Friday, October 10, 2014

AAC Month (a Millie update)

Millie was asking for muffins.

I knew she was asking for another muffin because I could see her, from my peripheral vision. She was making our made-up muffin sign. Repeatedly.

I wasn't immediately responding (bad Mommy). I was distracted by making dinner and she'd already had her one after-school snack, to tide her over 'til dinnertime.

But Millie is persistent when it comes her muffins. There is nothing she likes better.

So, as I now turned my full attention to the stove, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a determined 3-year-old child as she climbed on top of the kitchen table.

I whipped around to find her on all fours, reaching for her "talker."

I just watched, quietly. To see what she'd do.

She grabbed hold, pulled it back to her, stood on the bench (at least she wasn't standing on the table!) and hit the button she so desperately wanted.

"Muffin," the machine spoke.





"More. Muffin."

And then she grinned at me, expectantly.


We're continuing to work hard to transition Millie to using her "talker" more and more these days. It's the best option right now for being able to build her vocabulary and increase her communication abilities in a range of settings, such as preschool.

Millie uses her talker so much these days, indicating what she wants to play with, what she wants to eat, what she wants to drink.

But it still takes a concerted effort on our part to use it. She isn't instinctively reaching for the device, still preferring to sign for those immediate wants and needs.

Yet, as you can (hopefully?) tell from the above mini-story, that is very quickly changing.

In one of her speech therapies this week, Millie was using her talker to communicate during an art session.

What continues to amaze me the most is how the "talker" does speak for her, but it actually encourages her to speak for herself. Which is, of course, our ultimate goal with any assisted communication strategy.

In this therapy session, Millie was supposed to hit the buttons for each color she wanted, each art supply, etc.

But the longer she used the talker and interacted with her therapist, the more she was actually verbalizing.

At one point, she actually spoke (verbally) a three-word sentence, "Me do it."

It came out as approximations of course, more along the lines of "Eee-oo-eh" but if you were listening carefully (as we most definitely were!), you could hear it.

These are the very beginnings of early speech. So priceless. So encouraging. For all of us, Millie especially. She is always so proud of herself, when we hear her, when we understand her.

And the talker is helping. In so many ways.

- Bethany 

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