Monday, May 16, 2011

The Pseudo "Easy Button"

This is what Little Man got in therapy today - it looks like a Staples "Easy Button", however it's called a "Little Step-by-Step Communicator."  What it does is record a voice and then all Little Man has to do is tap the button and it will say what is recorded.  For instance, we can record one of us signing "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" and then during Circle Time at school, Little Man can press the button and he can "sing" along with the group.  We can also record half of a conversation in it - so for instance, today I recorded myself saying the following things, "Good bye Miss Jenn!", "Thank you for coming!",  "We will see you soon!",  "Big kisses, MWAH!" and as Miss Jenn, the SLP was leaving, Little Man could press the button and say good-bye to her.  He was all giggles and smiles pressing the button and then waving good-bye to her.  It's not perfect, or super interesting - and an adult has to record and switch the button between 3 recorded "scripts" - but it's something to get Little Man interested in communicating and hopefully helpful in getting him more involved in verbal activities at school.  We're going to try this out for a few weeks and see how it goes.

Our next step while we wait for our evaluation from a big hospital in the city, is to have another SLP come out and visit and evaluate Little Man to see if he is a good candidate for a fancier communication device.  Something interesting that I learned about communication devices is that they can cost up to $10,000!  This little "Easy Button" costs close to $200!  Thankfully, it's on loan to us from Early Intervention.  An ipad 2 is on the way to us (Happy Mother's Day to me!), and we're hoping that some of the apps that we can download, will help Little Man more in helping motivate him to work on his speech sounds and possibly see if we can develop something for him to communicate better...even if we have to get him his own ipod...all that is way cheaper than $10,000!

This whole process is extremely draining.  Today's therapy session was sort of a wash since Little Man got upset that Big Girl got to go outside with Daddy and he then threw himself into a very rare temper tantrum that lasted over 10 minutes.  By the time we got him refocused, and working on some sounds, the session was almost over and we had to spend time working on learning how to use the "Easy Button" and recording some scripts.  We still only have a few consistent words - /ruck/ for truck, /yuck/, /up/, /more/, /no/, /go/, /ha/ for help, and /o/ for open.  At almost 27 months, we have yet to hear Mama or Dada.  Some of these sounds, we've been working on now for the past 10+ months.  Although he is making progress, the progress is extremely slow and tiresome.

There is no "Easy Button " for this process - although I wish we had one.

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