Communication page I used to handle that invasive woman I met.

Standard

It’s been quite some time since I posted my letter to the woman who accosted me on my way to the para transit van. But I wanted to update people on how I handled the situation when she approached me the next day. Which was a success.

I knew that I have trouble coming up with new language of any kind in high stress situations, especially involving people with bad boundaries. So I spent most of the night creating a new page for my communication software.

I use Proloquo or Proloquo2Go for most of my communication these days. My super-expensive, clunky Dynavox has been collecting dust in a corner ever since I first got Proloquo2Go years ago. Proloquo2Go has two separate sections. One where you type and it speaks out loud. Another where you can say something by pressing on one or more pictures.

I created a page where everything was about boundaries in one way or another. These are things I’m often unable to say in real time. I have a hard time remembering its possible to say these things. And coming up with words. And monitoring my emotions in response to situations. And communicating around invasive people. And pushing words past what feels like a barrier between my mind and everything else. Let alone all this and more at once.

Here’s the page I created:

[Description: A communication page arranged as a grid with one sentence per square. Each one has one word or sentence. Words in parentheses are what the previous sentence is an abbreviation for: Back off. Don't patronize... (Don't patronize me.) Don't talk to me. Don't touch me. Don't want talk about. (I don't want to talk about it.) Fuck off. Get out of my face. Go away. I am not a child. I don't care. I don't do eye contact. I'm not kidding. I've a right to be mad. (I have a right to be mad.) it's not funny. Leave me alone. Now. Please. Stay away from me. Stop it right now. Stop. That hurts my brain. You put me in danger. (You're putting me in danger.) you're hurting me. You're too close to me.]

I tried to make it so that I could use various levels of politeness, forcefulness, and rudeness depending on the situation. One way I did this was with different icons. Obviously, “leave me alone” and “fuck off” are very different. But another way I did it was by adding icons for “please” and “now”, the two squares outlined in blue. This made it so, by hitting two buttons in a row, I could say “please leave me alone” or “leave me alone now”. So I have a pretty good variety of intensity I can use.

I was expecting her the next day. She had said she wanted to meet me in the morning. So I prepared myself. I tried to stay connected and aware of my surroundings. She sat down at the table next to me. And she watched until my staff person had to leave me alone for a minute. Then she approached.

Because I was expecting her, I was prepared for the onslaught people like her carry with them. That thing where when they get close to you, it almost feels as if they are overlapping with you. So in my head I made sure to mentally separate us, which made it easier to communicate. I hit “please” and “stay away from me”. She yammered some sort of explanation and went back to her table.

I maintained deliberate mental distance the rest of the morning that I was anywhere near her. My case manager later made an effort to find her. She’d heard the story from a guy who witnessed it, and she wanted to report this woman. But we never found her. And things went just fine the rest of the day.

In any alternate universes where I didn’t make this communication page, the likely outcome is much worse. I would have been pretty much trapped around this woman, and that would have done a kind of emotional damage that takes time to recover from. It’s nothing that has any kind of official name, it just leaves me more vulnerable to other people like her until I can reverse it.

Another important thing I did besides create the communication page, was to rehearse everything many times beforehand. If I don’t do something like this, it’s hard to use the communication icons. Contrary to popular belief, just having the ability to type or use icons, doesn’t solve every communication problem.

And without rehearsing, there’s a big chance I’ll never use a page like this. My fingers won’t know where to go. My mind won’t remember it’s possible. My eyes won’t remember to look through the page to find possible things to say. My will won’t be able to push through the barrier between experience and expression. And much more. That’s a lot of places for communication to break down.

It is absolutely vital that people who use communication devices, have ways to respond to violations of our basic boundaries. Disabled people are far more likely than others to have others behave invasively with us, ranging from subtle to violent. People teach us from our earliest years onward that such invasion is normal, natural, and something we should accept without complaint. We have to have the means to say no.

And we have to have the means to say no forcefully, even rudely. We need to be able to use cuss words, even if we have the kind of personality that would never use them. Sometimes the only reason that we appear unnaturally even-tempered is because we’ve never been allowed to be otherwise. We have the right to say fuck off, but people don’t always give us the ability to do so.

Of course, even if we say things like that, there’s no guarantee anyone will listen. Some people’s reactions when I get mad, remind me of the way people giggle at my cat when she swipes someone who touched her in a way that hurts her. It’s like she and I aren’t real enough to them, so our anger is cute and funny.

