I can do more than request

H has been loving the solar system for months and is able to name the planets in order and name the dwarf planets and the milky way galaxy! He knows attributes of the planets and loves answering questions like, “Which planet is closest to the sun?” and “Tell me something about Saturn” and giggles if I say “Mars is green”. He has also been naming the colors in rainbow order recently.

I’m actually thankful that the planets and colors are out of order on his Talker so no one can say he’s just pressing the words from left to right. I wish that people wouldn’t assume that,  but they do.   
(Images are of the Talker displaying the messages  “Mercury” “Venus” “Earth” “Mars” “Jupiter” “Saturn” “Uranus” and “Red” “Orange” “Yellow” “Green” “Blue”.)

This also came into play when we decided to let him use the QWERTY keyboard in the app instead of making an ABC page in alphabetical order. Since the Fall (at age 4), he’s been able to type out the ABC’s in order on a regular keyboard faster than I can! No one can say he is just going down the line of letters when he says the alphabet because they are not in order! He’s even starting to spell small words and copy big words.

Some people doubted that a 3 year old could use such a robust communication system. Unfortunately, giving preschoolers access to an app like “Speak for Yourself” is not the norm yet. And for children that DO get access to a device, many people hold the thought that they should only be given a small handful of words to use because they “can’t handle” more than that. I disagree.

We have always given him access to lots of words and added any words he was showing interest in so that he could talk about what HE wanted to talk about. We try to teach him a wide array of interesting material, as well. Doing both of these has kept him motivated to use the Talker and has allowed him to have a real voice to talk about planets and carnivals and feelings and the weather and flowers. He makes jokes, comments on things, answers our questions, and much more. He can do more than requesting and should be given the words and presumed competent!

I’m eternally grateful for a few wonderful people in the AAC community that have helped guide us. They have encouraged us to give him access to as much vocabulary as possible and assume he can handle it and will be successful if we immerse him in using the Talker. There have been many times I’ve had to struggle against doubts and critique about whether we were doing things “right” with the Talker but H has been rocking this!

#allthewordsallthetime #teachthemeverything #SpeakingAAC #presumecompetence #icandomorethanrequest


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