It’s both exciting and sad to be doing evaluations with older students who have complex communication needs. To hear them say their first independent words and see them communicating for the first time is incredible! But with it comes with a huge range of emotions – excitement and awe, hope for their future, and then an overwhelming sadness and urge to cry. It’s so frustrating to see how much some of my students have to say and know that it took 18+ years for someone to believe in them and give them the tools they need to succeed! How much farther along could we be if someone had done this years ago??
This week we did an AAC evaluation with a student who is 19. He is unable to move except for slight head movements. He often has his eyes closed and I hadn’t been sure what to do with him for some time. His SLP and teacher showed him the Accent 1400 with NuEye and he was apparently cracking up to see his eyes on the screen. So I brought it in last week, set him up, got it calibrated, and boy did he have a lot to say!! He quickly advanced from 28 1-Hit with a field of 4, to everything unmasked, and then 28 Sequenced in a 30 minute period. He actively explored all of the vocab and attended to the clinician’s modeling. Soon he said “stop” and then closed his eyes to rest. When he opened them, he said “go” and then got to talking!
We showed him the games on Look2Learn and then brought him back to the communicator. He quickly said “play.” His SLP modeled “want play” and he said “play want!” His IEP is coming up and we asked him what he wanted to work on in the upcoming year. I modeled that he could work on math, learning to read, going on the internet, etc. His reply? “Xbox.”
Can’t wait to hear everything he has to say!