I’ll also never forget the time someone made an asinine comment when I was out in public. I typed a response and stuck the speaker up to his ear so he could hear it. All his friends burst out laughing. One of them said “Dude, that guy’s cussing you out using a machine!” Which is… so much not the response I was going for.

But still. We need to be able to have the full range of responses that other people can have. To do otherwise smacks too much of that idea that we should be passive and sweet all the time. Being able to say no, being able to cuss, being able to tell people to go away and leave us alone, these are some of the most important things people with communication impairments can learn to say. But often people don’t teach us that stuff, they don’t want us to know it.

Another important thing: Communication pages like this are not just for people who absolutely can’t ever speak. They are for anyone, anywhere, who for whatever reason would be unable to say things like this in situations where they need to be able to say it.

I’ve run into too many people lately who desperately need something like this, but are afraid to use it because they don’t fit the popular image of someone who needs a communication device. Some of them have even been told that it’s horrible or disrespectful of them to even consider using a communication device. But my position on it is that having the most effective communication method possible can result in better emotional and physical health, in some situations it can even save lives.

So given all that? If something like this can make your life better, for any reason at all. Whether you can’t ever speak, can only sometimes speak, can only speak about certain topics, can speak but it isn’t what you mean, can speak but typing or using picture icons works better or uses fewer mental resources. Or anything else like that. Do whatever works best for you, and screw anyone who tells you different.

Anyone who feels the need to act as the supreme gatekeeper of all things assistive technology… not only do they have too much time on their hands, but they are letting ideology get in the way of real people leading better lives. And that is just plain wrong, and fundamentally unfair to people who could benefit from a communication aid.

 

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39 responses »

  1. I find it profoundly disturbing (not surprising but disturbing) that anyone would try to tell someone that it is somehow “disrespectful” to use a communication device. Makes me wonder how they respond to people who *do* use communication devices. It shouldn’t matter if a person “fits the popular image” of someone who needs a communication device or not. I figure, if a person needs it enough to wish they had one, even for just part of the time in certain situations, then they need it. That should be enough for anyone else.

    • I find it profoundly disturbing too. Their reasoning is similar to people who think that if you can stand, for any time at all, you shouldn’t ever use a wheelchair. And when I hear that sort of reasoning coming from actual disabled people… the level of self-pity it must require, to sit around saying “I have things so bad that if you use the same assistive tech I do, you’re invalidating how much I’ve suffered, because if I could walk even one step, say just one word, then you’d better believe I’d do that instead,” which is usually how it runs… I just boggle at the self-centeredness.

      I’ve actually heard that one before, from multiple people. “How can people possibly rationalize not wanting to talk when there are people who’d give their right arm to just say a few words?” Which is wrong in so many ways I can’t even figure out how to explain it. As if people should avoid using their most effective means of communication, just to satisfy the egos of (only some) people who can’t talk at all. Personally I believe that even if it’s just a preference, people should be able to use whatever means of communication they’re the most comfortable with.

      There’s also sometimes this idea that assistive tech is (or ought to be) a limited resource that needs to be saved for those who “really need it”. And those who “really need it”, of course, are people who can’t talk at all, are completely paralyzed, can’t take a single step without crutches, you get the idea. Which is not how things work — and when it does work that way, it’s usually a sign of some type of injustice that needs to be corrected.

      Personally I view assistive tech the same way I view bicycles. We don’t test people to make sure they have trouble walking a certain distance, before they can use a bicycle. And the only reason we do similar things with regard to assistive tech, is because we live in societies that see disability in completely the wrong way. It goes back to not only seeing it entirely through a medical lens, but also as people who are using up some sort of goodwill and pity and charity that has to be limited to those who “deserve” or “really need it”, along with a huge helping of “if we don’t limit who can do this, everyone would want it, and that would be terrible”. That whole thing where you have to watch disabled people constantly to make sure we aren’t cheating and getting away with something. Which seems to be behind a lot of very bad things that happen to us.

      There’s also been this problem I’ve noticed. Where people have become way too afraid of offending us, because of attitudes like the above. That I’ve had a lot of people ask me if it’s okay to use a wheelchair or a communication device. Which just… yes it’s okay, and no you shouldn’t need to ask me because I shouldn’t be the one making these decisions for you. I even saw one autistic guy asking if it was “appropriative” of him to use sign language when he was unable to talk. Which shows that some people (he has to have actually heard this somewhere) fundamentally don’t get what appropriation is.

