For anyone who didn’t see the 60 Minutes segment either the first time it aired or on this weekend, it’s available online here.
When the Monster was 2, he really wasn’t verbal in the slightest. Certainly, he had a good mass of words to pull from, but was using a single word at most for communicating his wants and needs. Baltimore City Infants and Toddlers Program put him into the PIES program, where they introduced us to the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which was a marvel to us – suddenly, he could follow a schedule, show us what he wanted within a selection of limited choices, and it helped to foster his development of the canned phrases he’s using today.
Which, of course, is not to say that we don’t have days like this morning (another slow morning) where he’s resorting to single words.
And still, there’s times where he gets very frustrated at being unable to convey adequately what he wants, when he’s not really in a mode to parse his own canned phrases to ask for things. (We get a lot of variations of “Can I have Mommy sitting on the couch please?”) Or the days where he’s not really feeling very verbal at all in general.
Now, when it comes to technology, as was shown in the segment, the Monster shines. He’s very competent with the iPod that he has use of and with both Nooks that we own. If left to his own devices (and with the Nooks opened physically, since we have locking covers), he’ll happily sit there and go through the read-to-me books to listen to them, though that’s more to hear the sounds made by the narrators.
One thing that they really don’t touch on in the segment is that Proloquo2go is fairly pricy at $200, coupled with the cost of getting an iPad. And while the Monster is fairy ‘good’ about technology, he’s still a four-year-old and, in my mind, liable to be a bit rough on technology without intending to be. This brings us back to LISS funding in Maryland – they do fund assistive technology devices under the aegis of ‘adaptive equipment’.
I mentioned that the wife put in for his gymnastics as a covered service under LISS. She’s also put in for an iPad from Origin Instruments that packages it with a code for Proloquo2go and a protective case, specifically for this purpose. His speech therapist signed off on it as a good idea as well, so there is documentation that it is recommended by his provider, so we’ll see if they approve the purchase.
Now, I realize LISS is a Maryland-only program – I’d imagine that there are other states that have similar programs as well. If we get approved, I’ll let folks know. so they can see if their state agencies can similarly help them.