Sunday, December 17, 2017

Wonder Boy and his Talker


Super Daddy accepts an AAC device from Theresa and Jim Edwards
and Sophie's Run.
Wonder Boy hurried to the end of the hallway. He smiled. He giggled. He jumped up and down and squealed. Super Daddy stepped into the corridor and waited.

Wonder Boy sped forward. He jumped, using his momentum to sail high into Super Daddy's arms.
  
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) occurs anytime a person communicates without words. It's sign language. A written note. A nod, wink, grimace. It's a shaken head or pointed finger. AAC is a giggle, squeal or smile. AAC is also language facilitated by computers.
  
November 15, 2016, Super Daddy accepted an AAC device on behalf of Wonder Boy. The "talker" was a gift from Jim and Theresa Edwards and Sophie's Run, an organization founded to honor their daughter, Sophie Edwards, and provide Assistive Technology (AT) to individuals who need help communicating.
Sophie communicated with her eyes.
  
"…we found an eye gaze computer that Sophie could operate. It took months to locate the sources to fund the $17,000 device, only to have it delivered 1 week to the day after Sophie's funeral." http://www.runsophies5k.com/about_us

Some individuals don't understand facial expressions or body language. Talking is hard. Remembering doesn't come easy. When a person has difficulty processing words, a communication device can help.
  
"There are two types of aided systems—basic and high-tech. A pen and paper is a basic aided system. Pointing to letters, words, or pictures on a board is a basic aided system. Touching letters or pictures on a computer screen that speaks for you is a high-tech aided system." http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/AAC/

Happily, in the beginning, there was Amy, who created Wonder Boy's first Picture Exchange Communication (PECS) book, a collection of photo tokens that helped Wonder Boy begin to express his needs and wants. Amy taught Wonder Boy and his family how to use the PECS system.

Wonder Boy continues to use his PECS book.
Soon after, Wonder Boy was enrolled in a highly rated school for special needs children, where his skills expanded. His tantrums and self injurious behaviors (SIBS) decreased as his ability to express himself grew.
  
Educators at his school recommended Wonder Boy to receive a communication device.
Today, Wonder Boy uses his talker at school to create grammatically complete sentences and other assignments. He uses it to identify needs and wants.
  
At home? We're still learning how to help Wonder Boy use the device effectively.
Wonder Boy hurried to the end of the hallway. He smiled. He giggled. He jumped up and down and squealed. Nonnie stepped into the corridor.
  
"No, no, no!" Wonder Boy exclaimed. He shook his head and frowned.
  
Using an ipad we demonstrated how to find the needed words. Wonder Boy independently copied the movements on his talker, pushed a button and the machine spoke.
  
Wonder Boy looked up. He smiled. He giggled. He jumped up and down and squealed. "I want Daddy," he said.
  
And then? He flew.

2 comments:

Charles Hedrick said...

It is a sad note that Sophie passed away before the device came and her parents lost the joy of communicating with her more fully. It is a great joy that Wonder Boy is learning to use his communicator more proficiently.
And is also a great joy to have a daughter who shares her experiences with others about such a sensitive subject.
Love
Dad

Peggy said...

It seems like autism is something new...but not.... Were people--children,adults, dealing with the symptoms in the middle ages? Were there clear symptoms at several identifiable geographical areas ? When was the name (autism) applied? I am SOOOOOOOOOO impressed about what is going on in KCMo!!!