Archive for October 2017

5 Augmentive Assistive Communication (AAC) Devices for the Communication Impaired

Imagine… someone you care about cannot communicate how they feel, express their needs, tell you they love you, or indicate they are sick or in pain.

We convey meaningful messages everyday without considering how hopeless or isolated we would feel if we were unable to do so.

It is through interaction that we create meaning and build relationships that are integral to independent living.

People speak at and for the communication impaired. All the while assuming they cannot understand or are somehow cognitively impaired. This is no way to live.

Augmentive assistive communication devices (AAC’s) bridge these gaps.

AAC’s provide the communication impaired, their family, friends and caregivers the gift of everyday interactions that many of us take for granted.

If you know someone who is communication impaired, please explore these options:


5 Facebook Tips to Help Nonprofits Skyrocket


98% of nonprofits are on Facebook. The truth is: social media can be a powerful tool for nonprofits to connect with their audience. Online platforms make for an excellent opportunity to tell your story, engage with supporters, and shed light on a special cause. Growing a Facebook page takes time and effort but with the right guidance, your organization’s mission will effectively get across to the public. Here are 5 tips that will help you strengthen your social network presence on Facebook.

1. Find Your Voice

Be personal and authentic. Let your nonprofit speak for itself. It doesn’t help if you sound just like the organization next door. Find what makes your organization stand out and own it!

It’s okay to post an inspirational quote if you believe your audience will like it. However, the majority of the time, be original. Post your own images and videos, share original stories or provide a special behind-the-scenes look at your organization.

2. Be Visual

Visuals are always more captivating than text by itself. Posts that include images or videos generate about 80% more engagement than the average post.

Every cause and mission carries thousands of stories to tell. Social media gives supporters a place to share these stories with engaging visuals.

3. Be engaging; create a 2-way dialogue

Get people talking by asking questions in your status updates and personally respond to people who comment on your posts. Your supporters are more likely to comment/post if they know you are listening. Your Facebook strategy should be a two-way conversation – not a platform for merely announcements or to ask for donations.

This allows them to know you care for what they have to say. It should never be a one-way form of communication. Online engagement is all about creating a conversation with your supporters: a 2-way dialogue.

4. Create Facebook Events

Facebook events are effective because they create social proofWhen someone confirms their attendance on Facebook, friends see it on their news feeds. This helps spark participation from their peers.

5. Highlight a Donor of the Week or Special Stories

Make your supporters the stars. People love recognition and most importantly, your supporters love knowing their contributions are making an impact on your organization.

Overall, social media is all about developing a connection with those who support your cause. There are just 5 helpful tips to help your Nonprofit Facebook page skyrocket in engagement. Start implementing them today and watch how your organization will begin to flourish!

To learn more about CECO, visit our Facebook Page.

Three Ways to be a Friend with Someone with Cerebral Palsy

Because all friendships begin with the intention to engage in another person’s life experience in a way that it meets our need for acceptance, support, in trust, the platinum rule that says, “Treat others the way they want to be treated,” applies to all friendships.

Because life begins for everyone the same, research confirms that it is the others through whom we discover our talents and purpose in life, subsequently, it is the quality of our interpersonal relationships that determine, not only how happy we are, but also how our lives will turn out. Studies of interpersonal relationships show that the happiest people have meaningful relationships characterized by high levels of acceptance, support, and trust.

Foxtar Media presents an image of a boy with cerebral palsy. Photographed by: Smart Taps

Acceptance is a choice to behaving in trustworthy ways, and it is a type of communication that detaches any conditions and expresses unconditional respect toward the other person and his or her ideas. Acceptance is crucial because it reduces anxiety and enhances the willingness to disclose intimate information, which is the cornerstone of any friendship. “If I am afraid to tell you who I am, because if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am,” you will take away “all that I have.”

Support is a type of communication that expresses collaborative intent, and it involves encouragement and shows the confidence in the other person that he or she will manage the given situation effectively. Support is crucial because it is the intent that realizes in action, reflecting in the quality time spent together. Accordingly, support is the foundation for resilience because a person’s “autonomy is the result of the internalization of values derived from previous caring and supportive relationships.”

Trust is the mirror of many positive interactions and reflects the level of acceptance and support in a given relationship. “Interpersonal trust is built through risk and confirmation and is destroyed through risk and confirmation. Without the risk, there is no trust, and the relationship cannot move forward.”

The difficulty in building a friendship with someone who lives with cerebral palsy (CP), is not the condition but the perception of CP. Fact is that CP is one of the most common, yet least known, childhood motor disability that affects 1 in every 323 children in the United States. It is a non-progressive condition, and yet many individuals with CP live a normal, happy, and healthy life.

Fact is; CP must be seen on a spectrum; accordingly, each person has different needs and abilities; however, the truth is that every person is beautiful and every person wants  to play, explore, learn, love, and live a productive and meaningful life.

