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 Cerebral Palsy 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.

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