The month of June is almost over. For many, June marks the start of summer, when the living is supposed to be easy. For me; however, June is a time for remembering Jonathan.
There wasn’t a teacher or therapist that wasn’t impressed with Jonathan’s enthusiasm and persistence in trying to communicate. He loved to talk football (a HUGE Florida Gator fan), ride horses, and go go go go go! (One of the few words he said that was clearly understood by everyone.) His dream after graduating high school was to get a decked out RV and travel the country. Over the years, we made an AFTER I GRADUATE list of all the great adventures he wanted to do – which included spitting/hollering in the Grand Canyon and singing karaoke in a country-western bar in Colorado. (Jonathan – I only have 1 more thing on the list to do – flying over an active volcano.)
Jonathan had a significant health incident on June 5, 2007 and passed away on June 26, 2007. He was 19 years old and I had been part of his life since he was 2. For 15 years, I drove to his school and home, spending the day with him. On the anniversary of his release from the restrictions of his body, I am remembering him with one lone tear and a full heart of gladness and gratitude.
Thank you J for being my teacher. Most of what I learned about persisting through access challenges, I learned from you. You taught me about the person-partner dance that is key to partner assisted scanning. You are still my best evidence that core vocabulary in an AAC system is key to developing communication competence. And you will forever be whispering in my ear, reminding me to keeping advocating for people who use and need AAC. Today I remember you!