Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Assistive Technology Communication Evaluation

Tuesday Elias had his long awaited evaluation for communication with assistive technology. To give you an example, think Stephen Hawking. The hope is for this new team of occupational therapists and speech therapist to identify an appropriate device to help Elias with his total communication efforts. Yes, we are still working on basic signs and of course the Aural Rehab in the hopes we can evoke an auditory response. This is just an additional layer of assistance to try and keep Elias as close to on target developmentally as possible. Also with Elias’ arm and hand malformations (mainly the missing thumbs) some signing may be difficult to adapt or be translated properly down the road. They spent several hours watching how he manipulates and engages various toys, situations, and most of all people. They were very impressed with the ability he has with his hands and his fingers. We played with a few different computer devices that have the ability to grow with him. This is where the challenge falls. Insurance will only cover one device every five years. So you have to really think ahead. Finding something that is functional now but will still be advanced enough for him when he is seven. That is tough! There are also trial periods that must be done before the final device choice is made. This process is going to take quite some time. With our four follow-up visits planned and the difficulty getting in it is looking like it will be next spring before this process really makes a push. That was a little disappointing. We were expecting something that was going to be done with a bit more urgency. Especially since the developmental pediatrician pushed so hard for us to do this to establish some form of active communication for Elias. They did suggest that we try a touch pad, much like you find on a laptop. They feel this or a modified stylus will be his ultimate facilitator with the proposed device, whatever that may be. We are hoping that our early intervention program will have some available to use. We did write our IFSP with the potential of exploring assistive technology tools versus specific ones. Wish we had more information, but it is a slow step in the right direction. We do not even have an opportunity to go back for our next follow-up until mid-December. That was the first available, crazy!

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