As soon as Jess got out of the car, I realized what was missing, her Talker. It’s one thing to leave her coat or backpack behind but it’s another to return home without her AAC device. It’s been a couple of years since this has happened, so as upset as this makes me, I can’t complain too much.
The person that Jessie was closest to at her program had recently given notice. She’d been with us for many years but it was her time to move on. This news is always devastating, however, we’ve weathered this before. When you lose that most trusted person, it takes time before the void is filled. Until then, I need to pay even closer attention.
Often Jess sets her Talker down next to her lunch and sometimes she takes it off before putting her jacket on, so I can see how she can forget from time to time but ultimately, it is her responsibility. Even so, before the driver left, I made sure she realized how important it is to double-check for the Talker before leaving the program. I then reminded her that Jess has no voice if it isn’t with her. Then I called the program manager to tell her the same and asked for her to please make sure Jessie’s device was locked up for the night. I emphasized again that this is Jessie’s voice and needs to be with her at all times and that they were not to take this matter lightly. What I didn’t tell them is that Jessie has a backup Talker at home
After dealing with the staff, I then gave Jessie grief for not being responsible. I modeled my displeasure. If she wants people to take her seriously, then she needs to step it up too.
The following morning, our breakfast was interrupted by a very loud cricket. I know Jess has heard crickets before, and I don’t mean an awkward silence (though we’ve had plenty of those moments), however, I’m not sure if she has ever seen one. After listening to several on Youtube, we found one that sang like ours. Then we added cricket and chirping to her Talker, as well as, learned how and why they chirp. If Jessie didn’t have access to her Talker, we would have missed this learning opportunity.
Secretly, I hope the cricket joins us for breakfast tomorrow, but we won’t go all Big Bang Theory if we find it but it will give us the opportunity to talk about it again.
As you can see, we take AAC communication very seriously in this house. No wonder our motto is, don’t leave home without it!