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Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast

Jun 9, 2021

Communication is key, and being able to communicate with your loved ones and friends when they may not be able to use their voice can create challenges.  We wanted to release this extremely helpful, previously recorded podcast again to remind listeners there are alternate ways to communicate other than just speech and voice. 

In this episode of Parenting Impossible, Host Annette Hines speaks with special needs mother and inventor Randi Sargent. Randi created the website, the only source dedicated to taking the guesswork out of caring for adults with cognitive/communication challenges by offering easy-to-use, picture-based communication aids designed specifically for adult caregiving.

Randi was inspired to start Say It With Symbols after the birth of her son who was born with severe communication and intellectual disabilities. Despite years of specialized programs, Randi’s son never developed the ability to speak, read, write, or walk independently. Through her own experience, she realized there was a need for communication devices geared towards adults.

In 2008, Randi created a line of products designed for adults that are based on best practices supported by academic research. Her communication devices can be used by anyone from adults with disabilities to people who have lost their ability to speak after a medical event such as a stroke. Randi’s products have been field-tested and improved by caregivers striving to communicate with their loved ones who cannot speak. 

Annette and Randi also discuss the importance of making sure people have the ability to communicate using tools like Talking Mats and the need for more transition tools for non-verbal adults.