My communication device and I were not always best friends. I would not use it. I pushed it away, I would use it in speech therapy, but at home I opted for my cardboard ABC board. My stubborn eight-year-old mind said, my ABC board works fine and most people around me can understand my nonverbal cues. I was not motivated to use my communication device, the DynaVox, and my parents and therapists were incredibly frustrated. To me, it didn’t feel like my voice. I would use my natural voice to communicate with important people like Mom, Dad, and my teachers. Who else did I need to communicate with? Nobody…at least I thought.
My therapists and parents knew that I had a lot to say that I couldn’t communicate on my ABC board. They did everything they could think of. Looking back, they were really intuitive to what I wanted. I wanted to have control over my device, so, they did something very smart. My speech therapist taught me how to program my DynaVox. I felt like I had control. Now, I didn’t change my mind over night. It took a good two years for me to feel like the DynaVox was mine. It took my parents pushing me to a use my device, my assistants being patient, and my speech therapist working relentlessly with me and seeing my potential.
On the day I chose to have my DynaVox on the bus with me, it was not because of my parents, therapists, or assistants. It was because I wanted to talk to my crush. It did help that I felt extremely comfortable with my device.
If you are a parent going through the frustration of your child not wanting to use her or his device, be patient. Let your child know why the device will be important. Your patience and persistence can pay off. There are a plethora of success stories. This one in particular proves that if parents believe in their child, anything is possible. Click here to see a remarkable story.
As for me, I became a motivational speaker. I have spoken to doctors, teachers, psychologists, and-my favorite,-students about accepting people for who they are. I also speak about patients with special needs to doctors so they can have more patience with people who use communication devices. I would not be where I am at if people did not see my potential at an early age.