Silence is a unique and compelling community event, in which leaders
experience what it is like to lose their ability to orally
Originally developed by the Australia
Speech Pathology Association, Sponsored Silence has been introduced to
the United States by the Ohio-Speech-Language Hearing Association
(OSLHA) and Martha Coen-Cummings, OSLHA Past President.
What better way is there to make people understand the importance of communication than to take communication away?
purpose of OSLHA’s Sponsored Silence event is to increase public
awareness of the importance of communication and the profound impact
and isolation that can occur when communication is disrupted or
Each Sponsored Silence event
features a community leader whose profession depends upon the ability
to communicate effectively. During the event, one community
leader agrees to remain quiet for 15 minutes during a work activity
that normally involves interaction with others. In order to
communicate during this 15 minute time period, an augmentative device
(a computerized voice output system activated by using a keyboard) will
be available to use. The participating community leader will
receive training on this device prior to the event. The community
leader may choose the date and the time to be “silent.”
intent of this event can be solely to increase public awareness, or can
additionally include the contributions of “sponsors” (which may be
co-workers, students, audience members, etc.) who pay a nominal fee to
keep the leader quiet!