Encouraging My Daughter With a Disability to Use Her Voice

Well, today it happened. One of my worst fears realized. When Jess came home, I noticed there were no words on her Talker. I looked in the history (on her iPad) and sure enough, she did not utter a word all day.

Upon this discovery, I turned to her and said, “If you do not use your voice, then someone will talk for you. If you do not make your own choices, someone else will decide for you. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Jess dropped her head in shame. She pondered this for a few minutes, then she said, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

I know Jess hasn’t been feeling well, she stayed home yesterday; she did not eat and napped on the couch. I know it’s a struggle to talk when she is on the go with a group. I know sometimes she feels when she talks people are not always listening.

However, as her mom, I will encourage her to use her voice. I don’t wan’t her to take her AAC voice for granted.

For the rest of the afternoon, Jess wouldn’t shut up and we were both happy.

I’m so glad we had that talk.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock image by THPStock

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Angelman Syndrome

Ashley reaching out to hug Amber.

What My Sister's 'Random Acts of Hugging' Taught Me About Disability and Life

Since my sister Ashley doesn’t communicate through spoken language, she has to show people how she feels and what she is thinking. There is an age-old saying that actions speak louder than words. Ashley’s actions don’t just speak louder; they scream louder. She speaks with hugs and snuggles to say “I love you, and you [...]
Shereen and her brother.

To My Older Brother With Angelman Syndrome

There are so many things I would like to say to you, but you’d just think I’m being your annoying little sister. So I have decided to say a few things to strangers about what it was like growing up together, and our unbreakable bond. My earliest memories as a kid involved us, in front [...]
Ashley and Amber

How My Sister With Angelman Syndrome Has Shaped My Career Path

My desk at work is piled with stacks of papers, reports, and Post-it notes with to-do reminders. When I am having a difficult day, I know taking a moment to look at the framed photograph on my desk of my sister will always put a smile on my face. I can take credit for the [...]
Amber Rippy and her sister.

How My Sister With a Disability Made Me a Better Person

My sister Ashley has Angelman syndrome. I tell you this first because she and her disability have become so much a part of my own identity.  Ashley is so special to me.  Ashley went to all of my gymnastics competitions when we were kids, and she stood by my side as the Maid of Honor [...]