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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Can you give us a Yes or No?

Emma had an apt. with the Augmentative Communication (AC) group at the hospital in April (Good Friday, to be exact!) and I've followed through with a few of the suggestions. One main suggestion that I've sort of been on again, off again focusing on is giving Emma a way to express Yes and No. The reason I'm so wishy washy on this is that it's HARD. Emma isn't all that interested in learning Yes and No and the way we were teaching it to her - eyes up to say yes, shake head for no - didn't seem to capture her interest at all and so I wound up exhausted by a lot of the Yes No teaching efforts and pretty much gave it a rest for a while.


But, we really want to reduce the frustration Emma has in communication until she starts talking and I think a Yes No response is a great start and I know that we really need to bring our AC efforts up a level. To do this without losing our sanity and buying loads of one function AC equipment we decided to get an iPad. Truth is, I've wanted to get one for Emma ever since the announcement of the iPad launch but we wanted to wait for the 1st gen. kinks to get worked out and buy one next year. You know, we wanted to be a bit more practical than rushing out and buying the iPad right away.

And then we came to a realization.

As we were waiting and being practical time was slipping away from us. Time that we could use to get Emma up and running with a communication system that she responds to - she loves electronics, switches not so much! - and will help reduce her frustration on our not-always-so-accurate guessing what she is trying to tell us. So, we decided to just take the plunge and get her an iPad since there are so many great AC apps available for it. Once we made the decision I was ready to go full force and we set out to the Apple store for a family outing only to come out empty handed. Apparently everyone wants an iPad so they were sold out and so I ordered it online and had to wait.......for a couple of weeks to get it. I wish I could say I waited patiently, but Chris would call my bluff for that statement!

The iPad finally arrived last night and I got it all set up for Emma. I bought the Answers: Yes No application from the iTunes store and thought this is just what I needed to help Emma learn a Yes and No response. This morning we started out with the Yes No app by asking Emma a couple of questions. She told me:
  • YES she was happy to see Courtney, the babysitter, this morning
  • No she did not enjoy her PT session at the hospital
  • Yes she wanted to go home and play with Julia
The great thing about this app is that it is EASY to use and implement. Emma is interested in using the iPad and selecting her choice. So, we incorporated it into her speech therapy this morning. She independently chose a Yes No response 3 times and needed hand over hand assistance 3 times. This is and INCREDIBLE response from Emma. My previous attempts at Yes No responses from her would maybe, just maybe have her respond to me once.

Courtney used the Yes No to ask if Emma was done eating and wanted her bottle and also to ask her if she was ready for her nap. She was clearly making a choice and happy that she was communicating it. This evening we asked Emma if she was done eating and if she wanted her bottle. She was a bit more tired but still made a choice.

ANYONE can do this with Emma. It's easy and almost effortless on our part and it took me less than a minute to show it to Courtney and her therapist. That alone is priceless to me!

We have a lot of other apps on the iPad that we can use with Emma. Many of them reinforce the auditory input she needs. She really seems to love everything it does including watching home videos and reading Dr. Seuss books, but for now we have decided to use the iPad mostly for the Yes No application before we move on to all the other fun apps. We don't want to throw too much at her all at once.

After Emma masters the Yes No, we think the next step would be to introduce the Proloquo2go application.

I'm really excited about Emma's response to the iPad so far!

7 Comments from readers:

Hetha said...

AWESOME! I loved reading her responses to your questions! How exhilarating that must be for you and Chris as well as Emma.

As usual, you've got my wheels spinning.

Anonymous said...

We started working on yes/no with Cody last week!!! He took off with it the first day but hasn't done it since. Darn it! I've been wanting an IPAD so bad but he has CVI and has a hard time crossing midline so I've been hesitant. We're trying to wait until the next generation but not so sure its going to happen. Just wish it had a USB so we could use a switch with it. Cannot wait to see how EMMA does with it.

Laura
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/codygarrett

bab006 said...

You don't know how much more excited you have made me. I work in early intervention and I have been selling everything I own on ebay to get enough money to buy and iPad to work with my babies. I work mainly with babies and toddlers with significant medical/developmental issues esp CP and CVI. I am going to start either a facebook page or another blog and video tape my kids using an ipad for communication, cause/effect, pre-literacy, play, etc. I would love for you to check it out and add your stuff. Great job Emma.

bab006 said...

I started the facebook page Babies with iPads.

Holly said...

WoooHOOOO!! I'm so glad it finally came in AND your family is loving it.

The iPad has changed our lives and I just know it will be amazing for yours too.

Can't wait to see what comes next.
Congrats :-)

I am Trish Marie said...

So glad you are seeing such positive results. Both Jill and Emmi use various programs on the iPad. Emmi used to use a communication board, and I would have loved to have an iPad back in those days!

ady said...

Oh, I'm so glad your little one is doing well with the Ipad! We bought one for Kylee and I couldn't find any apps that seemed very kid-friendly; I was disappointed. But now I know I was just looking in the wrong places - I'm going to hunt for yours now, so thanks for the info!! (If you know of any other good ones please pass the info :)!! Adyange1@hotmail.com)