One goal for the coming season is to be able to talk to EVERYONE in actual face-to-face interactions. I need to continue regular times of deep conversations with trusted friends—with full physical support when I need it. G and E have promised this. But I also plan to use my portable LightWriter device with everyone, for quick everyday interactions, and with as little physical support as I can manage. Sometimes I can do this with someone only touching my shoulder.
This second goal is VERY important for my relationships with friends and supporters—it means I can talk with them every day. With some of them I might progress to deeper conversations. I need to be able to tell Heidi for example my choices and explain any problems we may encounter in our days together. This will advance our Bridges Dream too, as new communication assistants will gain confidence first gradually and not feel awed by full facilitation.
So I plan to get comfortable with both levels of Supported Typing. My general strategy is to practice less physical support for part of each time one of my communication facilitators visits, to find out what works best. Then I will practice with each support person or friend separately. I have different relationships with each supporter or friend, just like people who talk with their voices. We think this will be more sensitive and less stressful than a group workshop from a cold start. Getting over the initial resistance is the hard part. Don’t give up. I may get it yet!
I am very concerned that, if I get better at quick conversations with just about everyone in my life and with a less physical support, people might think I could do without the deep communication sessions. It would be like throwing out the baby with the bathwater! To have physical support to type about difficult subjects or when I am feeling stressed is very essential and must not be given up or taken away. If a person does type independently but no longer says as much of an important message, someone should offer a hand once in a while to not lose the sophisticated thoughts that might not come out independently. There is a danger in not allowing the deep communication, intelligence and creativity to come out. Right now I could not have said all this without good physical support from an experienced facilitator. So the moment would have come and gone and you wouldn’t know what I was thinking.
It would be dangerous because one might be too upset to say one is upset and then one might hurt oneself. I can talk about my wishes with my hand supported so people know how to plan. Without support it is limited to food choices and what to wear today. I can imagine getting better at the short phrases in time but don’t cut out the chances to really talk or I may lose my way again. I am happy to know the plan is for balance and nothing extreme. I don’t care about independence: I care about communication.