In this chapter, the family is first introduced to a voice output device. While the device was relatively simple, it opened Schuyler’s parents minds to new possibilities for her. This also is the part where they had to go over her evaluation and you can hear her parents absolute frustration that they appeared to score her even though it was evident she did not really cooperate. There was obvious frustration toward the speech therapist as she was not willing to incorporate the parents wishes to add signing in Schuyler’s plan. There was a bright light at the meeting for them when the technology person brought various devices for them to look over for possible voice output devices; however, frustration returned when they were told Schuyler could not have the more advanced voice output device, essentially that she was not ready for it. You could hear frustration and anger from her parents that they felt all they heard was what she couldn’t do and what she wasn’t ready for yet.
Even though the device she had was relatively simple, it opened up Schuyler’s parents eyes to new possibilities for communication for her. They could also see how excited Schulyer was to have words that she was able to use and that it allowed her to communicate more than she was able to before. When they realized how quickly Schuyler was mastering the voice output device she had, they looked into options for a more complex one but soon realized how high the prices were and that their insurance flat out refused. They looked into laws but realized the school district was only obligated to provide a device, not necessarily the one Schuyler needed but they knew that she needed something more and that’s where this chapter leaves us.
Thoughts: It’s very easy to see why the parents are frustrated but then working in the system, I can understand why the school started with a simpler advice. I feel like the school did the right thing by introducing the device but wonder why there was no real attempt at augmentative communication earlier, especially since the parents had asked for signs to be incorporated into speech. It aso makes you realize that many children probably don’t get the correct communication device or even opportunity to use a communication device due to funding or lack or education on different AAC options. This chapter seems to be a turning point as her parents realize there is a way for her to communicate very effectively and that AAC provides a way for Schuyler to have a true voice.
-Sarah Coty, SLP at Chenoweth Elementary