These are almost accurate titles. But what are they missing?
This small word makes a HUGE difference.
Many people know the "speech" part of the profession, but not the language aspect.
And language is much more than just speech!
It's nonverbal communication.
Most of us can use a variety of these language tools and modalities daily, but some people only have access to one.
And we must validate the importance and vitality of all of the modalities of language.
I was recently in Thailand. As I don't speak Thai, I had to rely on all of the other modalities of language. And let me tell you, it was hard. But it was successful (most of the time ;) ).
We stayed in some remote parts of the country, and so we weren't able to always fall back on English as the "universal" language. For example, when we walked into a restaurant the first day, we weren't sure if they were open or not. We saw a sign, but it was in Thai so we couldn't read it. We used gestures to indicate we wanted to eat. They gestured back for us to follow them to a table. We looked at pictures on the menu and pointed to them. We smiled when the food came. We bowed when we left. We didn't use much or any speech, but we were able to use a lot of language to get our needs met.
So for those in your life who don't have access to speech, or don't have access to the speech that you can understand, don't forget about the power of LANGUAGE.
Be creative and make up your own language with your loved one that doesn't require speech.
Be receptive to the modality that your loved one needs right now.
Be patient with the process, as it can change daily.
There is no perfect. All language is individual and valid. And the more you can learn to speak your loved one's language, perhaps you will find that some things are better left unsaid.
My name is Amy Lauer