Inside Here

Inside Here

by Sarah Ackerman

I am inside here
It is really me
I am in this body
My voice inside me.

I am inside here
I am more than you see
I have thoughts and feelings
That I want to set free.

I am inside here
I want you to know
I like being with you
Take me where you go.

I am inside here
I spell to speak now
Give me a chance 
I will show you how.

I am inside here
Each day is hard for me
My body is tough
I am not what you see.

I am inside here
I have a kind heart
I love and I care
When we are apart.

I am inside here
I am so alive
I want to succeed
Help me to thrive!

March Into Spring

Spring has begun. Spring is the time of year when I am inspired to try new things. I want to go new places and explore new opportunities.

I love to spend time outdoors. Nature calms my body. The sounds of the birds, the smell of the grass, and the sight of flowers and trees blossoming is so peaceful.

Apraxia makes a body difficult to control. My body struggles to do what my brain wants it to do. I have a tough time regulating myself. I want to do so many things, but my apraxia makes it hard.

Finding strategies to regulate myself is important. It helps when people remain calm and reassure me I will be okay. I want to feel better and need comforting to get back on track.

I find walking outside relaxing. I enjoy being outdoors in the warm weather. The sun is soothing and lifts my spirits. My body is at peace.

Spring forward!

Photo by Maria Tyutina on Pexels.com

I Love to Spell

I Love to Spell

By Sarah Ackerman

I love to spell.
It fits me well.
It helps me speak
And lets me seek

The words I want 
To tell someone
I am in here
I am not done.

I have to share
To all out there
That I can think
I will not sink.

I want to right
All that is wrong.
It will be tough
But I am strong.

I want to help those
Who cannot speak.
They need support
Not a turned cheek.

They need a voice 
So they have a choice
In all they do
So it is true.

I want to build a better world
For us to live
So we have the chance
To contribute and give.

I want to make 
More people see
That nonspeakers are
The best to be!
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

A Resolution for the New Year

Happy New Year! I want to start the year with some thoughts on the placement of individuals with apraxia and autism in school.

It hurts students when they are misjudged in school. The current paradigm of testing depends on a student being able to use fine motor skills and oral speech. When someone has apraxia, their brain is unable to initiate the motor processing needed for this.

IQ tests are not an accurate measure of intelligence for persons with autism and apraxia. They result in an underestimation of our abilities. We are falsely presumed to be incompetent and given an education that is far below our intelligence. Students who are nonspeaking are being denied access to the regular education curriculum. Inclusive education is not always an option for us. This needs to end.

Schools need to recognize that one size does not fit all. The way that a person communicates should be one that is effective for them. Nonspeakers need to have choices about their modes of communication. They depend on professionals to guide and support them with this process. In order to do this, professionals need to become educated about Spelling to Communicate and other forms of alternative and augmentative communication.

Communication is critical in our everyday lives. We need to be offered options and be provided with training in the communication methods that works best for us. It is essential for our success in all that we do.

Nonspeakers have the right to both communication and an appropriate and equal education. Schools have the power to improve our lives. Let’s work together to make this happen. Make this year one in which school recognize nonspeakers’ abilities and talents.

We have so much to share with you!

Photo by Andy Barbour on Pexels.com

A Month for Wishes

December is a time to dream. I dream about a life with a speaking ability. I want to be able to speak in a way that people understand and respect.

I would like for people to accept Spelling to Communicate as a genuine and reliable form of communication. It is a method that I use to communicate on a daily basis and one that I depend on to express my thoughts, knowledge, and feelings.

As a nonspeaker with autism and apraxia, I struggle with being able to use spoken words to say what I mean. Spelling to Communicate uses gross motor skills. By pointing to letters on a letterboard, I am able to get my thoughts across. It is a method that requires time and teaching by a trained practitioner.

Spelling to Communicate has changed my life. I wish for all nonspeakers to have knowledge of this method of communication and access to it. I wish for more practitioners to provide training and support. Lastly, I wish for everyone to recognize this form of communication as a gift and necessity in our lives!