      And yes. There are disabled people who say all of this stuff. And I see such disabled people as incredibly selfish. Because what else can you call it when you want other people to suffer, just so you can hold a pity party or whatever else you’re doing to convince yourself that limiting other people is okay.

      I can still remember being a part time aug comm user. Speech hurt. It hurt my ears, my throat, and my brain. And it took up so many resources that it made my nerve pain far worse. It often didn’t say what I actually meant. I outright couldn’t communicate on certain topics. It drained so many of my resources that I didn’t have the energy left to do tons of things I wanted and needed to do. much of the time I couldn’t do it at all.

      And there are people who would rather I Kept talking until I couldn’t anymore. Rather I stay in pain. Rather I be unable to do other important things. Rather all that and more. And that pisses me off on behalf of everyone experiencing the same kind of things. I know people who fear to use aug comm because of these kind of people. There is no excuse at all for scaring or guilting people into avoiding the best option for themselves. There just isn’t.

      • I had something similar happen to me when an occupational therapist did not want me to get a walker because I might become dependant on it. As if “walker addiction” was some sort of huge social problem like meth. Geez, who CARES if I use a walker or a stick or a wheelchair to get around? How is that relevant to anyone other than me?

        The bicycle analogy is a good one. The one I used was computers. I haven’t had a job in many years that wasn’t dependant on computers, but nobody sees that as a problem. It’s just a tool.

  2. I had initially thought of saying that accusing people with disabilities of being somehow “disrespectful”
    for using communication aids that they NEED (even if only part of the time, and even if because it is better or easier than the alternatives for various reasons and not because the alternatives necessarily aren’t there at all) is in and of itself seriously disrespectful of people with disabilities.

    But. Yeah. It’s a he** of a lot more than just “disrespectful” to a person with disabilities to pressure them into avoiding accommodations and tools they need.

    I think one part of the problem (and yeah, I recognize there are many other reasons also, including some of the ones you describe here and probably also many more reasons that neither you nor I have mentioned yet … I’m just naming one particular issue among many) may be that non-disabled people often seem to be rather oblivious to how much effort it can take for many of us to do certain things. I think it may be partly a “mind-blindness” problem that some non-disabled neurotypical people have (no, not trying to be facetious here, just not sure what other terminology suits the situation) where they find it difficult to conceive that, not only are there people in the world who have disabilities, but that the things we can and cannot do, or find difficult versus easy etc. are often profoundly different from what they would consider “easy” versus “difficult” etc.

    Some non-disabled people already have trouble recognizing that just because they, e.g., find math “easy” doesn’t mean that everyone else finds it equally “easy”. And this is a common form of diversity that many non-disabled people DO recognize, if nothing else because they see some kids doing well in math class and others working harder to achieve the same grades (or less). Many non-disabled people seem to find it even harder to grasp that the diverse range of experiences in what is easy/hard/feasible/too costly in energy etc. grows exponently when you go beyond recogning diversity among non-disabled people to recognizing the same among disabled people. I have met more hearing people than I care to count who seem to simply assume that if *they* find it easy to understand *me*, then I must surely find it easy to understand them and therefore don’t need any particular accommodations. If they can understand me, this is somehow supposed to mean that I don’t need an interpreter, or need for them to write things down etc. Erm. No. That’s NOT how deafness works. AT ALL. Or. Really. Not how ANY thing involving diverse humans work.

    Too many non-disabled people seem to think that if something is really hard for us then it will be obvious to them, i.e. they will see it. No. We may be trying very hard, and expending tremendous amounts of energy, in all sorts of ways that they never notice.

    What I wish more non-disabled people would get is:

    We ALREADY LIVE in a world that inherently privileges certain “standard” ways of doing things. Such as, communicating with others via speech. Or obtaining certain types of information by reading and certain other types of information by listening. Or using spoken English in certain countries/contexts, or spoken Spanish, French, etc., in other countries and contexts. And so forth. All this means that anyone who finds the “standard” way of doing things at all easy, accessible, and feasible already has extremely heavy incentive to do these. Although speaking clearly does take more conscious effort for me than it does for most hearing people, I still find it a fairly easy and effective way to express myself most of the time: there are only a few certain situations in which I may use other approaches. Lipreading, however, requires far more effort and is far less effective for me. Yet, despite the difficulty, I still use it some of the time because there are many advantages to lipreading (IF and WHEN it actually works). That’s because our social norms are basically set up to inherently favor people who can speak and understand when others speak. So if I’m asking a person to write things down for me, that’s because I really *need* for them to write it down. And because lipreading consumes so much energy, I’m often glad if a person writes some things down part of the time even if I haven’t yet asked.

