Friday, January 25, 2008

Communication is the key

Believe it or not Brooklyn will be starting preschool this fall. I am a little stressed out about that for SO many reasons but also very excited for her. One goal of mine is to help her find a stronger method to communicate.
The YES/NO cards have helped us tremendously and her eye gaze is amazing. She makes choices all day long through eye gaze: what books to read, what DVD to watch, juice vs milk, what marker to color with, and the list goes on.
I want more for her though.
Our latest consideration is the Dynovox, which a couple of other Rett moms have had success with. I would love to get her familiar with it prior to preschool. I truly feel that if we can help her tell us what she wants, needs, likes, dislikes, etc. we will open the door for more interactive learning as well.
She is SO smart and since she is unable to talk or sign, it is hard for her to communicate her intelligence. I feel that a device like this would allow her "new" teachers to view her in a different light - as a whole person and not just another IEP (Individualized Education Plan for those of you lucky to not have a clue what that stands for!)
I am still researching if there is a way to use eye gaze to activate the Dynovox.(She is more accurate with her eye gaze versus using a switch. )There is a "headmouse" accessory that uses infrared light to track a small disposable target that would be placed on Brooklyn's glasses or forehead. She would position the pointer on her selection on the screen for a set length of time and the computer "speaks her answer." That is different than eye gaze though, I am not sure if she would move her head to look at her choice? I need to find someone around that might have this equipment for her to have a trial period.
Yes, there is quite a price tag that comes along with this little guy.....but can I put a price on giving my daughter a voice?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kelly,
You are in our prayers and thoughts today hang in there. Love, The Petersons

Special Needs Mama said...

If you're working with a speech therapist, that person might have an answer. I've seen the Dynavox activated in a huge manner of ways. Bless you and Brooklyn, you are so walking the path with grace, intensity and honesty.

Aunt Kristin said...

Brooke, this sounds so cool. I hope we can find a way to try one out!!!

lindsay said...

That sounds great!! Hopefully you are able to get a hold of one to test out. Keep up the good work kiddo and I am always thinking of you!! Tell your mom I said hello!

Lindsay Capman

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly -

I know your Dad from MC, and I've actually met you and Brooklyn very briefly. I'm working in a Lifeskills/Special Ed Classroom at an elementary school and three of our kids use a MiniMerc. They are wonderful devices, and at least through our school system, they will purchase them or get a grant for it. All the kids that use them really do well, and know their way around them. They use a program called Boardmaker on it. of course that's all finger touching. I've never seen the one with a laser. It sounds WAY COOL! I hope it works out!

She's a beautiful little girl!

Kayt Sepic

Anonymous said...

hi,

there's something called EyeTech software - That is a company that makes a software program that interfaces with a computer (dynavox, mercury....) for visual use. i don't know too much about it, but i know that some kids were testing it out.
i found this on google
http://www.eyetechds.com/assistivetech/index.htm

hope that helps. :)

brooklyn is definately one smart cookie!!!

heather
( hc75 @ optonline . net )

Anonymous said...

Hi- your daughter is so gorgeous. Really.

We have a 3 year old Rett girl with R294X mutation, and love in Toronto- we are also consider a dynavox with her preschool. SO FAR- and I say that with hesitation- managed to keep her handskills, and has many words- most of which we only understand and many she says all the time, but I am not smart enough to figure out :-)

I am interested in learning why you say she is SO smart - very interested- also in learning what her mutation is, and keeping in touch to see how she is doing.

Hope you don't mind all my questions or that they are rather to the point- that's just me!

Great site, beautiful little girl- REALLY BEAUTIFUL her eyes say it all as far as I am concerned.
Huggs from Toronto
Kim
kimono007@primus.ca

krista said...

Hi there,

I am a fellow mommy in search of technology to help my son. He is 3 years old and has cerebral palsy which affects his speech and fine/gross motor skills, otherwise he is cognitively a typical preschooler. I am scouring the internet in search of something (perhaps eye gaze technology) that will help him to communicate. Although we understand most of his "words", most people do not realize what he is saying. I'd love to chat with you and perhaps share notes/resources on our search for a system for our kids. Please email me at kristamclean22@hotmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Your daugther is beautiful by the way!