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LIFE After High School and AAC

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Growing up with complex communication needs, youth using Augmentative and Alternative Communication navigate plenty of challenges. However, many are not prepared for the difficult transition from high school to adult life.

“I had a really tough time transitioning from being a student and being involved in camps and programs to becoming an adult,” says Jess. Jess has cerebral palsy, which affects her speech and movement. “I saw my active life shutting down before my eyes. Suddenly, I felt stuck, relying on my mom for recreational activities.”

Jess was able to access the LIFE program at March of Dimes. The program connects individuals living with physical disabilities with the support they need to expand their skills and help them live more independently; it’s essentially a learning environment that allows for the vital, real-life application of daily responsibilities—everything from transit-use training to social outings.

Jess’ AAC device certainly supported her participation in all facets of her life growing up but it seems that after secondary school it was more difficult to engage with others in less structured ways.

“I really wanted to be out in the community and become more independent,” explains Jess.

Our poster highlights the challenges adult life presents and the triumphs over barriers experienced by Jess and other young adults that use AAC devices, symbol systems, and/or techniques.


Nadia Troisi    
March of Dimes Canada


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