While We’re Waiting & the ‘Aha Moment’

August 22, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

While We’re Waiting & the ‘Aha Moment’
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We tried to be patient. We really did. We tried to wait until we had the new venue for our site all figured out and ready to go, but the truth is, we missed blogging and hated the thought of going a few more weeks without being able to post. So we decided to reactivate our old site for the time being and post occasionally to this site. Pardon our dorky look, please.

In case you missed these on Facebook, here are are a couple of things we shared in the past few weeks:

And now onto something new…

Last week, I had the chance to talk with Karyn, a mom whose adorable daughter with significant vision impairment and multiple disabilities is entering school for the first time. As she helped her little girl prepare for the transition, Karyn had an ‘aha’ moment. Up until now, she dutifully implemented the suggestions of the SLP, OT, PT, and early intervention teachers who worked with her daughter, Ella, trying to strike a balance between their home programs and the other demands on her time. AAC was a part of that, along with many competing priorities, but it never really got air play. Because Ella primarily had in-home services, Karyn was always available to interpret her daughter’s communicative attempts. Now, Ella is going to be on her own, without mom to interpret. 

In this case, the ‘aha moment’ was Karyn realizing that for her daughter to succeed in school, AAC would have to play a central role. The people who are now going to be with Ella for 6 hours/day, aren’t familiar with the ways in which she communicates using sounds, subtle movements, and changes in muscle tone. “I took pride in being the one who knew her best,” Karyn told me. “I guess a part of me was secretly happy that I could read her better than anybody else.” “We’re a team,” she said, “but now she’s playing in a whole new league.”

A whole new league, with all new rules.

Karyn’s ‘aha moment’ sent her into a tailspin, and she wakes up in the night worried, as any mom in this situation would, about helping her daughter be safe, happy, and productive in school.  We brainstormed well into the night, and one of the brightest moments was a plan to introduce object symbols. Tangible symbols are a great option for kids with significant visual impairment, and we chatted about how to get started to develop a system that would allow Ella to make choices and know what’s coming up in her day. Perkins School for the Blind has a wonderful set of videos  by SLP Elizabeth Torrey on this topic. There are 6 short, expertly captioned videos totalling less than 15 minutes. They give a great introduction to how to get started with this approach.

You can view the videos here: http://bit.ly/PCScxm

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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