Thursday, March 10, 2011

Communication is a Gift

Communication.  It makes life much easier when a person is able to communicate his/her needs and wants.  We have four children with varying communication concerns.  Faith, who is 5, has a repaired CL/CP.  She has been home for 3 years and is still receiving speech therapy.  I can understand the majority of what she says.  She has come a long way and we are so proud of her.

Gabriel, who is 4, tends to use screaming or grunting instead of using his words.  Mind you while playing he has a wonderful vocabulary, however, when expressing himself to others we tend to get grunts and screams. 

There is Sera, who is 32 months old.  Sera has a significant speech delay.  Sera is able to mimic others and name several objects independently.  Sera is still unable to communicate her needs independently.  Sera can use "more" and "help" and that is about it. 

Then there is sweet Jacob.  Jacob is 3 years old and has CP.  Jacob has lots to say but his little body will just not let him speak.  This has probably been the most frustrating because Jacob is smart and knows what he wants but is unable to verbalize those needs.  We have tried a few different methods for communication but Jacob's body is just not cooperating. 

I am SUPER EXCITED about what has been happening in our house in the last week.  First, we were given a wonderful gift of an iPad.  Thank you sweet friends!  You know who you are.  I have been playing with it the last few days and I am so excited about the possibilities with this device.  Now, to find the right applications.  If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.  Seriously, would love to have a few more of them.  It is amazing the uses for communication and learning!

I am also EXCITED about Jacob's speaking device.  Jacob has had his Dynavox communication device for about a year.  Although Jacob understands how to use the device and wants to use it he has had difficulty getting his arms to cooperate with him.  Jacob's head stability has improved a great deal in the last year so we decided to try out the EyeMax attachment for the Dynavox.  Seriously, brought me to tears.  He was able to communicate ON HIS OWN with no assistance at all.  The EyeMax uses Jacob's eye gaze to make a choice on the screen and then the device speaks whatever Jacob has chosen.  It was so fun to watch him!  The funniest part was when Jacob found the "fart" sound on the machine.  Yes, the Dynavox will produce ANY sound a typical person will make.  Jacob thought it was so funny because we kept laughing.  So Jacob kept choosing the fart sound over, and over, and over.  It will take several months to get his new device.  There are many hoops to jump through with insurance and medicaid.  Please pray that we are able to get this wonderful new device for Jacob.

I had a cute video of Jacob testing the EyeMax but I could not get it to load.  SORRY


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