Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Communication update

Kelsey is amazing. Her ability to learn and adapt is amazing. I am a little biased.

Kelsey has known her “left” from her “right” for quite awhile now. This probably has resulted from the weekly therapy she receives and the verbal movement cues we give her. This past fall, she developed enough motor control to make choice selections based on telling her where each toy was located. (We would present both toys in her strongest visual field and then verbally tell her “ball on left, beads on right.” She would then choose which toy to play with.) Her early intervention SLP brought “yes” and “no” cards out and she began answering questions with those.

She has progressed from a borrowed three button device which we programmed to say "yes" and "no" and she accurately answered all kinds of age appropriate knowledge questions --even things I didn't teach her on purpose. She also gets a "kick" out of having a voice. (She also thinks it's funny to say "no" 99% of the time when asked if Mama is a good girl.)

I then sought out a borrowed "Go Talk 4" with 4 choices on each of five levels. She has mastered use of this device and quickly picks up new visual icons and remembers their associated meaning from session to session. We have now sent this back to the agency we borrowed it from.

We received in return a "Go Talk 20" this week to borrow for awhile. (They did not have the "Go Talk 9" available) The "9" would have been more appropriate for Kelsey's motor skills because the squares of the "20" are smaller than her fisted hand. She is not always able to activate the voice output of the "20" because of this, but gets her hand to the desired button and leaves it there so her intent is clear.

She is able to handle visually all 20 icons filled out which is amazing considering her visual impairment. She quickly learned all the new choices we added with the "20" and has remembered them ever since without me going back over them at all.

She also learned to do sentences. (with the "4" we had programmed in one word phrases like "ball", "eat", "play") With the "20" there is enough room that we did "I feel", "I want", "I need" and then various choices for those items.

We believe Kelsey is ready to move on to a more complex device which will allow her to have more self directed conversations. We are planning to get the Ipad with the Proloquo2go software and accessories.

We were excited to trial an Ipad at the Apple store using some free downloadable children’s games. We were amazed at what she was able to do with the device and the size of the icons she was able to access. Because the Ipad is essentially a computer screen, it acts like a dynamic “light box” like she uses in vision therapy. Kelsey was very motivated and seemed to be seeing better than I had even hoped she would be able to.

For now the GoTalk 20 gives her alot more choices.

I am so proud.


Rochelle said...

Awesome, that is fantastic Kelsey. Can't wait to see how you wow us with your Ipad!

Mo said...

Sweet, sweet girl...great job!!