Thursday, 19 February 2009

New AAC device - Tech/Talk

Ashley new talking device... The Tech/Talk

We quickly determined the SuperTalker wasn't going to work for Ashley as she didn't have enough pressure to activate the buttons. Our CDA suggested we try the Tech/Talk Communication Device by AMDi. Ashley just needs to touch the buttons and they speak.very little pressure is needed it's great for her. Right now she is just using it tell mommy when she wants a new toy or to change activities . We also use it for reading books she has buttons which read "turn the page" or "Read it to me" we wanted the buttons to have no fail messages. I leave the Tech/Talk beside her when she plays and she is very please when i come over and bring her new toys on request or read her stories. I think it's going well I'm trying to create a new panel of options for other activites such as colouring, sit'spin, walk in the walker or ride my bike.

This device cost $440 - $1000 US depending on how many panels we want to preprogram. It's really not all the fancy for that price. My ipod touch does so much more and is only $200. The Canadian government will fund 75% of the device but they will only fund one speech device every 5 years so she will need to use this until she is 8 years old. Some parents purchase these lower end devices themselves in the hopes their child will need a more sophisticated device in the next few years and you would want to access the funding for a more expensive device. Not really sure what approach we should take.

I would love a device for Ashley one way or the other.

I'd love something like the Dynavox m3 or theSpringboard Lite by PRC. These are really pricy devices $2,000 to $8,000 and up for the super fancy type the gov't doesn't fund these in canada unless the kids are closer to 7 or 8 and they have to demonstrate they are very good at low tech devices before they want to spend money on these kids. Another pet peeve of mine.

I think younger kids should be given a chance with the best technology to express their emotions, feelings, wants and thoughts in order to maximize relationships with family and friends from as early an age as possible. I'd would love to know what my Ashley is thinking ever day!!!


CC said...

I use the Techtalk 32 with one student. But it is an older device and needs more pressure (and sometimes that hinders him). One great thing is that he bangs that thing around like no ones business (and drops it on the floor daily) and it still works! Hurray!! This kiddo is cognitively able to use a much more sophisticated (and expensive) device, but he would probably break it within a day.

My problem with these devices, of course, is the very limited vocabulary. But for some kids, that is totally appropriate.

When she is school age, are the schools in Canada required to meet her AAC needs as well? Because that might be another way to get a high end AAC device (if appropriate) before she turns 8. That said, MOST of my students are not appropriate for high tech devices. I only have one student using a Springboard right now (on a trial basis) and she is doing GREAT! But I have 2 others on low tech. and the entire class uses the Go Talk 9 during circle time.

Sherry C said...

Hi CC,

Thanks so much for your feedback and support it's so helpful. Sounds like you have a great class boy would I like to watch your kids in action. I do feel like the Tech/Talk is a good choice for Ashley for the time being. The school system doesn't have to fund medical equipment in canada it's covered under Assistive Device Program it's part of our national health care plan. For the most part it's great Ashley spent many many months in the hospital and I've never seen a bill, they cover her nurse care at home who still comes however it's has some limitations. However only one AAC device every 5 years.. ugh even Ashley SLP and CDA told me on friday they feel anxious advising little ones because they only see preschool kids and they have the same worry that the child would benefit from something much more dynamic within the 5 years and be stuck without gov't funding.

I can't help but dream big for Ashley and see her growing and learning more all the time. But if she does out grow the Tech/Talk we will just have to look into private funding at that point in time.. and hopefully that will be the case. Or perhaps she will surprise us all and start to babble and talk another dream i still have hope for.

newportpdp said...

Thanks so much for writing about your and Ashley's experiences with these devices. I know that augmentative communication is probably in Kaia's future and it is so helpful to read another family's experiences with certain devices; what is working and what isn't. I find it incredibly helpful and interesting to read the details of how certain things are working for you and how you are going about finding access to them. Thank you for sharing this info!