If you like to make a difference in someone else’s life and be a friend and put a smile on a face of a person with CP, please contact the Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO) or any other CP organization in your area.

Top four tips for making a difference through community engagement

Have you ever wanted to make a difference but not known where to begin? Our world faces many challenges and times of struggle that raise uncertainties about our place and role in society. As individuals, we have more power than we believe, and it is up to each one of us to channel the potential that lies within.

When we join together, our impact becomes far-reaching. In this video, I will discuss the top four ways you can create positive change through community engagement. Whether it be an independent goal, a family commitment, or a city-wide undertaking, community engagement can become a part of your lifestyle that is both rewarding and transformative for yourself and others.

The ways to become involved in your community can be within your reach and aligned with your passions. Choose to donate your time through volunteering, or contribute money, goods, or services. Educate others about a cause or mission and spread awareness about the organizations that advocate for those causes. Participate in advocacy efforts to create change through legislation, practices individuals engage in, and encourage others to join in and support the efforts in their own way. Join us as we explore these available options that fit your lifestyle and interests.

Volunteer Match is a wonderful resource that supports this very mission and emphasizes the many ways that we can choose to join the movement to do good. If you want to be the change the world needs to see, you can start today. Begin within your community to become engaged in making a difference; discover what speaks to you.

Ajit Narayanan’s FreeSpeech App Empowers Verbally Disabled

A 2013 TED Talk About A Word Game That Transcends Language

Shannon Conner | October 23, 2017

In February 2013 at a packed Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Invention Labs Founder and CEO, Ajit Narayanan, shares a chance encounter that inspires him to develop the Avaz and FreeSpeech apps.

The apps support, and translate for, verbally disabled children by converting pictures into speech. Communication support, that if not started early on, can result in “difficulties in: language development, social interaction, learning, development of life skills” (2017 Kim Bates and Katrina Macleod).

Narayan refers to a Daniel Webster quote when saying his passion is to “empower children with disabilities to be able to communicate and get all the rest back!” Getting all the rest back is exactly the mission of the Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO). Reach out to them at:

Adam Pearson’s Powerful TED Talk: Removing the Stigma of Disability


Adam Pearson, award-winning British actor, spoke at a TED conference in Brighton, UK on March 23, 2017. The presenter addressed the issue of removing disability stigma.

Pearson, born with neurofibromatosis, has been involved in special programs to prevent bullying associated with deformities. Due to his face disfigurement, he has been a victim of persecution of bulling In the TEDx Talk, the actor shares the importance of recognizing how prejudice against disabled individuals has been mostly provoked by the media.

“Disabilities and documentaries historically have not been done well,” said Pearson. “If you look at channel five, these programs start with voiceovers like, ‘Jimmy was born with a shark for an arm’ and Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ starts playing in the background. That’s not how we want to be portrayed on television.”

Research shows that educational conferences such as TED may protest hostile representations of illness as a way to challenge the stigmas they represent. Pearson strives to change the way promotional videos and ads about disabilities are to be done.

To learn more about how you can help those with disabilities in the Central Florida community and contribute to removing the stigma, please visit Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO).

Mathew Struthers Explains How to Fall Like a Pro at TEDx Event at Berklee College of Music

On June 5, 2017, Mathew Struthers shares his journey of taking control over his life by learning how to treat cerebral palsy as a nuisance and gives his audience a vision of what it means to be human: imperfect yet illimitable. His story, “Falling Like a Pro was presented at TEDx Talk sponsored by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

When Mathew received his diagnosis, his parents were told he would never walk, run, climb, or swim. Today, Mathew does all of the above, is a recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music, and above all lives his life to the fullest. He says, success begins when you “go to look at your monsters in the face.”

To learn more about ways you can help improve the quality of life of people with cerebral palsy,  contact CECO or any other CP organization in your area.

Sherwin Nuland’s TED talk explores the extraordinary power of ordinary people to inspire us to act

Sherwin Nuland shares his insight on the power of the ordinary person in healing others at his February, 2003 TED Talk presentation, The extraordinary power of ordinary people, in Monterey, California.

The power to change the world lies within each one of us, and it is up to us to act upon this truth every day. Sherwin Nuland is an experienced surgeon and also a writer who combines his unique expertise and passions to share captivating and credible motivation in his TED talk, “The extraordinary power of ordinary people”. His wisdom is striking in simplicity and relevance.

We must believe we can accomplish the extraordinary, rather than limiting ourselves with the fallacy that we are merely ordinary people without the means to influence our world in far-reaching ways. Believing in ourselves allows us to make the change the world needs today, in the realms of hope, healing, and humanity.

Hippocrates wisely stated, “Where there is love of humankind, there is love of healing”. It’s up to us to believe and begin, to meet passion with action and make a change. Start small, begin within yourself. To learn more about ordinary superheroes in our central Florida community, visit Conductive Education Center of Orlando.