Having a child who is non-verbal brings many difficulties. Thanks to technology, there are ways to give children like Courtney a “voice”. But helping them learn this “voice” is equivalent to climbing the highest mountain. It requires families to basically learn a new language while also trying to teach their child this new language. It is a very long and slow process.
Courtney got her talker when she was 3 years old. She had a slight advantage being that I already had some knowledge of her device. I wish it meant she would pick up on it faster but it didn’t.
Needless to say this recent surge in understanding of language and using her talker to communicate has been beyond awesome. Watching her find the power of her talker is beautiful! Loved ones always talk about how all they want is Courtney to talk. All I’ve wanted (besides the 3 words, “I love you”) is Courtney to be able to communicate with me beyond telling me what food item she wants. For the first time in 7 years, I finally feel like we will get there.
We had another beautiful moment of her showing these massive steps she’s taking this morning. Courtney wanted a specific YouTube video on her iPad. She kept handing the iPad to her dad which usually means “hear dad, telepathically figure out what video I want because I can’t tell you”. She was very persistent but all he could do is type in some of the favorites we know of hers. She kept handing the iPad back though. Finally she took her talker and started naming different sea animals. This still involves a guessing game but now we were able to narrow it down more. I finally remembered that she’s been watching this kids show, Octonauts that has all sorts of sea creatures in it. Again, the frustration of having a child who is non-verbal because we are still guessing. Joe started searching Octonaut videos that included all the different sea creatures she named on her talker. Finally he says to me, “we found it! And sure enough, all the ones she listed are in it!”
I’m so excited to watch her see the power her talker has. It is so beautiful to watch her find the words she wants on it as she tries to communicate her wants and needs. We are still so early on in this journey with her talker though we are 4 years into it but seeing these huge steps gives me so much joy and hope.