Video Description & Transcript:
  Multiple Modalities

[Background music]
Caption: ['One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.' Helen Keller]
Caption: [Michael Williams prepared his responses prior to our taping.]

Michael Williams is shown leaving a building and going down the sidewalk in his power wheelchair.
Michael Williams [synthesized speech]: "My name is Michael Williams. I am a writer and consultant and my disability is called cerebral palsy."
[Vocalizations and street noise]
Michael [synthesized speech]: "I have been disabled ever since I was born. I have never let this fact discourage me from doing the very best I can with my life."

Michael is sitting inside with his device in front of him. He is wearing a beret. Behind him are many full bookshelves.
Caption: [Michael Williams Writer/Consultant]
Michael [synthesized speech]: "At this time, all my major activities center around the field of augmentative and alternative communication."
Close-ups show Michael pushing buttons on the device.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "I write a newsletter for augmentative communicators called "Alternatively Speaking." Pages from the newsletter are displayed.

Michael [synthesized speech]: "I am a member of the executive committee of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or ISSAC. I am the first augmented communicator to serve on this committee. I am also involved with a project at Penn. State that is investigating whether it's possible to mentor augmented communicators via e-mail. You'll notice something very unusual is going on here. Not once since I started this discourse have I moved my lips."

Various angles of the man are shown, including close-ups of his device.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "No, I'm not trying to be some sort of new age ventriloquist. Had I attempted to convey the same information using my biological voice, not many people would understand what I was saying."

Michael [speech, unintelligible]: "This is my voice without the board."

Michael [synthesized speech]: "This voice output communication device is but one of the many tools in my assistive technology arsenal that I use to communicate my thoughts to the outside world. In addition to this voice output communication device, I also make extensive use of e-mail and the fax machine. In addition to these high-tech devices, I also use a low-tech letter board."
Michael pulls a letter board from the side of his wheelchair and shows the camera.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "I use this to spell out words letter by letter. This limited the people I could communicate with. After all, you can't use a letter board to talk with a small child, or a blind person, or a person with dyslexia."

[Background music]
Michael is outside on his porch reading a book.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "My voice output communication device helps me establish myself as a sentient human being when I'm out in the community."
Michael finishes his reading and uses his power wheelchair to go back inside.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "This is most important for me, for I am afraid that Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public tend to view people with speech disabilities as two carrots short of a stew."

Michael is using his computer. He uses a trackball mouse and the computer keyboard with his right hand.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "Modern technology has helped me tremendously in my struggle to become a full human being who participates in a meaningful way in his society. But such were not always the case. As you can see, I'm not a member of Generation 'X.' I was born in the late 1930's and these technologies weren't even dreamt of then. My first piece of assistive technology was my grandfather's standard manual typewriter. I used typewriters to communicate all through grade school, high school, and during my undergraduate years in college."

A variety of pins on Michael's wall are displayed.
Michael [synthesized speech]: "In the late 1970's, I became the first person on my block to get a personal computer. When I saw the possibilities this machine brought into my life, I became an enthusiastic supporter of this technology in the lives of people with disabilities."

Caption: [Used with Permission, Enable, People with Disabilities and Computers, Copyright 1999, Microsoft Corporation]