Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Communication Equality in Social Interactions: What Does that Really Look Like?

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 11:22 pm on Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reflecting on yesterday’s post Communication Devices: An Communication Equivalent, But An Equal?, I realized how it doesn’t portray my complete SOBCon experience.

Despite a moment or two of conversation ineptness, the last SOBCon was actually the best one for me, personally; largely because of my communication equivalent: my iPad.

Because of my iPad and because of some confidence accumulated over previous experiences, I participated in the Mastermind sessions – in both contributing and receiving – like never before.

Because of my communication equivalent, I was able to carry on several conversations during the informal times of the weekend.

Because of my chosen communication device, I was able to share my one main takeaway with the entire group – something that was not quite as possible merely two and a half years ago. Before my iPad, I likely would have passed on that opportunity and the pass would likely have been accepted by the group. This time around, my participation was expected and my method of contribution was accepted because I was surrounded by people who would not let me fail. The significance of that milestone was not lost as I held back a high-water moment.

Perhaps it isn’t a matter of whether or not communication equality exists, but rather what does equality look like in a particular social interaction, in a particular moment.

If equality existed, perhaps we would not experience the diverse richness in social interactions.

What are your thoughts? Share in the comment section below.

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Comment by Dr. Michelle Harrison

November 18, 2012 @ 3:58 am

Glenda, I love your posts, and yesterday’s carried a sadness. Today is the emergence, and yes there is always a specialness that comes with your struggle. My Ganga, a nine year old orphan child at Shishur Sevay, an orphanage I founded in Kolkata, cannot speak or walk (CP). But sometimes she still is the “communicator” for the others because she tries so hard and is so good at expressing her feelings. I’m trying to get her communicating more on the computer, working with her limited hand ability. She threw off the head pointer, preferring to struggle with her hands. But I do write because just this morning the other girls (who had no difficulty speaking) were whispering in her ears what they wanted her to tell us, namely they were upset that our intern is leaving. Last week they got her to tell us she wanted a staff person to return. She typed enough for us to understand. It’s your strong will I hear in your words, and they remind me of Ganga, and give me encouragement in what we hope she can achieve. The bottom line though is that unable to “speak” she is still our best communicator.

Comment by Val Rainey

November 18, 2012 @ 7:18 am

Hey Glenda! Equality must exist…that doesn’t mean that things have to be identical…just equal.

Love and Hugs,


Comment by Spashionista

November 18, 2012 @ 9:22 am

Glenda, you couldn’t be “equal” if you tried because you’re too much of a maverick! Life is about celebrating your individuality and pushing the envelope. You’re right in that communication effectiveness varies from situation to situation. That holds true for all of us. I think the art of listening well is an integral part of a dialogue and one most folks don’t take the time to cultivate. Sometimes the shortcoming is not with the messenger.You’re more articulate then the majority of people I know and when you are addressing good listeners I’ll bet you get your point across just as good, or better than, a “verbal” person.

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