Getting the iPad was the first step. Deciding on the App Speak for Yourself was a no brainer. The learning process never ends.
The first week we had the iPad, it was obvious that the physical set up was not working. Jess was not having much success with the iPad when it lay flat. She needed a stand and one that didn’t require too many steps to set up.
I learned even more the morning the iPad didn’t make it into her backpack for school. There is nothing more informative than showing up when least expected. It was at this time, I saw that not only did we need a stand, but the para didn’t know how to turn the iPad on, much less put it in guided access (which prevents Jess from leaving the program or her from re-programming). Now I’m starting to panic. We have been down this road before. It does not work to have someone teach language* when they themselves are learning as they go.
Because I was able to see how Jess had to navigate around the building, I realized she needed a handle and a strap too. It does not work if it is not ergonomically correct.
By the end of the second week, we could see Jess was trying to express thoughts Because she could not isolate her finger, she had a lot of miss hits. Another problem was her vision. Have you ever used a touch screen where the calibration was off? In her case, it isn’t the device, it’s her, she isn’t WYSIWYG. When Jess finally touched the right word, she would immediately look for eye contact with whoever she was with as if to say “this was the word I meant”.
It is no surprise that her first sentence was “Burger King I want”. The next day she said “I want video”. We sat down to have dinner and she said “blessing”. She must have found this when she was exploring because I hadn’t shown her. Later in the week, she said “M&M’s pants”. She then pointed to her PJ’s that had an M&M pattern on them. She’s been saying words like socks, sneakers, feed dog. Jess would then either getting the items or do the task. Now she was taking the initiative to feed the dogs on her own It’s funny to think that she is telling herself what to do and it isn’t coming from me. Up until now, when feeding the dog, I would have to stand over her to physically help her get the food in a cup and then into the bowl. When you break it down, there were a lot of steps to this one job. Jess was so prompt dependent and didn’t do anything without an audience.
Last night Jess said “Look, chickens, TV “. We were watching Wizard of Oz and it was an early scene with baby chicks. As soon as she said this, she immediately looked at me with a big grin. What an amazing moment for her to finally be able to show me that she has been listening all these years.
This next morning, Jess didn’t want to talk, so I didn’t push her. However, by the afternoon she started getting chatty. We are on our way…