    If more people would grasp how overwhelmingly powerful the incentives ALREADY ARE for doing things the same way as everyone else, then maybe they would begin to understand that those of us who are using (or trying to use) non-standard approaches are using them because we NEED to. And they should just respect that and follow our lead, even if they don’t (yet) really understand WHY we need to use non-standard approaches. We don’t need any added pressure from well-intended people who think we just need to “try harder” (as if we weren’t already) or need “more practice” (as if we haven’t had a lifetime of practice), etc.

    • That all makes sense. I also somehow suspect it’s heavily intertwined with the idea that disabled people are getting special treatment, or getting away with something. And that it’s therefore necessary to constantly watch us for signs of “cheating”. Ugh.

    • [quote]Some non-disabled people already have trouble recognizing that just because they, e.g., find math “easy” doesn’t mean that everyone else finds it equally “easy”.[/quote]

      Yes, a great many non-disabled, non-autistic people seem to have some trouble with “Theory of Mind”. How strange.

  3. I’m glad you found a way to deal with that person.

    I have a question regarding a similar situation that just happened to my daughter. A very nice woman who assists at therapeutic horseback riding got right up into Adrianna’s face. This was the first lesson of the year and the woman was excited to see my daughter again. She shouted, “Hi Adrianna!” (I don’t know why people always assume she is hard of hearing. I could understand if she was wearing her earphones at the time but she wasn’t) Adrianna began to flap furiously. She echoed the greeting in the same high-pitched voice Cindy used. Then Cindy bent down to make eye contact with Adrianna who was glancing toward the ground. Cindy was right under her nose. Cindy shouted, “How are you?” Adrianna flapped faster, crossed her eyes, smiled, and echoed the question. Cindy and another volunteer smiled because they thought Adrianna was happy. I was pretty sure she was not. But Adrianna can’t tell me how she feels. Do I go with my gut (that she was very upset) and caution Cindy to step back? What if Adrianna was okay with what happened and I am misinterpreting her body language. How do I know when to intervene?

    • I think you should go with your gut instinct on this one. If that were me, I’d be upset because of the loud voice, the forced eye contact. As for the smile–I know that many of us have been “trained” to smile in social situations, by default, whether we’re happy or not–I’ve caught myself smiling while talking about things that distress me very much, just because “you smile when you talk to people” is such a constantly reinforced social rule. If I’m flapping my hands it’s because I’m on-edge in some way–usually in a positive way, but always very tense, thinking quite hard. That’s a state that can go straight into meltdown if there’s enough of a shock involved. So… I dunno. But you know her best; you’re her mom and you’ve got less of a chance of misinterpreting her communication than her riding teachers do.

      Even if she *was* okay with what happened, I don’t think that yelling into a little girl’s face is a good way to communicate with her. It’s loud, it’s intrusive, it’s not a good example of communication for her to follow. If she were to do that same thing when she learned to greet people–get right up in their face and yell in a high-pitched voice–it wouldn’t be near as useful than if she’d learned from copying people who greeted her in a normal-volume, normal-pitch voice. Plus, people who behave that way are (often ignorantly) used to patronizing and even objectifying disabled people–if she gets that crap from people, she ought to know that it’s not cool for them to do that and she’s got a right to protest when they do.

    • One reason I think it’s important to intervene is that if you don’t, your child could end up learning that it must be okay for people to do this to her. People learn self-respect from being respected.

  4. And reflecting on this post:
    I like speaking. I usually prefer to communicate with speech when I am in the same room as someone.
    But there are situations in which I really, really prefer typing. Sometimes I can; usually trying to do it that way in person would make things worse because then I’d have to deal with people’s reactions.
    And there are situations in which I just *can’t* say what I need to say, and using AAC pages like that would really be helpful.

    If I had buttons for busses, I might be able to ask the bus driver help me get off at the right stop. And then I’d be able to use busses much more than I can now, and be able to go more places.

