It was November 1992. Special Interest Group 12 (AAC) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) had just publishing their first newsletter. Yours truly was the newsletter editor – a task that I would do through 1996.
In 1992, the coordinator of SIG 12 was Dr. Carolyn Watkins, and other committee members included Joan Bruno, Kathleen Kangas, Arlene Kraat, and myself. During my stint on the committee from 1992 to 1996, I was also privileged to serve with Faith Carlson, Mary Blake-Huer, Lyle Lloyd, Rose Sevcik, Tracy Kovach, and Sheila Bridges. That’s a litany of impressive names in the field of AAC. It was my privilege to volunteer for my professional organization. Fifteen years later, I once again said “yes” to service.
On January 1, 2011, I started another stint on the SIG 12 Coordinating Committee, serving through December 31, 2013. Then, I agreed to be the first SIG 12 Professional Development Manager, extending my time on the Coordinating Committee through December 31, 2016!
There are many different AAC communities and groups you could join. And I hope you ARE joining them! Communities are a great source of education and professional development.
Here’s my Top Three Things I’ve Learned from Being Part of AAC Communities.
- Community reminds you that you are not always right. Healthy communities encourage open, honest discussions that give equal opportunity to every voice. Everyday it reminds me that if you and I think exactly alike, then one of us is redundant.
- Community relieves you of the notion that you are indispensible. The next generation of AAC experts is bringing exciting new ideas and energy with them. Anyone who thinks that she is essential for the survival of the field is fooling herself.
- Community provides you with the opportunity of companionship. It is said that, “you are known by the company that you keep.” I’ve been with some pretty amazing company and I’m honored to be in community with the. The relationships that have developed now extend well beyond the realm of shared professional interests. I have life-long friends with people from my AAC community. Together, we’ve taken vacations, visited family, and shared tears at the loss of a loved one. My life is richer because of the AAC community.