The communication sciences and disorders department hosted a Zoom event with guest speaker Chris Klein, sponsored by ACU’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.
Klein, a graduate of Hope College and the Western Theological Seminary, uses an augmentative communication device, or AAC, to talk with others and tell his story.
Lory Chrane, director of the CSD Undergraduate program, met Klein attending the AAC Pittsburgh Conference, of which he has been a speaker for many years. She reached out to Klein, asking him to speak in her AAC course.
They have since become close friends, working on many different projects together; the most recent is a nonprofit organization focused on translating the Bible into symbols, to include people who use some type of AAC device in the church community.
“He has persevered and overcome so many obstacles and lives out his message of trust and assurance in God’s provision,” said Chrane, co-director of ACU’s NSSLHA.
Klein was born with cerebral palsy but began using his first AAC device at age 6. By third grade, he was able to be mainstreamed in his schooling. He has spoken at conferences and universities across the country, also visiting Spain and Portugal.
“I am inspired by the way he works to help others who communicate using AAC,” said Madison Cole, junior communication sciences and disorders major from Lamesa. “He is providing so many with voices that they didn’t know they had.”
The event was attended open to all and was attended by many CSD undergraduate students and some occupational therapy graduate students.
“Chris Klein is truly the definition of not letting a disability hinder your success and your ability to connect with others,” said Lindsay Watson, sophomore speech pathology major from Pearland.