about Beth’s AAC journey, the importance of a language rich environment on AAC development, the multimodal nature of communication, and more!


🔑 Beth doesn’t feel she will ever reach her final communication destination, because she is always learning. Learning to use AAC is a labor of love, it takes hours of practice and lots of resilience for the user, families, and their support networks.


🔑 Beth and Joanna both emphasize the many modes of communication a complex communicator uses to communicate.  A person’s communication “system” is more than the AAC app a person uses, it is everything that person does to communicate with others.


🔑 There is a popular misconception that getting an AAC device will lead to lots communication. You also need the language to use it, which for some is a long jump. Learning to use AAC for most people isn’t like flicking a switch, its like building a house - it takes a team of people, doing their best to do things in the right order, learning nail-by-nail, to use AAC together.


🔑 Beth had a communication rich home environment as a child, including being read to daily and having phonics on her bedroom wall that she discussed with her mother. She believes this was really important to her literacy and ability to work with AAC at a young age.


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