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We need to tell our own stories, no matter how the voice sounds
Jun15

We need to tell our own stories, no matter how the voice sounds

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. Help our fellows tell more important stories like Lateef’s   Help spread the word about crowdfunding campaign. Share this link, tweet and image below on social media:...

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Voice Recognition: Does how we sound determine who we are?

What do our voices say about us? On this edition we explore voice and identity. Lateef McLeod, our inaugural Community Storytelling Fellow, explains the everyday challenges that come with using a speech generating device. We’ll hear from someone who nearly lost their voice, and we’ll look at how voice contributes to trans women’s sense of safety and self. Featuring: Mya Byrne, singer-songwriter Kathe Perez, creator of EVA app Samuel Sennott, assistant professor of special education at Portland University Bob Segalman, author “Against the Current, My Life with Cerebral Palsy” April Bryant, UC Berkeley student Hannah Simpson, Nika Jewell, Tela Love, 13th Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, attendees. Host: George Lavender Producers: Andrew Stelzer, Laura Flynn, Jasmin Lopez Contributing Producer: Meredith Talusan, Community Stortelling Fellow-Lateef McLeod Special thanks to Saskia Maltz More information Lateef McLeod Twitter: @kut2smooth Meredith Talusan, Twitter: @1demerith Mya Byrne Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/myabyrne Twitter: @myadriene Bob Segalman Is vocal fry hurting women’s job prospects? Eva App This show features Lateef McLeod, our 1st Community Storytelling Fellow. Donate now to help this year’s class of fellows tell their stories....

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My Farewell to My Storytelling Fellowship
Oct15

My Farewell to My Storytelling Fellowship

It is time to say goodbye to my Story Telling Fellowship with Making Contact. I had amazing time producing the radio segment on changing the public’s perception of people who use Augmentative Alternative Communication (A.A.C.) with the Making Contact staff, most notably George Lavender and Kwan Booth.  They both assisted me greatly in producing and marketing my radio segment and I owe them gratitude for the segment’s success. I am excited to share this radio segment with everyone and give more insight on the A.A.C. community. For the segment I was fortunate to interview four people that were either people who use A.A.C. or worked in the A.A.C. field: Dr. Samuel Sennott, April Bryant, Dr. Sarah Blackstone, and Dr. Bob Segalman. Dr. Sennott is a professor at Portland State University and is the co-creator of the A.A.C. app, Proloquo2Go. In our interview I mostly discussed with him the new innovation with technology in the A.A.C. field. He addressed the trend in the A.A.C. technological field to move to more natural voices in A.A.C. devices. He described how in developing Proloquo2Go he worked with Acapella voices so the program will have natural sounding voices for the users to choose from and he mentioned the work the company, Vocalid, is doing to make sure people who use A.A.C. have voices that sound like them. In my April Bryant interview I conversed with her 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. I am definitely excited for people to hear my radio segment with Making Contact that became live on their website on October 8th. People listening will definitely obtain more knowledge on how people who A.A.C. define ourselves and how we interact with society. I am proud of what I produced with Making Contact and I hope people will be able to listen in. Read Lateef's blog posts Why focus on the normally under represented community of A.A.C. in the media? Check out Lateef McLeod’s poem: “I am alright.” A Talk with Samuel Sennott,...

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Voice Recognition

What do our voices say about us? On this edition we explore voice and identity. We’ll hear from someone who nearly lost their voice, the challenges that come with ordering a pizza with a speech generating device, and and how voice contributes to trans women’s sense of safety and of self. Featuring: Mya Byrne, singer-songwriter Kathe Perez, creator of EVA app Samuel Sennott, assistant professor of special education at Portland University Bob Segalman, author “Against the Current, My Life with Cerebral Palsy” April Bryant, UC Berkeley student Hannah Simpson, Nika Jewell, Tela Love, 13th Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, attendees. Host: George Lavender Producers: Andrew Stelzer, Laura Flynn, Jasmin Lopez Contributing Producer: Meredith Talusan, Lateef McLeod Special thanks to Saskia Maltz This show features a segment produced by Lateef McLeod, Making Contact’s inaugural Community Storytelling Fellow. Read more about the fellowship here and read Lateef’s blog here. Listen to the show in segments More information Lateef McLeod Twitter: @kut2smooth Meredith Talusan, Twitter: @1demerith Mya Byrne Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/myabyrne Twitter: @myadriene Bob Segalman Is vocal fry hurting women’s job prospects? Eva App  ...

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The Ten A.A.C. Commandments
Aug25

The Ten A.A.C. Commandments

So as I come to a close of my Storytelling Fellowship with Making Contact I am thankful for the great experience I had with the program staff on making my radio piece. As part of my fellowship I was able to record my first rap song with an A.A.C. twist on it. It is over a familiar Biggie beat. Here it is: If you like my song be sure to tune in to listen to my radio segment about the public’s perception of people who use A.A.C. airing on Making Contact next month. It will be a great show for everyone to listen...

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My Krip-Hop Performance: Insights of a Spoken Word Artist Who Use A.A.C.
Jul31

My Krip-Hop Performance: Insights of a Spoken Word Artist Who Use A.A.C.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege to perform in the Krip-Hop Nation Bay Area Mini-Tour that honored Bay Area musical pioneer, Joe Capers. Joe Capers was a talented musical producer from Oakland who was blind and worked with the likes of MC Hammer and En Vogue when they were starting out in their careers. Leroy Moore, also a co-founder of Sins Invalid, organized this Mini-Tour together bringing together artists with disabilities from all around the world to perform. I was delighted to perform alongside emcees like Binkiwoi from Germany  and Lady MJ Warrior from the United Kingdom. Also more locally songstress, Nomy Lamm, and spoken word artists, Leroy Moore and Joy Elan, graced the stage besides me. We performed at the San Francisco Main Library, the Oakland Main Library, and the Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland on July 9th, 12th, and 13th respectively. Whenever I perform spoken word on my A.A.C. device I usually get rave reviews of how my poems are inspiring and touch people’s hearts. Below is the recording of my performance at the Oakland Main Library so you can see what people are talking about. I hope you...

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