I have a 3 year old with severe CP - he has very little control of his body. I feel like he's a bit "locked in" as I haven't been able to figure out how to teach him communication methods. Do you have any advice for ways of teaching him to communicate? How did you learn to communicate when you were younger? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
When I waas younger, my main communication method was "yes" and "no". For me that was a nod for yes and a head shake for no. But yes and no can be anything. Lifting one arm or the other, blinking, eye pointing, etc. You'd me surprised how much yes and no can tell someone. When he gets yes and no down, you can move on to choices. Like, "do you want apple juice, orange juice, or milk" and then you go through each one and wait for which one he signals. Hope this helps.
My question may not have an answer...like probably a lot of people who don't personally know someone with a disability, I tend to "react" that people with a speech impediment aren't as bright. Horribly wrong, I know, and embarrassing to admit, but nevertheless true. What cues can I look for when I can't communicate with someone to make sure that we're understanding each other?
Some cues that you are being understood are if the person makes eye contact (although this may not be possible). And if the person looks interested (smiling, nodding, etc) rather than just staring into space. If the person is speaking but you don't understand them you can absolutely say "I'm sorry, please repeat that." If you still can't understand them (that's ok) you can use yes and no questions. Yes, you're right, you can't make any assumptions about those with speech impediments. Just listen to the content of what they are saying (if possible).
How often do you find yourself changing your mind about the way you phrase things as a result of inaccurate guesses by your assistants? If it happens a lot, does it frustrate you, or do you just roll with it? Do you pick assistants who have a similar writing style to your own? Or do you make sure that every time they guess inaccurately they back up and try again until they guess the right word? ? Also, in your first post, you demonstrated your board. Do you use the laser pointer, or was that just for the demo on the blog? How does that work?
This depends entirely on the situation. For example, if I wanted to say to my aide "please put the pen back" and my aide guessed it "please put the pen away" I don't bother to correct them. But if I'm writing or talking to someone else about something (something more important than putting a pen away) then I correct them to tell it in my own words. For example, just writing this paragraph, my aide guessed a couple of times wrong, and I was like...no no no. So I only let people put words in my mouth when its not important. I do use the laser pointer to communicate on a regular basis. I have good head control so I Velcroed a laser pointer to a hat. Like in the video, I dwell on a letter until the person says the letter I'm pointing to. If they say the wrong letter (I'm sometimes sloppy and point to the space between the letters), I point to "no" and they try again. Sounds complicated but its really easy.