If you have been reading my blog you will connect with what I am saying more easily. I have a body that does not listen to the commands from my brain. My body is more a ‘reaction and impulse’ machine than a ‘purposeful action driven by the cortex’ machine. You see, given my hyper sensitivity to my environment, things that would not even cross your radar send my body into fight or flight – anything from the change in air pressure to daring family adventures in crowds (read recipe for sensory overload).
Doing anything purposeful requires a minor miracle if done independently. I need to build motor patterns for everything, always with an outside register and initiator until pathways are strongly myelinated. Lots of verbal prompting and sometimes even physically being assisted help me really build a strong brain-body connection where one didn’t exist. The end goal is autonomy, but it always starts with being taught. How do you learn a new skill? I bet much the same way, but without your body fighting to flee the whole time. Being dependent on outside initiation, feedback, and support is how we all get good at anything to the point that it becomes automatic and purposeful. Doing any new physically challenging activity requires a coach, so how is my need for prompting and feedback any different.
Back to the question at hand. Not only is having a Communication Partner needed for me to get my body to behave enough to be concentratedly purposeful, but the partnership elevates my ability to stay purposeful. Let me unpack that a bit for you. I am an impulsive being, impacted by oodles of external and internal triggers. Left to my own ability to initiate and maintain purposeful motor control you would not be reading this now. Can you imagine being trapped watching baby videos with zero ability to stop yourself? Brutally torturous existence, yes? Well guess who stops that incessant loop that plays in my brain whether I’m in front of the videos or not? You got it, my Communication Partner! Creating an environment that pulls for me to be purposeful and productive is their job, whether they are skilled on the boards or not yet proficient. There is a direct correlation between how great a purposeful environment they create and our effectiveness on the boards or with purposeful motor activities. The way of being lovingly assertive and completely believing in my competence makes it easier to stay on task.
A final factor is that my Communication Partner desires to only empower my voice. Communication is a you and me exchange of information. My Communication Partner listens powerfully for what I am saying, without adding or taking away anything. Never interrupting or influencing. Don’t think many people are able to be that powerful a blank listening for another. That power creates a trust and partnership that isn’t easily replicated. Any person holding my board doesn’t work. Each partner must build that trust and capacity to listen powerfully with nothing in the way. Totally a skill!
Why not independent typing yet? Well, I am building motor pathways with my partners. Putting my keyboard on a stand without a connection to these humans is a whole lot harder. My impulses fire more often and I no longer have that environment pulling for purposefulness. It takes all of my available energy to do like 2 sentences in 20 minutes with a lot of backspace key use, versus writing something like this blog in about an hour with virtually no backspace use. While I am committed to being independent and will continue to work hard toward that goal, I am grateful to be powerfully supported and self-expressed in my communication partnerships until that day.