Chapter 20 – Speechless

This chapter begins with Schuyler integrating her new device into all facets of life.  It was even helping her learn to spell, which was encouraging.  Her father shares a sweet moment with her as she spells and says her name for the first time.  Schuyler had taken the initiative to learn to spell her name as it was not being actively taught to her from the spelling page of her device.  Robert mentions that this is a moment that he will remember forever.

This chapter is all about Schuyler’s voice.  She qualifies for summer school and the teacher mentions in conversation that Schuyler is using her device in some of her classes.  Wait!  The parents are mortified that she is not allowed to use her device all the time. We see Julie and Robert again strive to give their daughter the chance to be like every other kid, even if that means disrupting class.  And so the next struggle begins.  The struggle to get educators to realize that the device is actually Schuyler’s voice.  To make matters worse, the speech function of her device was being turned off.  How disheartening!  Robert makes note that Schuyler notices that she is different for the first time in this chapter.  She realizes that the other kids don’t need a box to talk.  The couple still contemplates moving down the road to Round Rock school district where they had seen some level of enthusiasm about the use of augmentative communication devices.  The chapter ends with Robert and Julie feeling a deep level of sadness, feeling defeated.  Once again, things didn’t quite work out the way they had hoped.

Schuyler’s parents had fought hard to give her a voice.  There has been much benefit to experience the emotions of this family on their journey. Reading this book has made me think about the importance of our role as speech language pathologists. Educating others on the significance of allowing/encouraging students to use AAC devices is obviously highlighted in this chapter.  What do you think about this topic?

Holly Hamill – Wilt Elementary


3 thoughts on “Chapter 20 – Speechless

  1. allison forrester says:

    It must be so frustrating to feel as though you are constantly taking 1 step forward and two steps back in the pursuit of your child’s ability and right to communicate. This provides insight for us, as therapists, into the challenges that some of these parents face.

  2. Jason says:

    This really highlights the fact that there is such a huge need to educate other teachers and staff in the building that may not be familiar with AAC and just some of the basic principles behind the child using it.

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