Communication for All at the 2017 TASH Conference!

Communication Access was certainly a hot topic at the 2017 TASH Conference in Atlanta! TASH’s Communications Working Group kicked off the conversation with a Wednesday Workshop focused on how to move TASH’s Communication for All campaign forward in 2018. The panel, comprised of AAC users, researchers, and advocates, examined some of the myths and definitions of AAC.

AAC User Meet & Greet at the Annual TASH Conference
AAC Users attend a Meet & Greet at the 2017 TASH Conference

During the panel discussion, Ryan Duncanwood a member of TASH’s Communications Working Group, presented on a myth regarding the use of AAC devices. His presentation is shared below:


Hello everyone! My name is Ryan Duncanwood.  I am from California. I currently live in Northern California but, originally I am from the L A area.  I want to share with you the myth that introducing AAC devices to a child will hinder other forms of communication.  I received my first device when I was ten years old. Although I have used many electronic communication devices through out my life.  I still us verbal communication, gestures, e mail and texting. I often verbalize at home with people who know me. I will verbalize to get someone’s attention before I use my device to communicate further.  I text and e mail many times a day. When someone has difficulty verbalizing that does not mean they have nothing to say. Having multiple avenues of communication is necessary. AAC is a great addition to other communication not a replacement. Thank you!

-Ryan Duncanwood


Following the workshop, TASH hosted its annual Film Festival. The festival included a showing of Unspoken, TASH’s 2017 Positive Images in the Media Award winner. This documentary follows 14-year-old Emma as she explores a non-fluent speaker’s world and challenges societal judgment surrounding autism… one keystroke at a time. Emma and her mother were kind enough to conduct a Q&A following the screening! If you haven’t seen the film yet, be sure to check out the trailer as well as upcoming screenings.

Emma and her mother accepting TASH's 2017 Positive Images in the Media Award
Emma and her mother accepting TASH’s 2017 Positive Images in the Media Award.

Finally, the Communications Working Group hosted an AAC User Meet & Greet. This informal meeting offered individuals who use devices, keyboards, and letterboards to get to know others from around the country, and have discussions together!

AAC Users attend a Meet & Greet at the 2017 TASH Conference
AAC Users attend a Meet & Greet at the 2017 TASH Conference

This blog post has been posted as part of TASH’s Communication for All campaign. Learn more about the campaign at