Autism Tree Book Club [Typers Social Club] was founded by Autism Tree Volunteer Danielle Levy, the daughter of Dr. Michael Levy, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Rady Children's Hospital and Founding Autism Tree Board Member, and co-hosted by Autism Tree Teen Otto Lana. Our mission with the Autism Tree Book Club is to encourage members to read! We aim to engage with texts even if they are considered difficult or dense, and to show members that they have the tools to be successful and prolific readers. We emphasize inclusion and welcome all mediums of communication. Considering the pandemic and the shift towards online socialization, our book club has taken advantage of online tools to allow members who emphasize typing as their primary means of communication to truly shine.
Non-speaking and unreliably speaking individuals are oftentimes left out of the conversation. This book club allows these individuals the opportunity to hone their communication skills beyond their wants and needs and find a path to the richness of friendships and human connectedness through literature.
This book club is also opens speaking people’s hearts and minds to the concept of typing and to dispel the concept of autism as a social deficit. As Otto says, "We do not have a social deficit. We have a communication deficient. We have a regulation deficit. We can read the room; we just do not have a way to tell people. Typing is that bridge.”
Allies are welcome to attend these groups too! Otto’s definition of Allies: “Allies are individuals who want to learn about typing or want to learn how to support a Typer. Bobbi Hanna is a perfect example who came to an event because she wanted to learn more about typing for one of her non-speaking clients, even though she is an Occupational Therapist. I have had grandparents attend because they want to learn more...An Ally can be anyone, a therapist (not just a speech therapist), a friend, a relative, an educator, any person who believes in typing and wants to learn and support the mission of communication for all.”
Meet on Zoom with different AAC Typer friends across the country, share your thoughts about our latest book, and enjoy the feeling of community through alternative communication. Everyone, especially kids/teens who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Devices, are welcome!
Our Book Club was featured in Autism Tree's 2021 Global Neuroscience Conference Inclusion of Typers & Non-Speaking Community Panel! Check it out below:
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