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CW is pleased to introduce a new contributor to our Blog, Desi Cammuso. This is Desi’s story.

Have you ever had one of those mornings where you woke up late and you have only 30 minutes. You have a few quick things that you need to tell your family before you leave. Imagine what it would be like if you had to type everything on an iPad to say even the smallest thing. Well, I live through that every single day. But, I don’t want this to be a time where I pity myself. I want this to be a time when I celebrate my accomplishments with my voice.  

In my childhood, I didn’t have my iPad to talk. I went through so many devices that I don’t remember most of them, to be honest. My amazing parents tried to teach me sign language, but, with my Cerebral Palsy, it was hard for me to sign. So, we came with our own signs for bathroom, eat, and things like that. My older brother and twin sister would fight a lot in my childhood, and I would get so mad. I just wanted to tell them to shut up.

I was really quiet when I was little. I was like a church mouse. I don’t know how my family didn’t forget me more often. It was a hard childhood. I made one of my teachers want to jump out of the window because I would not stop crying. As soon as she said that, I started laughing. It’s a true story.  

It was in middle school when I got my first iPad. Since that time, I learned how to talk. I learned how to express my feelings and have a conversation with others. If I’m going to a party and there is nobody I would like to talk to, I just accidentally forget my iPad. See, there are benefits to my situation, too. Another benefit is that it taught me how to be a great speller. Think about it. I have to spell everything to talk. And I am gifted in writing, and I believe that is because I can’t speak.  

People tend to assume I’m mentally challenged because I can’t talk. That is false. With my iPad, if people are patient, I can show them how smart I am. Another thing about my iPad is I could have things pre-typed when I needed to say things quickly. Although, I do have days where I am like why don’t I have a voice? This past Christmas, I asked for a real voice. But at the end of the day, I have a voice with my iPad, and my laughter is my voice. I get so frustrated sometimes when people are in a hurry, and I urgently need to say this stupid little thing.  

I feel most days, my iPad is my real voice. My friends and family hear my voice when I speak, and someday, I hope my boyfriend or husband will hear my real voice, too, not just a computer. My iPad is not just a toy; it’s my voice, and I’m very thankful to the people who created the app Proloquo2Go. It gave me a chance to be myself in the world. 
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