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Communication Revolution

5

June 22, 2010 by Marj Hatzell

Bugaboo had evaluations for Augmentative Communication Devices (AACs or Talkers) last year and we were excited about the possibilities. However, in order to score one for Bugaboo, a few things had to happen:

  • We had to trial a few models.
  • We have to then be evaluated with one of them.
  • We have to submit copious reports and nonsensical items to insurance companies.
  • We have to wade through red tape.
  • We then have to hope and pray they will pay for (and prove he needs) an AAC.
  • We have to get “training” on how to use it.
  • We have to lug around a clunky, gosh-awful, obviously different device.

In addition to all of this, Bugaboo must learn to distinguish between the pictures, navigate the device himself (it took me a MONTH to figure out the basics and I’ve used them before!  And I had a manual!) and be willing to bring it everywhere he goes.   You can see why we are kinda dragging our feet and are currently sticking to a picture book, where he has pictures of preferred items velcroed in, can select what he wants and puts it on a sentence strip on the front of the book. He has made amazing progress in this area since starting at the Best Autism School in the Whole Wide World.  We just think he can do more.

Don’t get me wrong. The technology for disabled people these days is nothing short of amazing!  If you can manage to procure one of these devices, the possibilities are ENDLESS.  Newer AACs can send e-mail, surf the internet, compose letters, the list goes on. When folks are more skilled in using them they eventually get smaller and smaller.  Like, the size of a crackberry.  It’s fabulous.

Enter the iPad.  I bet Apple had no freaking idea that folks would start writing apps for the disabled. I bet they had no idea that parents would begin loading apps to help their kids communicate with the world outside of their little brains.  Well, they did.  They created. They found ways for their children to use iPads.  And this revolution, it is glorious. The iPad is probably the single best thing for kids like mine that has come along in a VERY long time.

Read some stories, like the ones below:

Leelo

Carly

Caleigh

Amazing, no?

Now, to score me an iPad…

5 thoughts on “Communication Revolution

  1. Blue Sky says:

    I’ve been fo9llowing Cayleigh’s progress for a while and I so want an iPad for my non-verbal 13 yr old with cerebral palsy, but we’re still waiting for it to go on sale here in Ireland. There are already lots of apps to choose from – even a couple of Irish ones. Hope you get one soon..

  2. Lori says:

    Wow…as an SLP, that never even occurred to me.

    Brilliant!!

  3. farmwifetwo says:

    We had an 8 button one at school for my son this year. It was too heavy – remember the old batteries for the bag phones, same size/weight – and it got put away in the end.

    So far we don’t need one for communication, but as he get’s older…. I’ve read other articles on the Ipad and maybe one day.

  4. Stephanie says:

    iPads do seem promising. But I wonder if circumventing the tried-and-true AACs and going straight to the iPad is the best step.

    We’re working on the AAC process for my son. Luckily, the school system is doing most of the heavy-lifting at this point. While I look forward to him using something less distinguishable, I mostly just want him to be able to communicate with the world around him.

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