May's Spotlight Star- Bryson

Posted on 2015-04-27 15:28:11 by Admin under Success Stories

Meet Bryson, a determined and passionate 10 year old that is full of personality.  He enjoys music, books, animals, anything outdoors, Spider-man, and time with his friends.  He is able to put a smile on the face of those around him and impacts people more then he may ever know.

Bryson has overcome many struggles in life and is a survivor of child abuse.  He is diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, apraxia, childhood acquired aphasia, and ADHD.  He has a unique joy about him and has started to create his own path in life.  Bryson is currently able to use about 50 words verbally that are understandable to others but relays upon assistive technology to really have his voice heard.

Previously, Bryson had tried multiple high-tech AAC options before latching onto TouchChat on the iPad.  After about a year of success his family pursued a dedicated device for better portability and an external speaker.  He immediately picked up the NovaChat 5 and has not put it down since.  Bryson's private SLP reports, "Over the past year, Bryson has demonstrated tremendous growth initiating independent, spontaneous communication using his device.  Both his core and fringe vocabulary has grown significantly, and he is able to generalize vocabulary to novel contexts.  He is even beginning to use word combinations.  His entire team is ecstatic about his communication progress!"

Bryson is able to combine 2-3 words for simple sentences for a variety of functions across environments.  He enjoys not only using core and fringe words but also using visual scenes during play and when communicating with his peers. Bryson has even recently started using vocabulary that he has learned through incidental teaching through adult and peer modeling.

Thanks to the NovaChat, Bryson has finally found his voice and a way to express himself.  His family and friends now know that he prefers rap and alternative music instead of country and that if he were allowed he would eat pizza for every meal and a granola bar for every snack.  He is able to express his love for animals, draw adult and peer attention to the books he is reading, and comment on the world around him.  He thinks it is hilarious to make adults sing and also loves seeing what hoops adults will jump through as he makes other requests.  Bryson is finally able to show the world his personality and interact with all that goes on around him.

 


January's Spotlight Star- Owen!

Posted on 2015-01-29 11:10:25 by Admin under Success Stories

 “When everyone works together and has the best interest of the student [in mind]…it all works out.”-  Julee Nawa, Ladd School Speech-Language Pathologist    

Please meet Owen.  Owen loves to spell.  Owen is an adorable, sweet 5 year old boy who really enjoys using his NOVA chat 10.  Owen has Autism and was essentially non-verbal.  He had previously used a variety of low-tech AAC options and apps to increase his communication but nothing seemed to be the right fit.  Owen would easily become frustrated when he was not understood or when he wasn’t feeling well, as he had no way to express himself.  

Owen attends Ladd School.  The staff and administration at Ladd School knew that something needed to be done to help Owen communicate so that he could be successful and understood in school and at home.  Mr. Lawrence, the school’s Principal, contacted the Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP; www.iltech.org), a state funded program that provides a wide variety of services from providing a device lending library to providing grant funded, school based AAC evaluations across the state, to seek assistance for Owen.

Marguerite Simon, a Speech-Language-Pathologist who conducts AAC evaluations for IATP, evaluated Owen last school year and began the process for determining what device may best work for Owen.  Marguerite stated, “The beauty of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) grant AAC evaluation program is that we are able to reach out to small towns who don’t have the AAC resources available for evaluations and device trials.  I love the fact that we can reach so out to so many districts across the state.”   

The school staff and administration have fully supported Owen and his family prior to and during the funding process until he received his NOVA chat in September 2014.  Ladd School has even purchased an additional charger to ensure that Owen’s NOVA chat is fully charged and ready to be used at school.  At home, Owen is able to “find something that will help him convey his feelings”; something that he was not able to do prior to having his NOVA chat.  His school and family have demonstrated consistent support, team work, advocacy, and dedication.  They have seen Owen’s moments of frustration decrease and have observed an increase of wanting to communicate with others.

Julee Nawa, Owen’s SLP, reported that since September, Owen is using his NOVA chat to independently say ‘hello’/ ‘goodbye’ to his peers and staff members at school.  She has noted that Owen has increased his use of eye contact, interacts with his peers more, participates in classroom activities, and he has been observed to be producing more sounds and some word approximations! Julee noted that “Everyone [at Ladd School] has gone above and beyond.”   Julee says it best when she said that Owen’s NOVA chat, “Has given him a voice.  It’s his voice!”   

 


NovaChat – new communication path opens up

Posted on 2015-01-14 13:49:16 by Admin under Success Stories

"The inability to speak his thoughts gave him a lot of frustration and us, a lot of confusion". I'm so glad this family finally found their solution in the Nova Chat 7!

Read their story here


November's Spotlight Star

Posted on 2015-01-08 10:17:28 by Admin under Success Stories

 

Winn is our celeb for the month of November. She was born on May 20, 2003 so that makes her 11 years old. Mom, Jennifer, reports that the family did not realize there was something wrong at birth, but by the time Winn was 4 months old, it was apparent she was not progressing developmentally as she should. After 2 years of doctors visits and therapies, Winn was diagnosed with a rare condition that would “take pages” to explain! Basically she is missing most of her cerebellum, which has affected her balance, speech, and coordination. Winn also has sensory integration issues and is on the Autism spectrum.

Due to the great love, support, and care from her family as well as continued therapies, today, Winn is able to walk, say a few words, use some sign language, and use her NovaChat7 independently and spontaneously.

Winn is a fifth grader at Sonny Carter Elementary in Macon GA. Her first speech generating device was not a NovaChat! However, she did learn to use it well enough to communicate basic needs and her family realized that she knew a bunch more than they imagined and that she was capable of learning much more. Winn completed a successful trial with a NovaChat 7 and received her own NovaChat in December of 2013. The family and Winn were so excited because of the many features that made the NovaChat easier for her to use than the other device. They are thrilled that it was so much lighter than her previous device. It allows her to carry her it everywhere independently. They love the larger buttons and better software because she is able to communicate much faster. Even though Winn has about 5 words and still uses some sign language, her NovaChat is her main form of communication.   

Winn’s teachers and SLP at Sonny Carter describe her as a delightful 5th-grade student. They say she currently uses a NovaChat device for her main means of communication at school. At school this device is known by her peers and teachers as her "talker"! Winn carries her "talker" from class to class, for all activities, and to lunch. She uses it to greet teachers, staff, and friends in the hallways, as she enters the room, and around the school. She enjoys using her NovaChat at lunch to chat with her friends. Her "test answer" page allows her to respond to multiple choice and true/false questions during assessments or class response activities. You will often find Winn in a group of students who are so eager to talk with her using her "talker". She enjoys being social and her “talker” helps her engage in more meaningfully communicate. She is currently working at the sentence level to communicate. For example, she will create a sentence such as "I am hungry or I want to eat to express her wants and needs. Winn knows that she needs to use her "talker" at school to communicate her needs. While social academic-related communication is critical and made possible by her NovaChat, Winn can also use her "talker" to communicate more serious, personal information. For example, Winn recently was not feeling well at school. When asked what was wrong, she responded with "I am sad. I am sick. I want to go home. I need mom." Winn was, in fact, sick and was quite happy to see her mother when she came to pick her up from school. Without her NovaChat, this important message would have likely not been known. Winn's NovaChat makes a wide range of communication possible at school, and with staff training, implementation becomes more successful each week.

It’s always great to hear success stories like this. Everyone is so proud of Winn and glad to share her story. They all know Winn will continue to be a great success.