Chapter 19

Chapter 19 begins with the author describing one spring morning in 2005 when he woke up and got ready and sat anxiously awaiting the delivery of a package. He waited for a knock on the door as a child might wait for Christmas morning. Schuyler’s communication device had arrived and he referred to it as her Big Box of Words. He describes the weeks leading up to that day as a roller coaster ride, full of promise and frustration, and he goes over how Schuyler quickly picked up how to navigate the loaner device. Schuyler was enthusiastic about the device and fascinated by it. Robert creates a dinosaur button and recorded his voice saying “Rire”, which Schuyler found very entertaining. She began using the dinosaur button to accentuate all of the phrases on her device, and eventually to disrupt her class in a way that she never could before. In my opinion, this chapter is one of the most important chapters because Schuyler finally has a voice and the bridge of communication has been established. The author discusses the continuous battle with the system. The school system wants them to try another device, which is the DynaVox. While Schuyler is initially curious, she eventually becomes bored with it because of how slow it moved between pages. Her parents are convinced and made the final decision that the PRC Vantage Plus device is the one for Schuyler. They attend a training session for the device and they feel unsupported by the school staff when no one shows up to represent the school for the training. They take note of other school districts’ representation at the meeting and begin to wonder if there are other options. Finally, the IEP meeting is upon them and they come prepared with a video of Schuyler successfully navigating her new device, which leaves the room speechless. It was one of their most productive IEP meetings they had ever had and they finally felt as though they had proved to everyone that Schuyler was so much more than what people thought. “They were wrong about her, and we were right.”

–Allison Forrester, SLP at Noe Middle and Manual High

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5 thoughts on “Chapter 19

  1. Darcy Lanham says:

    I love the last quote: They were wrong about her, and we were right. It is like a reward for Robert and Julie after all the fighting that they have done.

  2. Holly says:

    Kudos to Robert and Julie for diving into the AAC world to educate themselves for their daughter. I can’t imagine the joy they felt as Schuyler proved them right by successfully using the device that they hand picked. Finally, some hope for the future is restored!

  3. Chelsea says:

    I hope, as a therapist, I have the humility to recognize if a parent points out that I am unknowingly limiting a child’s potential.

  4. Candra Grether says:

    This is my favorite chapter. l love that Schuyler was able to let her personality shine through the use of “Rire!” I had a conversation with a teacher recently that reminded me of this chapter. One of my students, new to AAC, has a hard time remembering to clear the text box and got a funny reaction from the class when they used their device to respond in class and that response included many words due to forgetting to clear the text box. The student has repeated this a time or two it seems like just for class reaction again. While the teacher and I will continue to model use of the student’s device, I love knowing that this student seems like a class clown. Before AAC, who knew!?

  5. Jason says:

    Really gives a great perspective from the parents point of view. I can think of occasions that I have pushed for a certain AAC program or device, but I only get to see how it is used in the classroom and not outside of school, at home or in the community. So I agree with Chelsea that it really stresses the importance of the parents input and taking their input to heart.

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