What's in a Name?
It’s always exciting when someone gets a new communication
device. It’s even more exciting when they have been waiting (because the old
Yesterday, Corey brought me his brand new device to set up.
He looked at the student that is working with me and said, “I’ve named this one
‘Sky.’” Corey’s last communication device was named “Pluto.”
The very first experience I had with a user naming his device
was a young man who was talking about using his device to text his mom when he
was hanging out in the mall. He looked at me very seriously and asked, “What
happens when Fred dies?” He and his mom laughed when they saw the look on my
face; I had no clue that he was talking about his communication device.
Thinking about these wonderful users, made me wonder “What’s
in a name?”
Well, if you think about it, it is a great idea to name your
communication device. With these two examples, which happened without any prompting
from me or their family, it was a natural occurrence. What did naming a device
do for the user?
First, it gives the user an attachment to the device. This
can be a valuable way to get ‘”buy-in” for device use and independent
communication. This is something that belongs to only them and allows for
independence through communication.
Second, it makes it easier for family and other stake
holders to talk about (and encourage) device use. Giving a reminder like, “Why
don’t you use Pluto to tell me about your field trip, so I can understand,” is
much easier that talking about using your communication device.
Not all users are going to be able to name their device.
Some may need assistance with this as well. Since I learned about Fred and Pluto,
I have encouraged some families to help a new user to name the device. This has
been a great way to get everyone involved in the transition from ineffective
non-verbal communication, to more effective, independent functional
Do you have any device users that have named their devices?
What are some of the most unique names that you have heard? How did it impact device
use? I would love to hear your thoughts.