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Bud Wardlaw:

"Conveying one's humanity through humor"

My name is Bud Wardlaw and I use a computer-based communication system with Words-Plus and DECTalk. Respiratory failure as a newborn left me with cerebral palsy. Due to this condition I am unable to walk, I have virtually no use of my arms and hands, and my speech is severely impaired.

In order to write, I've always operated a computer (or a typewriter) with a headwand. After graduating from high school in 1978, I attended Augusta State University where I earned a Bachelor of Political Science and a Bachelor of Accounting. Since 1994, I've worked as a staff accountant at L.B. Marsh Certified Public Accounting in my hometown of Augusta, Georgia. In my job, upon completing work for a client, I find it convenient to use my communication system to impart to the secretary instructions, or requests for additional information, to pass on to the client. When I work into the evening hours, I frequently will call work after arriving home and use my DECTalk to leave instructions for the secretary on the office answering machine.

In addition, I use my augmentative communication system a great deal for public speaking. I've addressed civic groups, college students, and public forums. Also, ministers at my church sometimes call on me to pray in the worship service, teach a Sunday School class, or speak to a group of children or youth. It means a great deal to me to be able to share my faith and my insights with others.

Lastly, augmentative communication allows me to convey to others my humanity. One of the ways I cope with my disability is through a sense of humor. I've found there can be no pain, discomfort, loss or sadness where there is laughter! My augmentative speaking system gives me the opportunity to make others laugh. Once people laugh at my jokes, they no longer see my disability.

Bud Wardlaw
Augusta, Georgia