    And in medical situations, I’d love to have buttons that said things like “please ask me more questions” and “I’m not telling you something” and “I don’t think it is that” and “something hurts” and “please don’t” and “I don’t understand” plus programming specific things for specific appointments. And generally speaking, I’d probably communicate with doctors better and have better care if I typed more than I spoke.

    But I don’t think I can use it, ever. Because no one who saw me do it would ever take me seriously again professionally. And I don’t have to, but being unable to consider doing things differently limits what I can do. And I hate that the world is like that.

    • Perhaps you could try a method that creates visual or written cues like the boards, but is smaller and easier to hide? Flash cards are fairly small and unobtrusive, and it might be able to use them subtly without notice. As an NT, I don’t think I’ve experienced the same conditioning to see flashcards as “disabled and broken” as I have a board. If you are willing to tell a lie, you could make cards that suggest you are not talking because of physical discomfort (ex: “my throat hurts”, “my tooth aches”, or “I have a headache”).

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I don’t currently use a communication device, but am glad to know that it is possible to create and use one’s own terms in assistive technology devices.

  6. I like it. I really do. Especially the “Fuck off!” Communication devices can sound so *formal*, and their designers often forget that people who use them aren’t always going to want to be polite, and don’t have infinite patience for tolerating the crap people around them try to push on them. It’s an opportunity to get right back in somebody’s face when they’ve gone too far and you need to tell them in no uncertain terms that they need to back off NOW.

  7. I wish I had a communication device. I talk, a lot, but talking is not easy. I express what I mean much better in typing than I ever have in talking. But I do not know how to get or use a communication device, or if it would be accepted for me to us it (as there is a lot of the “If you can do [whatever], no matter the cost, then you MUST do [whatever]!” where I live).

    I have a white cane. I do not need it all the time. But because of that, when people see me using the cane and then not using it, or not using it and then using it, they think I am faking. I am not faking. But it does feel like I am being bad, using my cane, even though when I am using it I am really needing to use it.

    • It’s funny, in a twisted way… there are some times I could really use something on the order of a white cane — would in a fairer world — but never would in this one. Mostly because I can see, but I can’t always make sense of what I see (and have cruddy depth perception). And I could use a good signal to drivers when crossing streets, because I have a hell of a time seeing moving cars. And I often miss “obvious” spots in the pavement that my wheelchair can get into serious trouble on. And I deal much better with input through my body. But there’s no way I’d do that unless my eyesight actually got much worse than it is, or the world changed into people who weren’t assholes about these things. I do know autistic people whose service dogs do tasks that would normally be done for blind or deaf people, due to problems with visual and auditory processing (often despite good vision and hearing), but I can’t care for a dog. I don’t go out enough for it to be an issue at the moment anyway. But sometimes when I have gone out, I’ve really wished for something like that, the strain my brain goes through trying to make sense of vision in new environments wears me out badly, and even then I don’t always catch everything.

      I understand intellectually that there’d be nothing wrong with me doing that… but there’s no way in hell I’d do it. I really wish for a world when disability wasn’t wrapped up in so much bullshit in people’s heads, so that our technology wouldn’t be viewed separately from everyone else’s, and it’d be understood that disability isn’t all or nothing and isn’t always consistent one situation to the next.

      • I am looking into getting a service dog, and one of the things I would like to teach my dog to do is to “find the car”. No, I don’t drive, but if I’m out with my family and need to take a purchase or something to the car, it is really hard for me to process recalling where the car is parked at the same time as navigating parking lots. I have a hard enough time reading social cues when people aren’t hidden inside a humongous SUV going way too fast… If the dog can find the car (e.g. via scent work), I have more mental resources available to pay attention to where the other drivers are, keeping us both safe. (Umm… hoping I didn’t just derail the discussion… the phrase “service dog” popped out and I just started blabbing.)

      • Yes. I do have vision (though I am legally blind), but my visual processing is horrible, as is my auditory processing. My white cane makes it much easier for me to deal with the world, as I do not have to concentrate so much on the visual processing when I have it.

  8. In the US now, signing deaf people can get a video phone for free (one that is specially designed for us, that only has the visuals and no audio, so if you want video plus audio so you can speak for yourself while using the interpreter to understand the other person then you still need to use a regular phone line for the audio part).

