Monday, February 05, 2007

Talking To People Who Can’t Talk To You

For the nonspeaking children in Toronto, learning to communicate with symbols meant a whole new way of thinking and feeling. New ideas, new possibilities stirred in their minds. It was like waking up from a long dim daydream. Children who had felt like nonpersons, sitting like lumps in wheelchairs, discovered that they were somebody after all.

One little girl, when she had learned to use the symbols, “asked” her parents, “Why are you not speaking to me?”

The father, who loved his little girl, suddenly realized that, because she could not respond, he hardly ever did speak to her. Now he could see that she was lonely and needed people to talk to her even if she could not talk back.

Elizabeth S. Helfman
Blissymbolics: Speaking Without Speech

Blissymbolics Website

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