Not all Communication Partners (CPs) are made the same. I have watched interactions in a number of settings and have some notes for CPs.
Are you there with your student to provide them partnership so they can participate in events for them? If you defensively say “yes” look again. Many times I see my peers being given opportunities to “speak” only when they are addressed. They deserve the respect of their CP to look for every opportunity to participate in conversation. CPs look at where your attention is during peer events and stay on task.
Let’s get real. I can make some actions that indicate I have something to say, but if my CP is otherwise engaged then they are missed. Luckily my main CP is very in tune with me and her job, so rarely is an opportunity missed.
How about we play the imagine game, so you get in our shoes for a minute. Imagine you have been invited to an outing with your pals. You can only “talk” or participate in activities with the support of a partner. No partner and your body wanders and stims. Joy is participating as “normally” as you can!
Would you want a CP that is on point or distracted by everything and everyone? Would you want to wait for someone to ask you a question or would you want to strike up conversation with your pals? Would you want to listen attentively to your pals or wander off stimming?
I know the job is a big one, but I implore you to look at yourself as CP and keep upping the level to which you disappear and are only an extension of your speller. Instead of wishing your student could participate more, get out of the way and cause it. Changing your own impulses may by challenging, but if we can do the work so can you.
Sorry to be so straight about this, but you didn’t do the work for your student to have a voice only when you think they should. Be a good partner and shift your habits. Let your speller’s voice be unleashed.
P.S. To my peers, keep advocating for your voice!