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A DISabled still doesn?t mean NOT able to learn

The world we live in can actually be conceived as the “habitat”, the surrounding medium of all living beings. Such conception presupposes a sort of unity, cohesion, accord – the irrefutable, essential and rudimentary foundations that underlie the Homo sapiens mindset.  Thus, the statement suggests itself that the moral compass system is supposed to be aversive to all displays of aggression, violence, contempt. On the contrary, initially it appeals for consolidation, collaboration, help. Up to a point, it is the humans who are creators and developers of a social community. The way the latter looks like is incumbent on us, entailing our attitude to each other, to the environment, altogether to the world.

Moreover, not the least of the points that matter is the world’s diverse nature. Indeed, we are different and it’s a fact. However, dissimilarity by no means should indicate or emphasize discrepancy in people’s interaction and communication. Rather, it calls for coming closer together. With this very connection, a thorny problem arises - the disabled people. This issue has lots of prickles, so to say, one of which being social rejection as if of the irrelevant elements. Still, such approach deserves nothing but reprehension. As practices show, the disabled do not comprise the scope of those NOT able at all. People with some disabilities are aspired and willing to learn. About this testifies the Augmentative and Alternative Communication system (AAC) tailored specially for and aimed at all those not “fully-fledged”. It incorporates the methods, approaches elaborated to help the handicapped be included into the general life stream without feeling devoid or defective.

Particular person’s development problems are taken into consideration and so put as a basis for using the systems and devices the AAC offers. The outlook of the principles the AAC stands on can be seen as follows. One of the “musts” that the system envisages is the inclusive development surrounding. The inclusive means not isolated from normally developing peers education. So, children have possibility to interact and mutually cognize the reality. Furthermore, the system also puts stress on the necessity of joint co-operative strategy, underlying the children, family, ad hoc personnel involvement. A personality of a child is viewed as a prime methodological and psychological background in providing corresponding educational service. These are not all, but foremost inclusive program making points that are to be applied in combination.

In catering for all the participants, the AAC foresees family, personnel preparation programs as well as children encouraging contributory methods to assist to adept to, implement and in effect easily use the AAC.  According to the case and individual situation there have been developed and put into action two main mechanisms of skills cultivation and improvement. Hence, there exist the unaided and aided methods. The first pattern doesn’t necessitate any tech devices unlike the second one, which embraces particular equipments or appliances to facilitate people in need to carry the information they want. When the unaided system is resorted to, the people use just their own resources such as gestures, mime, eyes to point what they need or mean.

Let’s pay our attention to a certain specific story sample and try to tackle the problem and find solutions. Imagine mom and her kid having a walk in a supermarket. The child is very lively, energetic and movable. She has a quick reaction and can easily demonstrate her desires, choices, thoughts. Everything seems ok, but the kid doesn’t speak. She can’t be called a backward child but still the problem is obvious. How to get such children talking provided they have the predisposition to a normal speech flow, but nevertheless something hinders it. As it was previously mentioned, the AAC system focuses on designing the handy devices to meet the purpose a disabled person faces. Thus, in our case we deal with a communicative skills and a deferred response. This requires the speech therapist examine and scrutinize the problem with further treatment. Thereby, with reference to the communicatively retarded there was invented and elaborated the Minspeak. With the intention to dispel a doubt concerning the functional nature of Minspeak, it is important to get the insight to what this “helper” really is.

The 1980 saw the emergence of “life buoy” method called Minspeak.  Actually, it comprises a language representation system created by Bruce Baker. To make it clear, it is a would-be device if embedded and used in specific computer programs.  In order to make Minspeak system work the vocabulary application programs with reference to age, needs came into being – MAPs. It is a common knowledge that all today novelties are becoming improved and upgraded with time span. So was about the MAPs that became to enclose more capacious vocabulary and enhance language scope. What is more, diverse foreign language MAPs appeared what broadened the audience of users. The strategy also has another advantage to favor each particular client by fitting and adjusting the namely targeted program.

Regarding the functioning aspects, the Minspeak exploits special pictures (icons) with well known and familiar notions, objects. Such pictures are applied when teaching children to name surrounding reality combined with their associative notions row in the cognitive world perception.  A single picture can represent lots of ideas, so it is voluminous in meaning. It is easy for a child e.g to memorize one picture and deliver the objects it names, the actions it defines, etc.

The ideas are also coded in a line of pictures to build the blocks of information such as word combinations and sentences. Thus, the distributed one by one illustrations form the idea to be rendered by a person and trying to pronounce each sign (E.g. N+A, V+N, etc.). What simplifies the learning process by means of Minspeak is the well knit and contrived rules-and-samples system. To follow these principles promotes not only communicative skills, but also logic and memory work. The language becomes automatic and the reaction quick.

Consequently, the endeavors if taken are in most cases justified. “Foot in the door”, knock and the door will open. The difficulties people have to trudge through strengthen their will and give vast opportunities of further development. So, “never say die” must be a life motto for everyone.

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