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View Full Version : How do you decide on what type of communication?


lynn
01-28-2010, 10:11 PM
Joseph has started preschool in the home; his speech and developmentalist have now both asked me what type of communication I want the focus to be on. I was wondering how others have decided on what to try to work with and really push with their kids to use. Joseph understands everything you say to him, he follows simple demands - up to two/three part commands. He has no vocalization- but is finally trying to start to try to make some sounds (now he is wearring his pmv regularly).. he will imitate signs and knows about 12 on his own and uses them correctly w/o prompt.. The school district is pushing on a communication device and will pay for one for him to use and have at home. I feel he will be verbal eventually... but we are in very beginning stages right now.
So here are my concerns with the two options:
My problem is the communication device he sees as a toy.. I dont know how to break that concept .. and if he needs to be understood, he has to have it with him..:rolleyes:
My problem with sign is noone understands it (even when he does it correctly).. drives me crazy that the docs and nurses that work with peds dont have a clue what he is trying to say.:( and I know no one in the elementary school where he will eventually go know it (although I guess he will still need a nurse; so perhaps with a lot of searching I could find one who knows sign)
I would love any advice on what everyone else is trying and if it works and why you feel it is the best way to push :o

JWorthington
01-29-2010, 09:09 AM
We started with sign before Sam was trached, as we knew the surgery was coming and that Sam needed to be able to communicate. as you rightly say, not everyone understands sign which can be frustrating. we have just started with a communication device as even decanned, sam is still non-verbal at the moment. We constantly remind him that he needs to use his device to speak. He does sometimes treat it as a toy-but the other day he recited his 12 times table!! Since getting it he has been trying to vocalise a lot more, though is still struggling, we were hoping this would help. Good luck with your decision:)

Peyton's Parents
01-29-2010, 09:10 AM
Peyton will start preschool this summer. We are currently investigating our options as far as classrooms. Peyton is vocalizing but very difficult to understand - it's hard to know how much is the trach, the fact that she is deaf or because of her messed up palate. Peyton is very adept at signing, though. So we are considering a few options - either a hard of hearing class that will both sign and speak or main streaming her into a regular preschool class with an interpreter. We were discouraged from the communication device because she was easily frustrated with it because she can sign so much faster.

kadiera
01-29-2010, 10:23 AM
We had a bit of an argument with the school. Teacher wanted a communication device, we wanted speech therapy with some signing.

In our case....Alexander is not motivated by lights or sounds. He's also not motivated by food, which is the typical first things used for the PECS (though not all communication devices start out that way). We, along with his OT and PT, feel that his auditory aversions, coupled with his lack of interest in things usually used to start teaching kids to use a device, are just not going to work with Alexander, and he'd already started vocalizing over the ventilator.

One thing you might look into: there are 2 companies that make relatively cheap AAC programs for iPhone and iPod touch. proloque (sp?) and voice4u as I recall. It might be worth trying something small like this rather than something larger....

Melisande
01-29-2010, 10:25 AM
We started with signs, but Donovan has poor fine motor skills so our signs were limited. Then we went with a basic PECS system. Finally, we got a device. (speech generating device that was recommended through an augmentive communication evaluation) The device was a toy at times, however, you have to re-direct them to use it correctly, just like you would any other child who speaks incorrectly. It did not impair Donovan's communication verbally. In fact, it helped his communication development. Donovan does have some apraxia and actually forming words, repeating words and fully understanding the use of language (in part due to autism) is/was a huge deal. The SGA device helped a ton for us. JMO.:hug:

You're on the right track!!

JacobKaden
01-29-2010, 10:45 AM
We are at this point too and will be looking into communication devices. I will let you know how we make out.

Alethia
01-29-2010, 11:47 AM
We did sign and speech together. You always say the word when you sign it anyway, so the two methods of communication complement each other perfectly. I'm sure that learniing sign helped Angus develop his speech. Good luck!

Lifeisgood
01-31-2010, 08:08 AM
The device was a toy at times, however, you have to re-direct them to use it correctly, just like you would any other child who speaks incorrectly. It did not impair Donovan's communication verbally. In fact, it helped his communication development. Donovan does have some apraxia and actually forming words, repeating words and fully understanding the use of language (in part due to autism) is/was a huge deal. The SGA device helped a ton for us. JMO.:hug:

You're on the right track!!

I have heard a lot of similar stories. I meet with a bunch of special needs moms once a month and they convinced me to get a device for Harlie. They said that their language development (forming sentences, etc.) increased dramatically after a device was used. We just got the Springboard Lite for Harlie. Every time she wants to watch a movie/tv, she has to ask for it on the device. She learned how to do that in about 2 seconds. And when we're playing with Mr. Potato Head (for example), I put that screen up and make her use the device to tell me which parts she wants. She can also use it for colors.

At first, I thought signing was the "easiest" for my family. But I have to admit that I was both in denial about how long it will be before she can talk (who knows) and intimidated by learning a new computer system. But this device is super easy and I have now accepted that it will be a long time before she can talk - and have others understand her. (We still use sign a lot though).

Oh, and her speech therapist brought in several different devices, until we found the one that we liked the best. It is lightweight (3 lbs I think) and it has a child's voice (we use Murphy to record the ones we program).

Good luck in your decision!
~Christy