Jim Shannon on Making Effective Communication a Reality for People With Disabilities

Guest Author: Jim Shannon

My name is Jim Shannon and I am a new member of TASH. I have been asked to introduce our new campaign, Communication for All, but first I want to give you my background.

  • Born in 1971 and diagnosed with CP at six months
  • Was the first non- verbal quad in Middle Tennessee to go through school with a personal aide 1976-1990
  • Graduated 20th out of 400 from high school in 1990
  • Voted most intelligent male of my high school class
  • Received my Master’s Degree in Information Systems in 2000
  • Hired by the State of Tennessee as a data specialist in 2001
  • Started speaking to graduate classes about AAC in 2003
  • Participated in doctoral studies

When I was young, my parents recognized that I was smart because I could do simple math, spell simple words and read. They had me evaluated to see how intelligent I was and the best way I could communicate. The test indicated I was extremely smart. Soon after the test, I had my first communication device. This communication device would start a chain of events that would make me the person I am today. Needless to say, communication is extremely important to everyone but even much more crucial to someone who is severely limited in how they communicate. Let’s make effective communication a reality for people with disabilities. Join me in sharing TASH’s new campaign, Communication for All. The campaign was created to promote life-long communication for people with disabilities through awareness, professional development, access to communication technologies, instruction, and support.