Having a Say in Caregiving
Thank you for visiting our website dedicated to improving care for adults with severe speech and cognitive challenges. Choices are empowering and everyone - regardless if they have aphasia from a stroke, Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson's, brain injuries, ALS, autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome or Rett Syndrome - has the human right to have a say in their care. Unfortunately, many non-verbal people don't get that choice. You can help change this.
When my beautiful son was born with severe communication and intellectual disabilities,we pursued many specialized programs for him but he never developed the ability to speak, read, write or walk independently. Now, as a young adult, I worry about how my son will communicate to his caregivers that he's uncomfortable, bored or wants to switch activities. How long will he sit idle until someone pays some attention to him?
Eighteen years later, I found myself as a long distance caregiver to my mother who developed aphasia and dementia resulting from a stroke. While the cause of their speech challenges is different, both rely on others for much of their daily personal care. Say it with Symbols is dedicated to helping them communicate their needs when words won't work.
How can we help and empower independence?
As caregivers, we have that constant guilt that are are not doing enough to help a loved one who is dependent on us for daily care. How will I learn to communicate with and support my loved one who needs my help with everything? How can I reduce my loved one's frustration? How can I make my caregiving easier and less stressful? Picture-based communication empowers people to understand and make their own choices.
My family has been extremely lucky to have had the support from many dedicated special educators, speech pathologists and occupational therapists during his school years in Massachusetts. From them, we learned how to use pictures to support his understanding, choices and communication. We learned to use picture-based supports and augmentative alternative communication (AAC) aids, low tech to high tech, to help him learn, communicate his knowledge and engage socially with us, peers and caregivers. I've created hundreds of choice boards using picture communication symbols and photos.
Communicating Using Pictures
In 2008, I launched SayitwithSymbols.com, the only source dedicated to taking the guesswork out of caring for adults with cognitive/communication challenges by using easy-to-use, picture-based communication aids designed specifically for adult caregiving.
Our products we develop and offer are uniquely designed to be functional for adults based on best practices supported by academic research. Our products have been field tested - and improved - by caregivers trying to communicate with their loved ones who cannot speak. Our store also offers a curated selection of easy-to-use visual tools that help improve adult caregiving including communication, healthcare, personal care and activities of daily living.
To learn if your loved one could use augmentative communication aids (AAC), consider consulting with a licensed speech and language pathologist, occupation therapist or other assistive technology professional to benefit from their clinical evaluation and treatments.
Communication is a fundamental human right
Thankfully, person-centered planning is becoming more common in care centers. Alongside other aspects of daily living, it implies that care should be based on personal choice, not just the options available or convenient at the day program, hospital or residence. Everyone has the right to choices.
Join us on this journey to give people with complex communication and cognitive challenges a way to voice a choice in their care. Communicating is caring.
Please free to contact me to share your story, get a recommendation for a product or request a speaking or training session. I'll look forward to sharing with you!
Caregiver and Founder
Giving Greetings Publishing
Folllow our journey on: