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MDRC cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression.

Marilyn is a woman who had a stroke more than three years ago and has had the inability to speak any words, other than the word “No” since her stroke. This word was used to communicate every response, including affirmative responses. She and her husband have been working with a community health worker for quite some time; this is how they became aware of the assistive technology program at the Capital Area Center for Independent Living (CACIL.)

Once the CACIL staff member spoke with her husband and explained the AT program, plans were made to travel to their home for a demonstration of devices. Marilyn, as explained by her husband, had experience in working with a speech therapist, however at the time of this therapy, Marilyn was still unable to speak and use other types of technology. Both Marilyn and her husband were excited to see what types of everyday devices were now available that may assist with communication.

While at their home, Marilyn was shown a few devices to assist with communication; some of these devices include the talking photo album, the Go Talk One, and the iPad with its various communication apps. Once the iPad was demonstrated, it became clear that Marilyn was interested in pursuing this to assist her with communication.

As apps from Lingraphica were demonstrated, Marilyn was able to master some of the basic icons and phrases; she began using them immediately. It was during this time that Marilyn was able to communicate the phrase “I love you” to her husband for the first time in more than three years. This was the moment in which they decided to pursue purchasing an iPad.

Since the demonstration, Marilyn and her husband have purchased the iPad and are using the Lingraphica apps as a means to communicate with each other. Marilyn’s husband has explained that it has been a slow process, but she seems to be using the apps more and more. It is their hope that she will begin using the apps more frequently and in other types of situations. However, they are so very thankful for the opportunity to be able to better communicate with one another.

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Michigan Disability Rights Coalition
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