Maggie’s communication skills are improving every day. She tends to plateau and then jump forward with her abilities to maneuver around her communication device. Right now, she is definitely jumping forward. About a year ago she would say, “Mom, cook please” which I eventually came to understand meant she wanted to go into the kitchen. Now, in the same amount of time she gets the device to say, “Mom, I want to go in the kitchen please.” (Ok, the “please” is not always there). It is really quite amazing.
Communication is a powerful tool. If she can continue on this trajectory, she will be much more included in the world. People want to know about her and her dynavox (communication device). If she can tell them herself, it will open the door to continuing the social interaction. Of course, one must also learn to control HOW they communicate – even those using an adapted device like Maggie. Sometimes you cannot just say the first thing that pops into your head as Maggie did last night. It was in a conversation with her nurse, Fely.
When Maggie’s nurse is here, Maggie is generally in her room. There is so much to do and it takes so long that she just hangs out in there. Maggie is either in her bed or in her chair. Steve and I go in and out of her room to help the nurse or converse with Maggie or both.
Last night the nurse, Fely, was finishing her work. Fely is a very professional nurse and she usually time things so that she finishes her work just as the shift ends. During the summer, her shift is over at 9PM so Maggie is still awake and ready for action when she goes. Maggie comes out into the living room with Steve and me and we hang out together until the night nurse arrives at 11:00PM. Due to some changes in the schedule, Fely finished about 40 minutes early last night and sat down to do her charting.
Maggie would have none of this. She can see us in the living room and there is no reason for her not to be in there with us. However, the glass door was closed so we were unaware this was happening
Maggie said on her talker, “Fely, I want to go in the living room.” Fely said, “No Maggie it is too early.” (Note, Fely does not have to keep her back there but she too is a creature of habit). Maggie (again) “Fely, I want to go in the living room.” Fely, “no Maggie I will finish my charting and bring you to the living room at 9:00 when I go home.”
Pause. Maggie thinks about this development and then starts clicking away making a new sentence.
“Fely, go home”
Yup. Communication is getting better all the time. Maggie knows what to say to get what she wants. Now we need to work on manners.