While I do wish Maggie could speak I am constantly blown away by her ever increasing ability to communicate with her dynavox. The progress on this device seems to come in steep inclines followed by a plateau and then another steep incline. Maggie is definitely on an incline now. She is using her device for more and more things. She stops and thinks about what she is going to say and how to get the message across. That is something I have yet to learn. Here are a couple of examples.
One past weekend, Maggie wanted to go out. Our plan was to head to the park, but it was 7AM and I intended to drink some coffee, read the paper and get dressed first. She kept saying “mom I go to park” and I would absent-mindedly respond, Yes Maggie after a while. She kept it up. Finally, I started listing off the things that had to happen before we could go. Well, Maggie I need to feed you and change you and then I need to get dressed.
There was a pause as she formulated her plan. Then she started. “Mom, I am hungry.” No response from me. “Mom I am hungry, mom water please.” I looked at her and she gave me a wicked grin. Ok, I know you are starving to death. As I am feeding her she says, “Mom, I am wet.” (meaning diaper). I said, now you are just lying, but I will change you as soon as I am done feeding you. She laughed and said, “Mom. Pants.” I laughed and said, “Right. I will get dressed too.” She knew what had to happen to get what she wanted and just started listing them off. We were in the park by 8AM that day.
She has developed other tricks too. The other day I turned on the television to watch something. Generally she just says, “I don’t like TV” in an attempt to get us to turn it off. This time she said something new. She does not have the verb “watch” on her dynavox (or if she does, neither she nor I know where it is). She thought for a moment and then said, “wash TV.” She found a word that SOUNDS like watch to convey her message. That is really amazing. I looked at her and said YOU are a SMARTY MARTY. She just grinned and said, “Mom I am smart.”
She is also able to let me know that there are things a teenage girl just has to do. This past Saturday she was not interested in the park at all. She told us on Friday night, “I want to go to mall tomorrow.” I was impressed that she found the word mall, because I had not heard that before. Maggie made sure the message was not lost in the new vocabulary though. As soon as I hooked up her dynavox on Saturday morning she said, “Mom I go to Mall” and then quickly added a please to the end. I had to take a picture.
I laughed and said and how are you going to get there. She pointed to me. Then she thought about it for a minute. She smiled and went to work on her talker and said “mom you are pretty.” We both started laughing. She has definitely learned how to use language to get what she wants, and in this case, flattery will get her everywhere. At least as far as the mall.