Today is my Grandmother’s birthday. Born in 1904, she would be 111 years old. Growing up, my grandmother lived across the street from us.   I wouldn’t say that I remember my Grandmother as being “grandmotherly,” rather, I remember her as being a straightforward, no nonsense type of woman. She had a head for business and finance, managing a successful family cheese plant in Wisconsin.  (Quick Advertisement for the family business = Gibbsville Cheese Company,

Gibbsville Cheese Plant over the years.

Gibbsville Cheese Plant over the years.

Grandma Van was a formidable woman in the best sense of the word – inspiring respect through being capable, strong, and excellent.  I like to think that I have some of my Grandma Van in me.

Some of the situations I’ve been in as a “seasoned” SLP in AAC have required me to be formidable.

  • I’d like to believe that being a little “formidable” helped me when interacting with traditional SLPs who thought AAC was a passing fade.
  • I’d like to believe that being “formidable” was to my advantage when challenged by administrators who thought the most severely disabled children on my caseload weren’t worthy of expensive AAC systems.
  • I’d like to think that being a bit “formidable” was a turning point in conversations with medical doctors who were hesitant to prescribe AAC devices.

There will always be challenges we face as AAC professionals.  Sometimes, it requires us to be formidable.  I’m going to channel my inner Grandma Van and give some grandmotherly advice.

  1. Be capable. Develop your skills and abilities to work with people who use AAC. Learn, practice, listen to others!
  2. Be strong.   Do what you know is the right thing to do for children and adults who use AAC.
  3. Be excellent. Strive to do your best for people who use AAC. Don’t settle for “good enough” practices.

Thanks Grandma Van! And Happy Birthday.