    However, I have learned that apparently people who sign to accommodate their speech impairment cannot get a video phone because they can still hear. Even though they could still clearly benefit from a video phone.

    I guess in addition to all the issues of, “If you can do X at all, even if at high cost, then you must do X without any accommodations” that so many people with disabilities encounter, there is also an issue of, “But accommodation Y wasn’t designed for people with your particular disability, it was developed for people with this other disability” with no recognition that sometimes people can need the exact same accommodation even if the reasons for needing it may be completely different.

    It has apparently become more acceptable for people with dyslexia to use audio books, etc., normally used for blind people–not necessarily all the time but at least part time. Some of the organizations that work on accessible books etc. now describe themselves as advocating for “people with print disabilities” as a way to cover both people with vision problems and also people with dyslexia. So there *is* precedence for the idea of taking an accommodation originally used for one disability and extending it to use with other disabilities. So this might be partly an issue of needing more advocacy around this issue and making the wider circle of need more visible.

    Amanda, I very much agree with your last paragraph in your last comment.

    • “sometimes people can need the exact same accommodation even if the reasons for needing it may be completely different.” I am currently attempting to get my school’s DSS to allow me to provisional usage of one of the school libraries’ speech-to-text machines for my ADHD, because I often have trouble figuring out what I want to write, and once I know I often say it out loud instead of writing it, and then promptly forget what I just said. I was surprised when the DSS staff had trouble understanding why someone who COULD write, and in some situations can write perfectly well without a speech-to-text machine, would ever need one.

  9. I love this. I would love to show this to some of my daughter’s teachers /caregivers because they keep insisting that “Natalie is verbal and doesn’t need visual supports to communicate!” I have been trying to explain that sometimes this can be useful or necessary, as you explained. Thank you.

  10. Thank you so very, very much for writing this. I’ve never stumbled onto your blog before now but someone linked on Twitter and I was so glad to have found this.

    I’m someone who is able to walk, but at times when it’s painful I’m finding myself more and more frequently using elevators, ramps, lifts… and then the other day, for the first time, a wheelchair, and I went through exactly that train of thought: am I not making a mockery of people who NEED wheelchairs, by using one when I can walk? Am I not using something that’s not mine to use? And then I said “fuck it,” and got the wheelchair, and had such a better, easier, and less painful time of it.

    I’ve started texting when speaking is difficult–the last time I shut down, I pulled out my phone and started texting the person instead, right there sitting across from me, and… suddenly I could say everything I needed to. Are there AAC apps for smartphones…? Gonna have to look.

    Anyway… just… thanks, for the encouragement in finding things that work for me even when I have no nice neat diagnosis-ergo-justification.

  11. Impressed^n.

    Too, thank you. Board *makes sense*. Practice-need makes sense. Language not half so. (Torn: try to make full sentences to conform and be easy to read, not to means able to say more. Saying abnormally = unsafe. Perceived-fake.)

    Frightens to not make sentences in your comments. Your penultimate paragraph – one day, ever, world becomes ‘safe enough’? Less dangerous be rude-perceived-unco-operative (mute) than weird-perceived-rude?

  12. [applause] I love this communication page. I think many people could use something similar– not just those of us with disabilities, but also as a facilitation tool for people who have been socialized not to stand up for themselves, and hence feel incapable of using strong language verbally. I realize that’s a bit tangential, but I have seen far too many women struggle to reclaim the ability to say such simple things as “no” or “you are hurting me,” and I know from my own experience that sometimes I find it much easier to convey such messages with text, images, or sign than with speech, even though speech is my primary method of communication.

  13. Suggestion for this communication page:
    It is missing a warning that if the unwanted intrusion/ contact does not stop, legal action could be taken (you could notify the police)

    Could any of your staff behave as “social monitor” and be on alert for any potential unwanted interaction? Would that be a good idea in situations in general where people are susceptible to such intrusive attacks by others?
    Andrea

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  16. Reminds me of a student I helped develop a Pizza Hut page for his communication device. We went to Pizza Hut and he proudly ordered the pizza HE wanted. Then the waitress turned to me and asked, “Now what do you really want for me to get him?” I asked my student if he wanted to stay. He said “no”, so we left.

  17. Heh. I love what you did, there. You might consider putting some of those images on t-shirts at Cafepress, or Zazzle, or something. I would buy a t-shirt with “I don’t do eye contact ” printed on its front, assuming I had any spare money.

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