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

Time to Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! It is a time for me to give thanks for all I have.

I am grateful for so many things. My family, my friends, my communication partners, and those who support me every day. I am fortunate to have so many people who care about me and who want to help me to pursue my goals for a better future.

Nonspeakers need the support of many individuals. We rely on others every day to carry out basic tasks that others find easy. Nonspeakers are dependent on communication partners and devices to share their feelings, knowledge, and thoughts.

I am so appreciative of all that is done to help me!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Letters in the Leaves

It is the end of October. I am loving the colors of the season and the crisp fall air.

I find color to be so important in my life. It allows me to make sense of my world. Certain colors are comforting whereas others are dysregulating. Color speaks to me in different ways that words are unable to express.

I am so in awe of the beauty of nature. It is calming and regulates my body. When I am outside, I am at peace and can relax. I am inspired in the fall. It makes me think of apple cider, hayrides, and pumpkins.

Fall marks the start of months indoors. I will miss daily walks outside and outdoor social gatherings. Soon it will be winter. The leaves will be down and the temperatures will drop. The days will be shorter and the sun will shine less.

I will eagerly await spring’s arrival!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Start to the School Year

I am so excited it is September! September is the start of the school year for students. It is great to see students returning to the classroom.

I want you to know what school was like for me. I attended an autistic support program. I was presumed to be incompetent. I was given IQ tests that required verbal responses and fine motor coordination. As a nonspeaker with autism and apraxia, these methods were unfair and inaccurate. It resulted in my being taught far below my capabilities.

Imagine repeating kindergarten for fifteen years when you should be in advanced placement classes! I had to teach myself language arts, math, science, and social studies. I did this all by myself on the computer at home. Each year at school was an eternity.

Nonspeakers need to be able to communicate in school. Schools need to provide students with many more options. They need to be offered communication methods that are accessible and appropriate for their needs.

I believe that nonspeakers have so much ability. We are not being given a chance to express what we are capable of. This needs to change!

I want to see letterboards being used in schools. Spelling to Communicate is a method of communication that allows nonspeakers with motor challenges to express themselves by pointing to letters on a letterboard or keyboard. It is how many nonspeakers are able to share what they feel, think, and know.

Communication is a basic human right. It extends to students as well. Nonspeakers need better methods to communicate in school. Start the school year by supporting a nonspeaker with the tools to talk in a way that works for them!

Back to the Ball Game

I love baseball. The sounds of the crowd. The smells in the air. The taste of the hot dogs at the park.

It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a game at a stadium. I have missed getting together with my friends. Zoom is great, but it is just not the same as being there in person

Nonspeakers are like everyone else. We enjoy outings with our families and friends. Please invite and include us. We want to be there with you.

Going to a game soon. It’s good to be back in the swing of things!

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

COVID COMFORT

By Sarah Ackerman

There once was a virus named Covid.
It had no rhyme or reason.

It didn't care about the season.
It took many lives away.
We remember them every day.

The virus had a good side.
It caused us to be kind.
Our lives began to change.
They did not stay the same.

Masks became the norm.
Everyone had to conform.
We had to give some space
with each and every place.

Zoom became the way 
to communicate every day.
Delivery came from the store.
We didn't go there anymore.

People went to work each day
not knowing what would come their way.
Health care workers tried to save lives.
They did their best to keep others alive.

They went to work and helped to mend.
Sometimes it felt it would never end.
Vaccines are now here
to help the ones that we hold dear.

Things are starting to heal.
The world is better I feel.
The future will be bright.
Good times are back in sight.

Loops of a Different Kind

When people think of loops, they often think of roller coasters. For me, loops are repetitive thoughts that I get stuck on.

Loops are challenging to get through. It helps when you acknowledge my thoughts. Affirmation is comforting and helps me to cope. When I get confirmation, I am reassured and I can move on. It regulates me so that I can focus and go about my daily activities. Think of it as a rocky roller coaster ride that operates all year long!