Why a Blog?

Over the past
few days, a SLP acquaintance of mine has been sending email to me with all
sorts of juicy, thought-provoking comments. I requested his permission to share
the commentary in my blog, and he conditionally granted it. Apparently, his
only concern was that he would be slammed. That tells me I need to call for a
time-out to clarify the general function of blogging and the specific goals for

In general, a
blog—short for “web log”—is just a type of web page
where the owner writes about whatever is on his mind. The purpose is to air his
views and that’s as far as some blogs go, creating essentially an online
diary. That strikes me as narcissistic, and the norm is for the blog to offer a
link after each entry to another section where readers can publicly comment about
that entry. This effectively creates an opportunity to exchange views, which is
the origin of all progress. Yes, my entries contain my perspective of things. As
one of my English teachers taught me, phrases like “in my opinion”
are inherently redundant since our personal perspective affects all we think,
do, or say. That’s simply a function of how our brains are wired so we
can’t reach 100% true objectivity. The way we can perhaps get the closest
is by keeping a healthy skepticism about established views, and value those
from people with first-hand experience. A goal of my blog is to share the views
of an individual who is severely disabled, articulate, well-educated, and has
direct experience in creating one AAC warmly received by the able-bodied private
sector. By no means am I the final authority on how the severely disabled regard
able-bodied society, but I think my life as a severely disabled person, including
two terms as president of the Organization of Disabled Students at the
University of Houston, and continued contact today with younger versions of
myself globally in IRC and occasionally in person, give me some level of
understanding that clinical studies and trials might not. I know we often have
a very darkly fatalistic side that we work hard to hide from the AB world so we
aren’t locked away. Another purpose of my blog is to give a ray of hope
by showing that a severely disabled person can at least make some inroads into
the AB world, partly by doing whatever it takes to be properly equipped.

I hope nobody
feels that “their ox is being gored” (to borrow a phrase from an
old buddy who did two tours in Nam
as a SOG sergeant). Yet, I’m definitely stirring the Kim-che well in
order to challenge established thinking by the AAC community and the
verbally-impaired community. Some reactionary thinking is natural. It’s
quite fine to say some people want to stay in the 90s. That’s their
choice to make. However, isn’t it prudent to have more options ready for
when that stuff wears out? Presenting the options made possible by Xpress It is
a secondary goal here.

A couple of
quick technical notes: most blog authors don’t also send out copies of
their entries by email. I am, temporarily, in order to seed the discussion. Boy,
is that working! There has been more useful dialog about Xpress It in the past
two months than in the preceding five years. Of course the eventual goal is to get
everybody used to reading it at http://spaces.msn.com/members/adayinthelifeofaperson/,
but expecting busy professionals and mature housewives to instantly learn to
monitor RSS feeds is wishful thinking. On the other hand, using the comment links
will allow you to post your responses to the entries without potentially exposing
your email address to the address harvesters that crawl the Web.

As I said, a
SLP acquaintance sent a ton of stuff worthy of response. So much stuff, in
fact, that it’s mind-numbing. I think I better take a few days off before
trying to deal with it. This blog thing is taking on all the trappings of a
full-time job—except the paycheck. :/

One last
thing for now. My information on Dr. Hawkins and his Dynavox was from a 20-minute
segment that premiered in late 2003. if yours is fresher data, great. A price
cut to $8,000 just shows how criminally overpriced it was.



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