Submitted by kim on Mon, 08/04/2014 - 11:57 in Augmented Communication
Warning: This probably should have been two or three separate posts over the last few weeks. But here we go... a lengthy update on where we are with augmented communication for Nathaniel. The reward is at the end - videos!
Nathaniel and I had our first difficult mother-son conversation a few weeks ago. Well, in reality I was talking; he was not. That was what made it difficult.
I mentioned in my last blog post that Nathaniel had a number of doctor appointments recently. I am always learning new things about my son when I talk with his doctors. I learn about things that happened medically before he joined our family. I learn how they anticipate him continuing to grow and change.
Nathaniel's first word was BATH. He said it with his hands a few weeks ago.
It happened like this:
While I have been talking to therapists and reading, Rich has been quietly doing his own thing. Consistently. For months. He undresses Nathaniel, signs "bath," and says, "Let's go take your bath!" One afternoon Rich and I were talking about the bedtime routine and decided we were under a bit of a time crunch and would skip Nathaniel's bath. After dinner Rich took Nathaniel into the nursery like normal and started to undress him. As soon as his shirt was off, Nathaniel signed BATH.
We made time for a bath!
I have been kindling a dislike of speech therapists for months.
If I were perfectly honest I have been kindling a dislike of speech therapists since I was in elementary when I had to sit in a hot little rectangular room with four boys practicing my "s" and "r" sounds.
But my weariness of speech therapists has started to change.
Thinking back on yesterday's augmented communication appointment, I must have looked like a crazy mom. I hauled in a large bag of stuff that I had made, his toys, the talker that Nathaniel's speech therapist was trying to use, his iPad, copies of research articles I had found, and my go-everywhere-Nathaniel-binder.
I feel like skipping tonight! And it's not just the spring weather in St. Louis. Nathaniel participated in a two hour augmented communication study at St. Louis Children's Hospital today and it was AMAZING!
Let me back up and give some necessary info.
We know Nathaniel will be non-verbal for a number of years at least. His trachea abnormality prevents him from passing air over his vocal chords. As a side note, yes, that means Nathaniel does not make an audible cry. He cries like all babies, but the only sound is an increased respiratory rate. Everyone knows he needs a different way to communicate. The go to option of course is speech therapy.