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  • By Joanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP

Aliens Remind Us of the Value of Communication


After recently watching the film Arrival, which was nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture and won for Best Sound Editing, I have an even greater appreciation for our ability to communicate with one another.

Without giving too much away, this movie features the simultaneous arrival of alien ships in 12 different countries, including the United States. These aliens are truly alien. They don’t share our form nor speak any of our languages. Why are they here? How did they get here? What do they want from us? How do we get answers to these questions?

Enter a brave and talented linguist working for our government. She needs to find common ground with these aliens by teaching them English or learning their language.

It is an inconceivable challenge. Will she meet it? If she does, what will she learn about them and what will we learn about ourselves?

This is a marvelous film. It highlights the importance of communication and taking the perspective of others.

Go see Arrival; it’s out of this world!

JJoanne Summer, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist based in Morristown, NJ, has helped hundreds of children improve their speech sound production and language skills. She founded Well Spoken Speech Therapy, LLC, in 2014 after spending 12 years providing therapy to children (K-5) in the New Jersey public school system. In private practice, her clients also include younger children and adolescents. In addition, she treats people of all ages who stutter or otherwise find it difficult to speak fluently—an area in which she has received extensive specialized training.


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