Voice-owner rather than AAC user.

I’ve been writing a paper recently on the ‘hackery’ that is (I think) a fairly implicit part of AAC-use.  When it is completed, you guys will obviously see a final version.  But we found ourselves somewhat trapped by the language a little,  It’s quite difficult to talk about an ‘AAC-user’ when, for example, the AAC-user has an entirely broken device.  It’s also a little difficult when talking about a carer programming an AAC device – they are *a* AAC-user, but *the* AAC-user is someone else.  This gets deeply confusing when you have a sentence with more than one actual AAC-user.  

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Are you an AAC-user if the device can’t switch on?

Instead, we’ve (so far) somewhat abandoned the standard terminology.  In our household we’ve always referred to Richard’s AAC-device as his ‘Voice’, and that seems to be a nice label.  And instead of Voice-user – we went with Voice-owner.  This is for several reasons:

  • It deals nicely with the ‘device broken’ issue above
  • It puts the ‘user’ in the correct position in the care network. 

This second one is important.  I am a Costa user – but Costa can change without consulting me.  I also use Twitter user, but Twitter can, does, and will, happily change without any acknowledgement of my rights.   But I own this blog, and so it doesn’t change without my day so.  If I own a car, then it’s my car.  It might break down, but then I get people to fix it.  They report to me.  So I think ‘Voice-owner’ is a slightly more natural term to use – particularly when looking at AAC-use within it’s own care network.    

It’s particularly nice because then you quickly get ‘Voice-mechanics’, ‘Voice-programmers’ and a variety of other sensibly defined roles that are all subordinate to the owner of the voice in their opinion,  and I believe this is important.  
I’m aware that only a few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled Why I personally have an open policy on if we use ‘people with disability’ or ‘disabled people’, which I very much stand by – that post was about abuse, this one is about use – and I think that is all the difference in the world.

EDIT: As a result of the ‘Earn money for criticizing me‘ pledge, this post earned $2.00 for MIND

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