Since getting the Vantage Lite, I've really been torn over the decision on which device to commit. I know it may have seemed like it was an easy decision. But, I forgot that the deciding factor a couple of years ago when we were trying to figure out which one to buy - was that the Vantage Lite sounds like a computer talking and the Springboard Lite sounds like a little kid talking.
Keep in mind that at the time we were making the decision over which device to purchase, her second jaw reconstruction surgery was scheduled (December of 2009). And we were hopeful that it would be successful and that decannulation would happen in the next year or two. That would allow her to learn to speak more clearly and maybe, with any luck, she would be more verbal by the time she outgrew the Springboard Lite.
The Springboard Lite is smaller and weighs less (2 lbs. 8 oz.) vs. the Vantage Lite (3 lbs. 6 oz.). We wanted her to be able to carry it around herself. And she was so tiny two years ago!
But, ultimately, when it came down to it, we did not like the computer speak at all. And the voice of the device was going to be her voice - so it should sound more like what she would sound like - at least more like a kid. Plus, the kid's voice was way more clear, whereas the computer speak sounds muffled. Which makes me wonder if she can hear/understand it herself with her hearing impairment.
And now, almost two years later, we're back to making the same decision again. Except this time I know her jaw surgery was not successful and there's no telling what the future holds as far as that goes. Certainly the possibility of a future decannulation should not be a factor. I need to think long term use here (as sad as that makes me).
And with that said - the Vantage Lite is definitely the way to go. Just the other day, we were in the car on our way to the pool and she typed - I am go swimming. Which, had there been an option for "going" we would teach her that. But, it isn't. And in just a few short weeks of intensive speech therapy, she's outgrown the Springboard Lite as far as proper language development goes.
However, nothing is ever easy. And I can't believe how attached we've become to her little purple Springboard Lite and the cute little kid voice that's in there (and Murphy's voice, too, since he recorded a lot of the words). I can't help but associate those voices with Harlie. They were - are - Harlie's voice and have been for almost two years. And I'm sad. I don't want those voices to go away. I don't want to lose those voices to unemotional computer speak!!!! And I don't want unemotional computer speak to be Harlie's voice!!!
And to make matters worse - today in speech therapy while working on the Vantage Lite, Harlie asked for her purple device (signed "purple"). Oh, how heartbreaking. And as hard as it was, her ST kept her focused on the Vantage and it didn't take very long for her to learn how to tell her ST that she wanted to play with the barn and horse.
I wish I didn't have to make choices like this. Ultimately it comes down to a terrible voice for Harlie or giving her a device that will grow with her brain. Because as one of our ST's said, we will ultimately be giving Harlie another handicap by limiting what we teach her (or something like that).
And I know that I should thank my lucky stars that Harlie can have a voice at all. And I am. I truly am so thankful for all that she can do. And how flexible she has been with having to learn so many different ways to communicate (sign language, PECS, Go Talk, verbal, Springboard Lite and now the Vantage Lite). But we can't always control how we feel. And I feel sad that her voice is going to have to change. As has her face. Twice.
But I have to do what's best for her - and not base my decisions on how I feel. Oh, how hard that is!!! And it makes me mad that so many moms can make decisions on how they feel and it not be detrimental to their children. Whereas if I were to do that with Harlie, it would certainly have negative consequences on her and her development.
But, Harlie deserves the very best I can give her. Ultimately, I think it will be harder for me to get over the loss of that voice, than her. And that's the way it should be.
To add to the emotional downs of the day...
The past few weeks have had me holding my breath. About a month or so ago, we got an external hard drive or storage thingy for our computer. My Mac was full as far as photo/video storage went. So, Tom bought this thing and put all of our photos/videos on it. ALL of our memories.
And then one night when I was blogging, I hooked the device in and my computer didn't see it. After Tom trying all he could, he sent it to a company to try to recover the data. ALL of our memories. I've been holding my breath, hoping that they would recover it - because the thought of losing all of our memories is honestly, too much to bear. Seriously, I don't know how I'd deal.
Today we got a message from the company that basically said they could not recover the data because there seems to be some physical anomaly or something with the drive. So, they need to send it to another company who specializes in that and maybe they can retrieve the data. The cost will increase dramatically. Not that it matters, really, when it comes to your priceless memories, the last 10 years of our life.
So, I'll remain holding my breath, hoping and praying that they can save our memories. Sometimes, I don't know how I get through the day.
Hopefully, I'll have a better post for you next time. Thanks for reading!
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