It was incredible to talk to Ray Ellis of Footpath Pictures about “Certain Proof”. The stories of the children in “Certain Proof” are far too common for students with complex communication challenges, and we have experienced this first hand. Most people don’t realize the battles that students and their parents go through just for the opportunity to receive an education with their peers and neighbors, and this feature documentary let’s the general public in on those challenges.
Performance does not equal intelligence. When you have challenges getting your body to cooperate with what your brain is thinking, it does not mean you are not thinking complex thoughts. People like Rick Hoyt, Christy Brown and Jaime Burke are not the exceptions for individuals with communication disorders..they had the right supports, education, and someone who believed in them. It is vital that we give everyone the opportunities to communicate in a way that works for them. Why is it so much easier to see the competency of an individual who has been able to speak and loses the ability after a stroke or accident, than it is to see that same ability in an individual who has never had that ability? Why is it easier to keep searching for a means for someone to communicate if they had the ability and lost it, than it is to keep searching for someone who has never been able to use their voice? Why does someone have to prove their worth before we educate them?
This great documentary shows how challenging it is for Josh, Kay, and Colin, who are being underestimated because their bodies do not cooperate with their minds. Can you imagine being trapped in your body, without an effective means of communication? Having others doubt that you were even there, because you could not verbally tell them?
It’s time to change assumptions about people like Josh, Kay, Colin, Henry, and all of the others who communicate differently.
For more information, to get involved , or make a donation to the amazing non-profit providing communication supports for students, families, and educators please visit The New Voices Foundation .
For more information on the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at UNC.