Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mail call

Isn’t it nice when you go to the mailbox and find something other than a bill or an ad? Well, I received a letter yesterday. A letter. It was from Maggie.

You might wonder how she did that. I have to give all credit to the school and to Maggie’s intelligence and drive. Maggie’s school program is amazing. She is in an AAC class. That stands for Assistive and Augmentative Communication. The technology is designed for people of all abilities to communicate. Even those with severe motor impairment like Maggie and her classmates can access the technology and “speak” through communication devices or write letters and school reports through specialized computer programs. Access is different for every person. Maggie uses a two-switch method. It basically acts like a computer mouse. One switch moves the cursor through the various choices and once she is where she wants to be she hits the other switch to select. Because we are so highly intelligent, we refer to these as her “mover” and her “chooser.” Maggie can really maneuver those things.

So, the program is in place and Maggie just makes the appropriate selections and then hits “print”. As part of her school day, she practices driving to the mailbox in her power chair. She has written letters to her brothers and always starts those the same way: “I think you are mean.” (She is the annoying little sister.) There have been letters to Dad in her backpack and I think she mailed one to grandma before. However, this was a first for me.

It is short, so I am going to give you the whole thing:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear Mom,

I think you are beautiful. I really really love you a lot.

Today at school, I worked very hard, but also had lots of fun. I learned about manners. Please and thank you, please and thank you, blah blah blah!

Tonight, I hope that I can slam the refrigerator door open and shut.

Your Beloved and Only Daughter,
Maggie (name written in pink pen with assistance from teacher Joe)

Maggie does love to slam the refrigerator door open and shut. That’s what she does when she “cooks.” My favorite part is definitely the blah, blah blah. She is not big on manners.

I couldn’t even tell you what else came in yesterday’s mail.

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