Friday May 03, 2024

Tiffany Joseph (Part 2): The Use of Gestalts in Acquiring Language as a Part-Time AAC User

This week, we share part two of Rachel’s interview with Tiffany Joseph! Tiffany is an autistic mother of three neurodivergent teens, as well as an educator, advocate, and a part-time AAC User with inconsistent verbal speech.  She shares about her experience as a gestalt language processor, how she thinks AAC could help students mitigate their gestalts, her perspective on Spelling to Communicate, and more!


Before the interview, Chris and Rachel answer a listener question about “seasoned SLP‘s” in the listener’s school district who said that “high-tech AAC wasn’t appropriate for kids with lots of behaviors.” Chris and Rachel discuss the question, noting that behaviors are often reduced when a student has a device, and they wonder whether those “seasoned” SLPs should reconsider their openness to new ideas.


🔑 Chris’s motto  is “education instead of restriction,” meaning we should teach people how to use new things (like AI, etc) rather than just try and restrict or block them in the schools. In his experience, you can restrict a particular app or website but it’s better to teach students to use the tool in a better way.


🔑 Tiffany said it would’ve been really helpful for her communication growing up if she could’ve had a device that displayed the first half one of her gestalts, followed by different logical alternative endings that she could choose from to help her mitigate her gestalts.


🔑 Tiffany believes that spelling to communicate is a valid form of communication and doesn’t believe it should be  controversial. She feels that, similar to “body doubling,” where the presence of a familiar person can help us regulate and focus, having a familiar partner facilitate communication is really valuable. Tiffany says that having a person there for to help coach the motor plan doesn’t make S2C invalid.


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