Two Boys and Their iPads
In my last blog
, I wrote about a little boy I met who had been given an iPad by well meaning grandparents. After meeting with this little boy, 2 other SLP's from my district and I decided he is not ready to use the iPad for communication, but can use it to build language in other ways.
This time, I want to share about another little boy, let's call him B, with an iPad. This summer I am doing some work for an amazing clinic in my town. We are running some language groups, and in one group, we have a 4 year old boy with Prader Willi Syndome who has his own new iPad. The SLP who usually works with B told me that although this boy has been frustrated by his inability to communicate he was initially quite reluctant to use the iPad. I would NEVER have guessed this, because when I met him, he ran proudly into the room clutching the iPad. My guess is that when B started using the iPad, his communication partners beautifully reinforced his communication attempts, which made communicating a joy rather than a chore.
B uses an AAC app named Tobii Sono Flex. I am not familiar enough with Proloquo To Go to provide a good comparison, however I did like it and it is half the price of Proloquo To Go. It is customizable, however we are still fine tuning the organization and vocabulary.
In our first meeting, B was very communicative. He was excited to share some pre-entered sentences about his favorite topic, trucks. He used the iPad (with some cues!) to request, answer questions, and comment. He was able to navigate through a few categories to find items he wanted and enjoyed showing the other children symbols for "dirty diaper!" Potty talk is developmentally appropriate for children this age; I would never want to take vocabulary away from somebody who is attempting to communicate in an age appropriate manner.
During our language group, I am attempting to set up as many opportunities for B to use the iPad as possible. The children take turns choosing a song, (the song names are in the iPad) and take turns choosing elements of a song (such as an animal for Old McDonald, which part of "The Wheels on the Bus" to sing), which are also entered into the iPad. B sometimes gets distracted by the iPad and navigates to other boards while we are singing, but again, this is no different than a child who makes an off topic comment during circle time! All the children take turns telling us something about their week (and B's mom programs a sentence in for us in advance), and we spend quite a bit of time at snack talking, building snacks, making requests and commenting. During play time, we model the creation of simple utterances. B is not ready to create his own sentences yet, however it is important for him to see which vocabulary items we use and how we do it.
Do you have any students/clients who are successfully using the iPad to communicate? Which APP are they using? How have you set it up for function in that person's life? Please comment below or on the ADVANCE Facebook page.