How to Ask for Help

As a non-speaker, it is difficult to ask for help. I almost always fear it. We have limited options in how we do it. For me, I have my letter board, sign language, and behavior, if necessary, to get my point across. On my board, it’s hard to initiate conversation unless I am asked directly if I need something or if something is wrong. With sign language, not everyone understands or people may think it’s a loop. Behavior can be a last ditch effort or a cry for help. If I act out, I hope someone will notice I need help.

This is a real safety issue for non-speakers. We have caregivers who know what to look out for, but even the best will miss things. There needs to be a solution. My iPad has a help button and emergency information page, but non-speakers shouldn’t have to wait until they’re fluent spellers to have access to help. All boards should have a help option. Even with motor planning trouble, in an emergency, I’ve been able to activate the “help” button. I would love to hear other’s ideas on this.

My iPad Letterboard with “Emergency” and “Help” buttons


  1. I like this post because this is something I wonder about. Sometimes I get sign language signs confused still and know that has the potential to cause a miscommunication – and I think about how it can be hard for spellers to initiate communication with a letterboard like you said

    Perhaps a stand alone button that makes a sound that could be worn or carried around? A press could indicate help is needed or that there is a desire to initiate communication. Kind of like the staples easy button – I’m not sure you will know that reference but it will show up on google

    Dealing with mispresses or navigating the motor planning might be a drawback. Im not sure

    At the very least having a help option in all boards seems like a good place to start!


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