Let me tell you about multimodal communication. We, as typical communicators, all use many different strategies. We use speech, gestures, facial expressions, technology, and no-tech solutions. As communicators, we all size up the situation based upon our communication partners, the context, the environment and then we choose to use the most effective communication strategy.
For people who have difficulty with speech, there's also a need to size up the situation.
- In a noisy environment, someone might use facial expressions to get their point across
- With a familiar communication partner, you may use a gesture that you know is going to be easily understood
- In a situation where people don't know you well, you may use technology with a pre-stored sentence or a phrase that's going to be spoken out
- With a person who is a close communication partner, friend, or family member, you may use a low tech tool where there's co-construction that's happening, because that's a really intimate communication opportunity.
For many people, the ability to represent themselves with the most complex language is accomplished using a high-tech system. Many strategies that allow for quick access to language, like word prediction or abbreviated expansion will be used, and then these strategies are utilized to speak out through synthetic speech.
We all demand the right to be able to communicate in the most effective manner. People who have difficulty with speech need exactly that same right. It is a basic human right.
"We all demand the right to be able to communicate in the most effective manner."