Patrick Duncan Cole's Story
My Advice to Speech Therapists
Patrick Duncan Cole is 36 years old and has used a variety of AAC devices over his lifetime. He has had speech therapy while attending special schools for individuals with cognitive and physical challenges. Based on his life experiences, he offers advice to speech therapists. His self-generated language is followed by a “translation” (developed through clarifying questions from a familiar communication partner) in order to ensure that you, as the reader, understand his important points.
My name is Patrick Duncan Cole. I wishing that to say a speech on my communication device to help with the speech therapists. It is important. They to pick communication device and to teach it.
Translation: I wish to use my communication device (Pathfinder with a customized version of Unity128 Full) to give advice to speech therapists. This advice is important because speech therapists are usually the people who decide what AAC device a person gets and they are the people who usually teach people how to use their devices.
Advice #1: We need teach them how codes better and fast. My speech therapist did on me. She showed me it is better for me use them than spelling or pages. It help me talk better building sentences.
Translation: First off, we need to teach speech therapists how using Minspeak is more efficient and faster than spelling or page systems to produce generative language.
Advice #2: You need help people practice much with finger to say what want say in life. Then, you need not thinking much in your mind. So you not forget that what want to say and not the codes. I troubles when think too much so I lets finger think me. My speech therapist she says this how say it and now you practice practice practice.
Translation: You need to provide meaningful practice in order to develop motor automaticity. That way, the person can almost talk without thinking. The person can think about what they want to say and not about the codes for the words. For me, if I “think about the code” too much, I can’t remember what I want to say or how to say it. My speech therapist didn’t worry about teaching me the “rationale” for the codes - she just had me practice, practice, practice.
Advice #3: You need uses coaches to help people how showing codes for words and say words. Then to put words in sentence. Robin teaches me when I got this communication device with papers from speech therapist. It writes down important words to say. She say we to practice everyday whenever not there Wednesday speech time. Build sentences to be longer and longer. Then I know doing that codes and faster no spelling. I to want talk fast like Robin and to be coach.
Translation: In order to get sufficient practice to develop motor automaticity, you can use Minspeak coaches. Robin, who also uses a Minspeak system, used lesson plans developed by the speech therapist and everyday practiced with me on saying the words by themselves, then in phrases, then in sentences. We had to practice every day, not just on Wednesday during speech time. The motor practice, with progressively longer patterns, helped my finger know where to go. My coach didn’t explain the reason for the codes, she just showed me and made sure I was doing the codes correctly. It helped me get faster than spelling. I wanted to learn to talk as fast as Robin and be a coach for someone else one day.
Advice #4: I not using communication device like everyone else. Speech therapist make special me to make easy and be like mind and do no more wrong way. Change codes not me. She not say to hard and not do. She say right thing to do for me and making it work. I thank you to her now better not spelling or more to talk people workshop needing to page turning communication devices.
Translation: My speech therapist customized the standard Minspeak Application Program that came in the device so that I don’t use the program in the device just like everyone else. She simplified and customized the system to match my needs and didn’t try to change me. She never said that Minspeak was too hard for me. Instead, she said that Minspeak was the right thing to do for me and changed things to make it work. I say “thank you” to her for doing this for me because now I can talk better than when I used spelling. And I can talk more than other people here at the workshop that use communication devices that require them to turn pages in their devices.
Advice #5: When you see them together of group. We talk about our life so we know doing right things on our communication devices. Listen much and not talking happen to me. Cards to help them that has sentences on that. Speech therapists, she will to get we not doing that on our communication devices. It why have device. You think about that idea.
Translation: Speech therapists need to think about doing more group therapy with people who use communication devices. We all need to learn how to talk about our lives and be part of a conversation. In therapy, my speech therapist wrote out mini-scripts on cards to help us ask questions to other people, give compliments, and make comments about what other people were saying. Speech therapist don’t always get that we don’t know how to do that with our communication devices. And that is why we have the devices! Think about that idea.
Advice #6: You need learn how look at what saying with communication device. So they can fixing the words they spell when not in therapy and fixing building sentences. They need know my life and they are fixing right things and doing right things. My speech therapist did on me.
Translation: Speech therapists need to be using the Language Acquisition Monitor (LAM) in the PRC devices so that they can see the kind of language the person is producing, especially the language produced when the person is NOT in therapy. By reviewing the LAM log, the therapist is learning about my life and also, based on the objective data in the LAM log, providing therapy on the right things - like learning codes for words I am spelling or helping me learn how to build better sentences.
Advice #7: Please save words in communication device to computer in case you need them again put back in. It bad if lose words because I not know what all in here and not tell you. Finger knows but not mind.
Translation: Speech therapists should regularly do Memory Transfers of the vocabulary in case there is a problem with the device and you need to put the vocabulary back into the device. It would be bad if I lost my vocabulary because I don’t know what is all in here anymore. My finger knows what is in the device, but not my mind.
Advice #8: You don’t need scared Minspeak. It is easy. I did it. Anyone can!
No Translation Needed! (Watch the video to see Mr. Cole producing this advice word-by-word.)