As we roll Joey’s chair closer to his eye gaze AAC device, his Joey’s eyes light up as though he is reuniting with an old friend. Once we position him in front of his screen, and make sure he is close enough so that the sensor can pick up his eye gaze, he off to the races. Some days he dives into his words right away. Helicopter. Purple. Car. Fast. Tyrannosaurus Rex. Tiger. Parrot. Penguin. Where. Alligator. Purple. White. Over. The words come out fast and furiously – there are so many words and so much time to make up for. [Read more…]
This is part 2 in a 3 part series on presuming competency.
Joey looked at me, then the floor, and finally back to his eye gaze AAC device. He said “Off. Over. White” on his eye gaze twice, then looked at the floor again. Finally, he said “down” on the eye gaze device. I looked down, and realized that the red maraca with a white top had rolled under my chair and I hadn’t seen it when I first followed his gaze toward the floor. Although off over white down seemed to be a random string of words, I started to suspect that what he was telling me was the maraca fell off the tray. The white is over the red on the maraca, and it was down on the floor. When I handed Joey the maraca, his grin told me that it was exactly what he wanted. [Read more…]
I woke up around 6:30 last Sunday morning, thinking about Joey and the word want. It has been weeks now, and Joey and I continue to fight our War on Want . It is perplexing for all of us who work with him, because he is so quick to use his eye gaze system to answer questions about a book, label objects in his environment, or to tell us how he feels. But using it to make a request seems to be difficult for him. Even using his eye gaze to confirm what he wants using the yes/no buttons can become a fight. [Read more…]
On Thursday, Joey and I stared at each other, silently. My goal in the moment was for Joey to select the word ‘want’ on his AAC eye gaze device. Joey’s goal was to get me to give him a stuffed owl he had dropped on the floor. In my perfectly planned lesson, these two goals would work together. Joey would use the device to say “want” and then I would give him the owl. Joey though, did not show any interest in selecting the ‘want’ icon.
This battle over the word ‘want’ has been going on for four sessions now. I model using the word want and then prompt, prod, and encourage Joey to select ‘want’. In response, Joey reaches into his communicative skills to do anything he can to NOT select ‘want’. [Read more…]
Last fall Joey started using an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) eye gaze device. But what does augmentative and alternative communication even mean?
The AAC page on Wikipedia states, “Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an umbrella term that encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language. AAC is used by those with a wide range of speech and language impairments, including congenital impairments such as cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and autism, and acquired conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. AAC can be a permanent addition to a person’s communication or a temporary aid.”