PRC- Saltillo ToastmastersIn May of this year a non-traditional Toastmasters Club formed. It’s called PRC- Saltillo Toastmasters. PRC-Saltillo is a company that provides devices for people who cannot speak without them. This club is unique because the members of the club are unable to speak unless they use an alternative and augmentative device to speak with. There were a couple of glitches getting the club started. First, we sent in the charter paperwork right before Toastmasters International started revamping their website. Second, Toastmasters International lost the paperwork. Third, the club’s founder passed away suddenly in her sleep.

Despite all the setbacks and complications, the club is thriving and its members are excited about Pathways and the benefits that Toastmasters offers to them.

Anthony Arnold, newly elected Vice President of Membership, an AAC device user, ambassador for PRC-Saltillo, and prolific writer is excited to share his journey so others will understand the challenges he faces in his daily life. Here is what he has to say about how he feels Toastmasters will help him.

I got interested in communication very early in my life. My parents and therapists embraced that. I grew up with the industry. I first received my Touch Talker shortly after they were commercially available. It is like we have always been on the same page. We mostly want to fit into society and contribute rather than taking. Everyone knows I’m extremely good at putting words together. Through this Toastmasters journey and other activities outside of the company, I sense my writings have improved, and it’s quite enjoyable. It’s like if you took piano lessons as a child and stopped.

Could you sit down in front of a piano at age 50, and play like you did when you were young? Sure, some can, but the good majority can’t. They would need a refresher course. I feel like I’m receiving my refresher course in writing and delivering great speeches, and eventually probably moving up to writing a blog or book discussing my various experiences, and where I feel we should go from here. The trouble with the disability community is they have never had people like me, who want to go beyond to write new chapters. This current one is old. People with disabilities deserve to have a facelift.

District 3 and Toastmasters International have taken an interest in the club. Look for them in an upcoming Toastmasters International magazine, in District 3 training, and at the District conference.

There are a lot of challenges to overcome when starting a non-traditional club like this, but its members are ready and willing to accept those challenges. They are making SPR-Saltillo a thriving non-traditional Toastmasters club.

See for more information about AAC devices and the people that use them.

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