Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Introduction.

This is Elanor. 

She is 29 months old. She loves animals (dogs and cats and skunks and slugs and lizards) and Blue's Clues (mostly the ones with Steve) and Jello (sometimes green, always red, NEVER orange). She is also speech-impaired due to a neurological condition called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Only a few weeks ago her expressive (spoken) speech tested at the level of an 11 month old infant. 

This is her talker. 

It's an iPad Mini with a special amplified case and a communication app called Speak for Yourself. This device is the reason I can tell you anything about what Elanor likes. Without it she might be able to grunt and point at the TV. She might make the ASL sign for "blue" to tell me she wants to watch Blues Clues. But with her talker she can tell me she wants to watch a Steve episode, or the one where Magenta gets glasses. She can not only tell me they've found a clue, but what the clue is. Then she can ask me for chocolate milk (please), and tell the dog to get down off the coffee table. Her device is her voice, and it vastly shortens the distance between Elanor and the typical toddler. She may be speech-impaired, but with her talker she is far from mute. 

Here is Elanor on a typical day. She has to say "please" just like anyone else. 

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