March's Spotlight Star- Kristen

Posted on 2014-04-02 11:43:59 by Admin under News

There is a saying, “Not being able to speak doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to say”. Communication is essential to everyone. I should know, because I have a disability that keeps me from speaking and, even though I can’t say words, I do have something to say.

To make a long story short, I have Cerebral Palsy.   In my lifetime, I have had thousands of AAC devices. I may be exaggerating a little, but I was there before they were known as AAC devices. I was there when electric typewriters were the wonders of the day. I was there before computers. I was there before push button phones. I was there when people actually wrote letters. I have seen the development of AAC devices over the past forty plus years and it has been amazing.

I started communicating as a “regular “child by crying and smiling. My first AAC system was to answer yes/no questions by raising my hand for yes. My first AAC device was a board with pictures. Magically, the pictures turned into words, the words became more numerous and the board got larger and larger and larger until it was the size of a piece of large tag board that fit on a chart stand that went where ever I went at school. I had a similar board at home on the refrigerator and by the table. It eventually became the size of a 12” x 16” art canvas, which I could have with me all the time.

My first electric device was an electric typewriter. For the younger generation that is an ipad before steroids. It was just a keyboard with a print out.

Since that time many devices have passed over my chair.  Like people, they each had their own personality, all of them quirky and extremely frustrating.    

One of my devices was so was so frustrating, that I wanted to take a hammer to it. My father gave me a hammer and said, “Go for it.” At that point in time, I said I would never, ever have another electronic device.

Well, a couple of years ago, I kicked myself in my bootie and said, “Ok, let’s try it again”. I was associated with CTEC, the Communication Technology Education Center in Sacramento.   They did an assessment and after trying numerous devices, I decided the NOVA chat 10 would be the best for me. I was right. It has been a life changer. I can hold conversations without someone standing next to me; I can carry on conversations with people in a room close by; it doesn’t take a person with special skills to be with me and read my board; it’s dependable; the size is great for me; and on the occasions I have had to use tech support, because it is after all a computer, they have been very knowledgeable, helpful and patient.

My NOVA chat 10 is my Knight in Purple Amour!