Friday, July 8, 2011

Communication Device Update

Wow.  Blogging really pays!  As it turns out an awesome person (who I haven't met yet) read this blog post about my wanting a Vantage Lite for Harlie.

And HOLY COW I now have a Vantage Lite in my house!!!  How crazy is that?  I can't wait till next week, when I get to talk to our therapists about it!  They are going to be so excited!!!

As it turns out, our county has a few for students to use.  And this person knew that and got her hands on one for us!  I just can't believe it.  Seriously.  We are so, so lucky!!!  Thank you so much, Ms. R.!!!!

And speech therapy for the device is going great!  Harlie is really making some fast progress.  Here are some examples:

I told her the other day that it was time to eat.  She went and got her device and said, "Mommy, I want to cry."  That funny little girl!  No, she doesn't particularly enjoy eating orally (sometimes she down right HATES it) but, in this instance, she was being funny.  Like a sense of humor, funny.  And she knew it.  I pressed the button for laugh (like, I want to laugh) and then she touched the button for cry.  This went back and forth a few times and we were both laughing the whole time.  And then she ate her meal.  Life is good!

Last weekend I took her with me to run some errands.  We went to Target first.  Partly because it had been about 2 weeks since I was there last and I needed to see the store.  You know, just needed to see it?  But I also needed a few things.  Not wanted.  Needed.  While there, Harlie dropped a toy she was holding that she brought from home (a Lego DOG - ahem - attached to a leash that Murphy made).  I grabbed her device and added a button for "dropped" under the Verbs menu.  I then showed her where it was and how to put it in a sentence - "Mommy, I dropped my dog."  Then I had her clear it and put the sentence together herself.  Which she did, with no problem.  Then I picked up the dog and she was happy and we continued shopping.

Then we went to the ABC Store (liquor store for those of you outside Virginia).  A much needed stop, as you can imagine.  hehe

After that, we went to the grocery store.  Then, we got back in the car again - and finally worked our way home.  On the way, while in the car, Harlie dropped her dog.  Instead of yelling and pointing and making me turn around (while driving - SO stressful!) to try to figure out what she was trying to tell me - she immediately grabbed her device and said, "Mommy, I dropped my dog."

Isn't that AMAZING?!  I showed her ONE time!  And since I knew what she wanted to tell me, I could acknowledge it (said oh no, you dropped your dog? I'm so sorry, but I'm driving and can't get it for you.) - and she knew I knew and so she was fine.  How awesome is that???  For real!

Another thing - during speech therapy the other day, Amy wanted Harlie to be able to say "that's funny!"  So, she asked me if it was on there already and I said I didn't think so.  She looked under the Social menu, and it wasn't there.  We thought that would be a good place for it, so she added it.  Then she showed Harlie.  She cleared it and wanted Harlie to say it by herself.  Harlie then built her sentence and used a different "funny" button.  It was my voice.  And then I realized that I had added that button forever ago - under Feelings.  And Harlie knew that.  FOREVER ago!  And she showed Amy that it was already there.  Crazy.

The only negative to the device is that it is slow - meaning slower than her thinking.  And to teach her something on it - takes stopping the moment, and fiddling with the device.  And in speech therapy it is a challenge to keep up with her.  While her ST is trying to add something to the device to teach her how to say something, Harlie moves on to something else.  Harlie isn't patient and doesn't want to wait.

And I need to video how fast Harlie's fingers go on that thing.  She could compete with a teenage texter! This is only after a couple of weeks!  I can't imagine what she'll be like in a few months!

And she's using it in summer school, too.  So, things are going great.  Nothing is better than verbal communication - but when that's not an option - I am so, so thankful they make this device.  It is a true life changer!!!  I can't wait to see what else she's going to say!



Susan said...

That's really fantastic Christy! We have a Vantage but Ainsley is light years away from using it in the way you describe. But I know it well enough to know what you are saying. It is fantastic to be able to use it but it's not always expedient. Probably it's easier for Harlie because her motor skills are better. It's hard when you aren't walking. I wonder if down the road she might be able to use an Ipod Touch with Proloquo2Go. We will be getting that on an Ipad this summer. Eventually it might be nice to have a small device if she can manage the small key size. I'm so glad the AAC fairie came. :)

Ann said...

That Harlie is so smart! And so are you Christy - I've never been able to figure out how to program Jack's communication device. Exciting news ... can't wait for updates on all that Harlie learns to do with the device.