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Lateef McLeod was Making Contact’s first Storytelling Fellow. Listen to his segment, read his reflection on his experience and donate to support this year’s class of fellows.

My tenure as the first Making Contact Storytelling Fellow was an extraordinary experience.

I had an amazing time producing the radio segment on the public’s perspective of people who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (A.A.C) devices.  Making Contact’s George Lavender and Kwan Booth assisted me greatly in production and marketing and I’m excited to share this radio segment with everyone and give more insight on the A.A.C. community.

Airing my segment on the Making Contact’s show was a big accomplishment for me that I am really proud of.  With the segment I was able to shine a light on the A.A.C. community who have severe disabilities and use different types of devices to communicate.

Our community is often marginalized and ignored by the public and most media outlets so I wanted to produce a segment where we could represent ourselves in our own words.

I was fortunate enough to interview a few people in the A.A.C. community: Dr. Samuel Sennott, April Bryant, Dr. Sarah Blackstone, and Dr. Bob Segalman.

Dr. Sennott is a professor at Portland State University and the co-creator of the A.A.C. app, Proloquo2Go.  In our interview we discussed the new innovation with technology in the A.A.C. field.

In my April Bryant interview we talked about her interaction with community while she uses A.A.C. and her relationship with her A.A.C. device. April gave me some good quotes of how she asserts herself and makes people address her like when she goes into the department store.

With Dr. Sarah Blackstone I discussed her extensive years working as a pioneer in the A.A.C. field as a speech language pathologist and what inspired her to work with people who use A.A.C.

With the Dr. Bob Segalman interview I discussed with him his successful career receiving two doctorates while having severe cerebral palsy and the program he developed to assist people who has severe speech disabilities to use the phone entitled Speech to Speech. With my narration throughout the segment, I was able to give my audience a first hand account of what it is like to communicate with A.A.C.

I am glad that my segment had a great reception and it’s wonderful to know that through my story thousands of people will learn more about the A.A.C. community. It lets me know that I accomplished my goals.

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