We’ve been on this journey of helping Courtney find a functional way to communicate through the use of a talker for over 3 years now. It’s been a tough journey with a lot of ups and downs. As frustrating as the regressions were we kept plugging away and pushing knowing the ultimate goal is her learning to communicate.
This last regression was to be expected with all the changes in her life this fall. As I’ve said before, learning a communication system is like learning a new language. She left her school team that helped introduce and learn her “language”. We said good bye to our nanny who again, learned her language and helper her progress. She had to start with not only a new school but a new nanny who did not know her “language”. You can’t teach a language if you don’t know it yourself. It took time and patience and more work from the home therapy team and me. Though regression was expected, it’s never easy to watch.
Through every up and down, I felt like we have been stuck at this phase where she only uses it to request foods, drinks and label things when is asked. As we got through this last regression, we are not only where we were before the regression but I feel we are finally seeing glimpses of her going beyond requesting for the same things. We are more consistently seeing two work requests like “want milk” instead of just ‘Milk”. And we are seeing more spontanious novel requests that we have never seen before! I am ecstatic!
The other day Courtney kept grabbing me and bringing me to the master bathroom’s bathtub. I grabbed her talker and asked her what she wanted. She carefully scanned the pictures and pressed “wash”! Oh my goodness! She told me she wanted a bath! Darn right I stopped everything and got the bath ready. Well, she didn’t want a bath, she hates baths. She wanted water in the tub so she can lean over and play in it. That detail doesn’t matter and we will work on that, but it’s a start!
This morning we were playing downstairs and she grabbed her blanket, iPad and grabbed my hand and brought me to the stairs. I went back and grabbed her talker and asked her what she wanted. She scanned her talker with intent and then requested “sleep”. I know she didn’t want to actually go to sleep, but she loves sitting on my bed and watching her ipad so I was able to figure out what she meant. Again, a novel request that does not involve food!
Yes, the average person off the street would still be confused by these requests, but I was able to figure out what she meant a lot easier than her typical way of grabbing me and bringing me to what she wants. I am so proud of her AND her amazing team as we learn this “language” together.