Last week we promised more presentations by our students at the 2016 TASH Conference in St. Louis. Ian Nordling is our next self advocate presenting his thoughts on the importance of communication in his TASH Talk. Ian has been spelling on the letterboards and keyboards for over 2 years and is now beginning to type independently. He is a tenacious advocate for access to communication. We are sure Ian’s message will resonate you just as they with the audience at TASH. ~Elizabeth
Thank you for being here today. I am Ian Nordling. I am here today to talk about the beauty of communication. I am uniquely qualified to talk about this because I did not have a way to talk until three years ago.
This might sound impossible but it is true. I could not communicate more than a few words. Then I learned to control my arm so I could spell my thoughts on a letterboard. These words took the world for me. I could finally express myself after all of these years. You cannot imagine a greater triumph! The world opened up for me through those words.
I have been pleased to gain entry to the world through the words that had been stuck in my head but are now free. Unless you have been without communication you have no idea how important it is. I really can’t tell you every way that it has changed my life but I can say that it has changed everything.
I now live in Virginia because I was able to tell my parents I wanted to move there so I could be close to GKTC and others like me who spell. I now have phenomenal friends like me who talk with letters. I am finally learning and my intellectual curiosity is satisfied at last. I am incredibly happy today because I can communicate.
*TASH Talks are limited to 8 minutes, so Ian wrote the beginning of his speech (above) prior to the conference and completed the part below live.
Thank you for being here today. I want to echo Elizabeth, don’t judge me based on my motor. You can clap more for that. I am hungry to learn. I hunger for friends. This hunger can only be satisfied through communication, understanding and acceptance. Time to change beliefs.