I got drink juice

The Monster's Talker, July 2016Yesterday was the assistive technology training session for the Monster’s support team at Gateway.

Well, it was the training session for the educational team and my wife.  Since the Monster’s still quarantined at home due to hand-foot-and-mouth, he had to stay home with me and R, rather than all of us being at school to learn how to use the “talker”.  But the important take-away from it is that everything’s in place to see if this helps him with communicating his thoughts, wants and needs.

As I mentioned a while back, the Monster has a rudimentary picture book that we’ve been using to help smooth things out communications-wise.  We had the AT assessment to discuss whether or not some kind of technology would be helpful, and… well, surprise, it ended up that it would probably be helpful.  The device that was recommended is an iPad running TouchChat, specifically because they can send it home in an armored case, and if he still needs it when he’s older, the application comes on a hardware device that insurance will pay for.  (They won’t pay for an iPad, apparently.)

But, the schools were unwilling to send the device home until everyone was trained.  Hence the training.

The machine came home today, as promised, after the session.  The instructions that came with all seem fairly straight-forward – the staff at the school are the only ones who can add new cards to the application, and it’s locked into the app thanks to the Guided Access feature.  We have some tips and tricks to try to integrate it into our daily life, and how we should get him to feel comfortable using it when he’s without his words.  (And of course, R thinks it’s a new toy and wants to play too, but…)  We’ve already been given some Monster-specific tips too, such as making sure he types with only one hand (he tends to pick at random if he swaps back and forth between both hands while working), and to not rush him to form his sentences, but it’ll be repeated use that shows if it’s effective or not.

So this evening, the Monster was wandering around the living room with his cup, which could be empty or full without our knowing, but looked like he wanted something.  After a few tries to get some information, we turned the app on, and showed it to him, and he looked down at the display, before tapping out words.

I. got. drink. juice.

And indeed, his drink cup was full.  Well, the statement was accurate – he does have juice.

Good job, Monster.

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