Bengt Nirje on Normalization
Produced by David Goode / The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Produced in 1993.
Normalization and Silent Speech
Bengt Nirje: The other part of this [Inaudible] is that the principle of normalization is most important when it comes to its deepest implication for those that are profoundly or severely cognitively impaired or multiply handicapped that are dependent on others, people who cannot speak. And there is so much that we have to learn to listen and to read to, about to understand, to interpret their meaning and that. And I'm going to read you here the following.
"For persons with profound or severe [Inaudible] with incapacity to talk and [Inaudible] to be able to be understood, to be able to trust the persons around you is a paramount need. Bliss systems, data taking, sign reading, touch reading, fortified communication among other things are important tools for communication, stimulation, education, and socializations for non-talking persons."
That silent speech, as I call it, that silent speech has to be understood by whatever means every way. The skills and habit of reading, patient expressions, sounds, body language, behaviors. For understanding their emotions, wishes, intentions and needs are essential to professional responsibilities [Inaudible]. Here a significant paradox can be found. In order to assure the integrity of the individual person without speech, it is all important that several, several persons are able to understand her or him, and also to share their knowledge. If only one person is able to do this, the disabled person is in terrible jeopardy if this significant person suddenly isn't there anymore or is not available anymore.
Assigning a single person with responsibility to be able to communicate, understandably, with one dependent person is unprofessional and threatening to the [Inaudible] integrity and security of the disabled in question. Certain cooperation between parent and staff of professionals is a basic requirement. This must be understood and looked after by the service providers in support of those handling these sensitive tasks and responsibilities. The development in this area making the national exchange of experiences and research findings most important as in the field of [Inaudible].