Beneath the surface

‘Beneath the Surface’ is collection of writings and art works of people who use augmentative and alternative modes for communication (AAC). It is creation of 51 augmented communicators from 12 countries around the world.

 The Definition of Love

What is the meaning of the word “love?”  Is it the joy you feel when your brother who lives out of town arrives?  Is it when your grandmother brings you an apple pie?  Is it to help others in time of need?  Really, what is this thing called love?

The Webster’s Dictionary definition of love is “to regard with affection, to like, and to be tenderly attached.”  My definition of love is when you care about another and want to make that person happy, just as they enjoy making you happy.

I have a brother who would do anything for me.  His name is Scott. When we were children, we did everything together. Scott knows my special needs and understands what is important to me because he was around at the times I needed support.  He took me swimming when mother and I were living next to a swimming pool.  In the summer he liked to go on vacations with me when my other brother and sister wanted to stay home and work.  The trips were fun with mother, Scott, and me.  When our grandfather died Scott was the one who helped me to understand.  He made me laugh when I was in the hospital.

Since I was born with cerebral palsy it is especially important to me to have someone like Scott to turn to when I need help or advice.  Now he has a wife, a baby, and works long hours at his job, but he still makes time for me.  He, his wife, Laura, and his baby, Mallory, come to visit me sometimes and they stay all day.  We do things like go shopping, relax around the house, or go out to eat with the family.  I love Scott, Laura, and Mallory because they make me feel so special when I am around them. I hope I have shown in this essay why we have a special love relationship.

Sarah Lever, U.S.A.


Why do people take leave of themselves?

They fear love, yet love does not return.

Why are there wars and not peace?

Yet everywhere there can be love.


Why do people set themselves apart?

They are afraid of love.

That love will not be returned.

Why are there wars?

Why are we not peaceful?

Love is possible everywhere.

-Joanna Mikolajczuk


Get to Know Me

Being a non-speaking man with a severe form of cerebral palsy, I am alone in my thoughts.  I am alone among other people.  My identity is locked inside my mind.  The severe type of my CP does not prevent me from developing friendships, intimate relationships or sexual activity.  Being non-speaking itself does.

The inability to speak, or the inability to communicate one’s own words fluently, is the greatest disability a person can have in the social circle of life.  Non-speaking or impaired-speaking people are often not judged for their true personality or character traits.

Communication devices may help but they cannot reveal our own individual selves.  We must write down the words we think and feel.  We must write down our voices and show others our own self, our own identity.

A healthy mind holds no boundaries or limitations.  We, as non-speaking people, are likely to be more expressive or vocal than people who can speak.  If we write out who we are as individuals and keep writing about our own identities, then others will see who we really are, and that will alleviate the loneliness and despair we as non-speaking people so often feel.

Write about loneliness; write about anger, frustration, happiness, sadness, sex.  Write about every human emotion you’re feeling at certain times.

Swear, curse or say whatever you’re thinking or feeling at a significant time, write it down.  Write it into a story or just write it down as a quote to use later.  You will become noticed as an individual with a distinct identity.

You will attract other people and eventually develop a relationship of some kind, be it friendship or an intimate relationship.

Writing is the best way of communicating to others, even if you are a speaking person. It is simply the best way to let others know who you really are. Write out your thoughts and feelings. Write to that person and say,” This is who I really am, this is how I feel….GET TO KNOW ME.”

-Tony Diamanti, Canada

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