One Three-Year-Old’s Journey
Over the last year, I have watched one of the children on my
caseload truly grow into a bright little preschool school student who
desperately wants to communicate with others. When he first entered our school,
he had just turned three and although he seemed to comprehend many concepts in
the world around him, recent testing did not reflect this. In addition, he
would often have outbursts and outright refusals to comply during classroom
lessons. Behavior issues and little to no expressive language plagued his daily
performance in the classroom.
As time went on and my little friend learned the routines of
the classroom and experienced some true successes within his educational
setting, a change began to occur. He began to willingly choose to participate
in speech class and other activities throughout his day. All of his teachers
and therapists began to see a change and almost a hunger in his eyes. I
especially started to see this transformation during our speech therapy sessions.
He was increasingly cooperative and would follow my commands demonstrating his
understanding of various vocabulary and age appropriate concepts.
As his attention and focus began to improve at a steadfast
pace, his speech articulation seemed to be in slow motion. He would raise his
hand to answer, but nothing would come out. He would practice sounds, syllables
and key vocabulary words over and over, yet had extreme difficulty imitating
modeled speech and retaining skills in this area from one day to the next. The
gap between his receptive language and expressive speech skills seemed to grow
wider each day.
Once we returned from summer break and began to prepare for
our upcoming re-evaluations and annual IEP meetings, this little boy was at the
top of our list. I called his parents and told them my apraxia suspicions,
sharing that I would like to complete a full speech and language assessment at
this time to ensure that his educational placement was still appropriate and to
begin the process for obtaining augmentative communication. His parents were
delighted to hear of their son's progress and also shared the same concerns and
frustrations regarding his articulation and expressive language.
Throughout the fall, testing was completed and the results
looked much different than those gathered just over a year ago. We held his
ER/IEP meeting to review all the results, draft and sign new goals and change
his placement to a classroom with less supports and interventions.
In addition, I met with our Augmentative Communication
County Representative to review this student's case and place an order for a
device that would be solely for him to use within his school setting. After
careful discussion and analysis, we both decided that an iPad would be an
appropriate tool to use with this student. We will be receiving it after our
Christmas break and will have 8 weeks to trial it. Both the family and I are
very excited to have this opportunity for their little boy!
Using an iPad with a
child this age is still very new for me and I have been reading Angela Desideri's AT and AAC: Practical Tips and
Strategies blog on the ADVANCE for SLPs website, which is
full of helpful tips. If other SLPs out there would like to write in and share
suggestions, app tips and any other pointers that you think may be helpful for
me when working with this little boy and the iPad, please share! I welcome all