Well it looks like we are going with the Tech/Talk after all. Maria’s speech therapist agrees even though many of the reasons they are against the VMax are just not valid. For example they say that since the VMax is more complicated than if the buttons are programmed to do complex things like change the menu it will confuse Maria. Yeah so don’t program the buttons to do that – duh! There were a handful of valid objections such as how heavy it is and the glare off the screen, but I feel the benefits greatly outweigh the problems. In hindsight it’s obvious the augcom people weren’t actually listening to us. They came and evaluated Maria and made their decision without our input making any impact. Even after they had decided and we clearly didn’t agree they tried to convince us they were right rather than taking our experience with Maria into account.
The Tech/Talk is a good device and will help her but it’s not as versatile as the VMax. The VMax can be made simple but the Tech/Talk can’t be made complex so it seems silly to go for the simple device when everyone agrees she will be ready for the VMax in a year or two. Mostly I’m annoyed because I feel like we are being steamrollered into this without consideration of our 4 1/2 years of experience with Maria, her sensory deficits and her ability to communicate. Heck, even the VMax rep wasn’t pushing the VMax.
Maria continues to show more interest in crawling. I’ve seen her get on elbows and knees and rock back and forth, a classic sign of a kid ready to crawl. She pulls herself along the rug or rolls over to get to things. The best thing we can do is leave her alone rather than rushing over to help her. She’s figuring it out. Her interest in crawling makes us feel better about the fact she still isn’t standing or walking much. That’s normal for kids with multiple disabilities. They progress in one area then fall back while another area improves.
In that vein we’ve been talking about how she’s reverted to bottle drinking. None of us have tried the straw since before Thanksgiving because of the respiratory problems she’s been having and now we’ve all just gotten lazy about it. So we’ve gone back to offering her the straw at least once a day and preferably every time she gets milk. For the first couple of days she would just suck it up and spit it out – really annoying. However lately she seems to be starting to get it again.
Her audiology exam went really well. They rated her at about 30 decibels and normal conversation is at 20 so that qualifies as mild hearing loss which is much better than the severe to profound they were saying before. She was also really tired since it was 4 pm and she hadn’t napped all day, just dozed a little, so we were afraid she was going to do really poorly. The audiologist suggested using an FM device in school. The teacher gets a little wireless microphone that clips to her shirt and she speaks as normal. The kid usually has headphones but that wouldn’t work for Maria so she’d use a little speaker placed nearby. It amplifies the teacher’s voice a little and the purpose is partially to improve her ability to hear it but also to focus her attention on the important sound.
She has no big appointments for the next couple of weeks so things can settle back to routine for a while.