In college, after I changed my major to Communication Sciences and Disorders, I felt like I’d finally found my academic home.
The major, also known as Speech-Pathology and Audiology, was the perfect blend of interpersonal communications and science.
I loved it!
I’ll never forget my professor explaining how patients who lost the ability to speak fluently (see aphasia) could express themselves and their feelings with vocal intonations and just one the word: “people”.

Professor: “How are you doing today?”

The Happy Patient: “People!”

Professor: “Did you see the news about Kosovo?”

The Discouraged Patient: “People, people, people…”
I learned so much about how we can communicate thought and feelings without necessarily saying many words.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working beside two incredible autistic humans: Syruis and Joseph. They do not speak many words, and yet they have so much to share.
You may see Syruis working in The Portico Cafe. He volunteers in the kitchen and loves to vacuum. I’ll share more about him later this month.
Joseph is the featured artist in The Cafe. His art will be on display all month, Autism Acceptance Month, and he also has some amazing prints and greeting cards for sale.
Joseph will be back for Art + Open Mic on April 22.
What these two have reminded me about language and expression is that all communication is on a spectrum. We all fall somewhere in the field of ability.
I’ve had a few magical moments in the presence of these two exceptional people. One of them involves a piano.
I encourage you to visit the cafe sometime this month to witness the wonder of their expression. It is something to behold.


Chalette M. Davis
Events & Missions
The Portico
O: 813.222.2299 | M: 813.951.6974
1001 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
Conversation. Connection. Community Change.