Chris was very open to sharing different aspects of his life, and how specific experiences have impacted his effectiveness as a communicator. Chris’ family was a force both in terms of support and setting high expectations for him. Chris’ parents treated him just like all of their other kids, which helped him build problem solving skills, interpersonal relationships, and self-determination (as Chris observed, “I could finally tell my older brothers and sisters to leave me alone”). Chris exemplified operational and strategic competence using multiple technologies. Even with his success, Chris discussed multiple areas in the field of AAC where systemic challenges persist, that require awareness and advocacy. One limitation Chris shared was that he wished his device could better convey sarcasm, but he was sarcastic and humorous nonetheless. Chris was quick on his feet, answering questions, making jokes, and helping future clinicians to better understand his perspective.
“Communication helps build relationships so we need to make communication fun and not always homework.”
“One, my family just taught me to never give in so when I had to switch from my old device to another that was really different, I decided that communication was too important to me and I was going to do it.”
“For me saying anything I want to say is important.”
“I could say what I wanted to say for the first time in my life.”