P is for Pizza – The Power of Spelling to Communicate

Video directed by Gregory Tino, Text by Terra Vance

Imagine never being able to tell your family how much they mean to you or to wish your grandmother a happy birthday. Imagine really wanting some colorful shirts, but that’s too complicated to communicate. Imagine not being able to tell your mom that you want pizza for lunch. For his first 24 years of life, those simple, everyday messages were beyond the grasp of nonspeaking autistic advocate Gregory Tino… that is, until he found spelling to communicate. In this video, Gregory walks you through the journey of how he learned to communicate, and he brought a bunch of his friends to let you know what having access to reliable communication means to them.

He and his friends in this video are showing the alternative to places like JRC. When people are given respect, accommodations, and the presumption of competence, then they flourish. I’m also here to ask a favor. The journey to get everyone to this video was a really steep and difficult one that most apraxic nonspeakers currently don’t have the privilege to access. They really put a lot into this. The people in this video are watching for comments, and there are very few. It would mean a lot to them if our speaking community could leave a comment and/or share.

To add my voice to Terra’s, the thought and care that Gregory and his friends deserve massive recognition.

Please visit the video on YouTube and add your likes and comments there.

And please follow Gregory on his blog. This is a young man well worth listening to.

This was published before on Neuroclastic and has been re-produced here with the kind permission of Terra Vance.

2 thoughts on “P is for Pizza – The Power of Spelling to Communicate

  1. This was how my son increased his vocabulary and understanding exponentially.He came out of school with PTSD and once I had helped him to feel safe he and I began asking Google Home to spell different words..he gradually began sitting with Google Home for hours asking it to spell hundreds of words day in day out.Very quickly this vastly increased his receptive/expressive language and he’s now also an exceptional speller.It taught me how APD severely impacts his ability to hear and comprehend in everyday environments..and how a school environment had compounded that and burnt him out.In relative quiet at home hes made enormous progress in his communication..and spelling is how it began.Life changing for my son and life changing for me regarding witnessing and understanding this and what HE NEEDED.


    1. This is great to hear. So many people focus on speech as the gold standard and doing so deprive others of their basic human right to communicate and connect. Even if we can access speech, it may not be the easiest form of communication for us and can create more misunderstandings than not.


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