We had our meeting yesterday with the DynaVox rep. It went really well! At first Jed was having a hard time transitioning. Usually when we arrive at speech therapy his therapist is waiting for him. That means we go right from the door into the therapy room. Yesterday we needed to get a few duckies settled first, so Jed was able to play with the toys they have in the waiting room. He was so excited to do so! But he was equally not excited to have to go to the therapy room. Ha! Not to mention when we got in the room he was faced with two strangers. Jed's regular therapist was sick. So that just added to the transition problem. But the rep was great, he engaged Jed in a fun little game on the DynaVox. There was a cartoon of a house on fire on the left hand of the screen and a fire truck on the right hand. There were three buttons, one to make the fire truck move, one to make the siren sound, and another to play the game again. Jed caught on quickly, like in three seconds :-)
I have to say I am a bit surprised at how large the device is. Jed will not be able to carry it around with him. But is seems that there are drawbacks to all of the devices we have seen. That being said, the pros outweigh the cons. Currently we have a Go Talk 20. He has quickly outgrown that device. Not to mention that he couldn't exchange the pages, and there are only five pages available at one time. If you need another page you need to record over one of the pages that are programed into the device. Not to mention we do not have Boardmaker to make up our own pages, and we would have to rely on bringing a list to the speech therapist to make up for us. Not exactly convenient. To put this into reality let us suppose that we are all sitting around the table for dinner. This is the time we all talk about our day, what is on our agenda for tomorrow and the like. We might have a dinner page in the Go Talk for Jed at that time. That would help him with food choices, and general dinner needs. But suppose we went to the park that day and he wanted to talk about it. We would need a park page. Or maybe we had gone to the library and then to the park afterwards....we would need a library page as well. Again he can't switch the pages himself. Talk about frustrating. With the DynaVox, anything he wants to say will be at his fingertips!
At first he will have very limited buttons available as he learns the ins and outs of the system. Then we add more (and we can do this at anytime) as he gains mastery of the level he is at. The machine comes with Boardmaker symbols (or the like) and has the word/s below the picture. The great thing is that we can change the word to one that we normally use. While we were trying the device one of the words was "yeah"--meaning yes. But we want him to say 'yes' as that is a word we are working on with him in his speech. The rep changed it right then and there in a matter of seconds so that the button now says 'yes'. The great thing about the machine is that Jedidiah kept trying to say the words after he pushed the buttons!! This is exactly what I was hoping would happen. For some reason he is sometimes hesitant about trying to say a word if we ask him to. He is getting better about it, but we still have to ask him. No one was telling him to say the words on the screen, yet he was doing just that all on his own. We were there for a full hour and Jed was engaged with the device that whole time! The speech therapist was amazed at his attention span. She was also amazed at his ability to find the symbols we asked him to and his fine motor skills at selecting the appropriate button.
We are very, very excited about this device!! Our only trouble now will be trying to get insurance to pay for it. It's one heck of an expensive device...well over $7,000!! We were told that we should expect for insurance to deny us at first. The reason being that the device has computer/Internet capabilities. Insurance won't pay for computers. UGH! Never mind we have no intention or interest in making it one. So we will have to appeal their decision. We are hoping it will not get to that. Generally they will let it through at that point, but the rep said there have been some cases that they've taken to court. The good news is that DynaVox has won all of those cases. The bad news is that it takes a LOT of time. As it is if everything goes well we are looking at a three month wait for the device. This is going to be a long wait, especially knowing how beneficial this device is going to be.
Off to try and get some work done. Believe it or not some of us are sick!!! I really wish that was a joke. I know it takes a diet change months before it makes huge differences in your body. It has already made noticeable changes as it is, but I think it will be a while before our immune systems get back on track.