2001 Conference Proceedings

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BENEATH THE SURFACE: CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS OF AUGMENTED COMMUNICATORS

Michael B. Williams
Carole Jane Krezman
Sarah W. Blackstone
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Augmentative Communication, Inc.

A new book, Beneath the Surface: Creative Expressions of Augmented Communicators, is bursting with a surprisingly diverse range of creativity. The 51 artists and authors featured in this book are unable to speak. "Augmented communicators" in the title refers to people who rely on assistive technology to communicate. These creative augmented communicators live all over the world in a multiplicity of human conditions, surviving, thriving and creating.

The goal of these artists and authors is to engage the reader. The emotional range they cover is truly surprising, from the ecstatic pleasure of a simple glass of beer to surviving the harsh reality of war. Beneath the Surface is first and foremost a good read; however, editors Michael B. Williams and Carole Jane Krezman hope that all who read Beneath the Surface will realize that those without spoken communication have something important to say.

This session will describe the rationale behind the ISAAC Press deciding to do the book two years ago, and the process the editorial staff underwent to make it a reality. The creative pieces were gathered in an international search by the publisher, the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC). The book wouldn't have been possible without the use of e-mail, fax and the Internet.

Beneath the Surface is published by the ISAAC Press. ISAAC is an international organization with eleven national chapters. Together, it members strive to improve communication and the quality of life for people with severe communication impairments throughout the world. ISAAC members are immensely proud to provide literary and artistic space in celebration of the creativity of augmented communicators with this second publication in the ISAAC Series.

Beneath the Surface: Creative Expressions of Augmented Communicators is an important addition to the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in cultural diversity. Many educators and clinicians will find Beneath the Surface a valuable professional resource. Pat Mirenda, a professor at the University of British Columbia, says, "Not only is this book gorgeous to look at, but it also contains writings and artwork samples that are absolutely fabulous by augmented communicators from around the world. I will put it on my list of books for every AAC course I teach from here on in."

Parents, children and people with disabilities will be pleased to discover a book that represents the culture of augmented communicators. As Peggy Locke, Ph.D., a well-known special educator says, "I was struck by the emotion conveyed. The book is not only to be treasured in ones own library, but also to be shared with all people. Given as a gift, or bought for oneself, the book is a must."

The editorial staff will share pieces from this 118 page collection of 63 paintings, drawings, animation, poetry, stories, plays, and essays, many in full color, from 51 artists and authors living in 12 different countries. The book is beautifully designed. It is spiral bound for easy browsing and includes an insightful preface by Prue Fuller, the president of ISAAC, as well as a forward by editor Michael B. Williams who is himself an augmented communicator.

Beneath the Surface is indexed by title, author and country. While the artists and authors insist that their work be judged without regard to their disabilities, the biographical information at the end of the book enlightens the reader as to the truly diverse, international character of the contributors.

The editors are inviting individuals whose work is published in the book who are attending CSUN to join us so participants may be able to meet some of the authors and artists.


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