I love hands! I don’t know why or when I first realized it, but I do just love them! Two of my favorite memories are of the moments when I first met our two sons. Their tiny little hands fit perfectly in the palm of my own. I will always cherish these memories! They allow me to experience anew the wave of love and joy that I felt in those moments! I’d go so far as to say that this emotional response is probably the most important reason I like hands, but as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) I also recognize their potential and power in the field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication ( AAC).
On the personal, emotional side, just consider the picture at the right. I think of it as Happy Hands with Speech Bubbles, and it speaks to me on many levels! I knew when I first saw it that it would figure prominently in my Bowen Speech website, Facebook page, etc. As a whole, I “hear” this picture saying “hands communicate.” For example:
•The smiley faces on the fingers express emotion.
•There is more than one finger depicted, which may be interpreted as a group gathering.
•The fingers are interlaced and smiling, suggesting social engagement and joyful camaraderie.
•The speech bubbles convey verbal interaction among the group.
On the whole, the picture elicits a feeling of positive energy. As I look at it I can almost hear excited babble among friends! What does this picture say to you? I’d love to know if others can envision messages I might have missed!
Analysis and maybe a bit of creative inference are required to arrive at my romanticized viewpoint of hands. On a more functional, clinical note, hands can be explicit and readily available non-verbal communicators! They are powerfully useful in low tech AAC. This just means that no special equipment — such as computers or dedicated speech devices — is required for them to serve an AAC function. Gesture, Drawing, Writing, and Sign Language all rely upon the use of hands to convey messages in different ways.
So, as I said as I started this blog, I love hands! They “speak” to me on personal and professional levels. I enjoy utilizing their powerful AAC potential to facilitate improved communication and quality of life for my clients with speech disorders due to stroke, traumatic brain injury, or progressive disorders such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis.
Cynthia Williams Bowen, MS, CCC-SLP owns Bowen Speech-Language Therapy, LLC in Clearwater, FL. Cyndee provides quality, creative, collaborative treatment to adults and adolescents with communication, swallowing, Parkinson’s, and related disorders.