In this episode of Parenting Impossible, Host Annette Hines speaks with special needs mother and inventor Randi Sargent. Randi created the website SayitwithSymbols.com, the only source dedicated to taking the guesswork out of caring for adults with cognitive/communication challenges by offering easy-to-use, picture-based communication aids designed specifically for adult caregiving.
Randi was inspired to start SayitwithSymbols.com after the birth of her son who was born with severe communication and intellectual disabilities. Despite years of specialized programs, Randi’s son never developed the ability to speak, read, write, or walk independently. Through her own experience, she realized there was a need for communication devices geared towards adults.
In 2008, Randi created a line of products designed for adults that are based on best practices supported by academic research. Her communication devices can be used by anyone from adults with disabilities to people who have lost their ability to speak after a medical event such as a stroke. Randi’s products have been field-tested and improved by caregivers striving to communicate with their loved ones who cannot speak.
Annette and Randi also discuss the importance of making sure people have the ability to communicate using tools like Talking Mats and the need for more transition tools for non-verbal adults. Finally, they touch on Healthcare Communication Boards and how they’ve been used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Host Annette Hines has been practicing in the areas of Special Needs, Elder Law, and Estate Planning for more than 20 years. Ms. Hines brings personal experience with special needs to her practice and podcasts as the mother of two daughters, one of whom passed away from Mitochondrial disease in November 2013. This deep, personal understanding of special needs fuels her passion for quality special needs planning and drives her dedication to help others within the special needs community.