Speech: Using MyTalk as today’s AAC Device

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    Michelle Gillespie

     I would HIGHLY recommend this app to anyone having a non-verbal child. We have twins w/autism. Any recommendations on getting them use to using the app on an ipod?

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    Mytalk Support

    Michelle:  By minutes I missed adding this to our product update mailing.  I'm hoping that as a new member you will also get the mailing that went out tonight.  If yes, at the bottom see the comments from April 'our most experienced......'.   Click on that link and read Aprils comments.  Add a comment to the bottom telling April of your situation and asking if she has any 'getting started' suggestions. 

    If you look at our facebook page you'll see April out there and see that she has a very busy life.  But I'm betting that she can give you some ideas.  I can then look through our database to get the word to some other autism supporters, but I need to wait a few days for that because I don't want people to consider us spammers. 

    Let's stay connected because I want you to get a head start using the experience of our autism community members.

     

    Bick

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    Michelle Gillespie

    Hi there, I have 6.5 year old twins w/autism. I am trying to teach them how to use the "My Talk Tools" app on an ipod to communicate. Any suggestions? I am going it alone until our school district sets up an autism classroom:) Thanks for any input.

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    Mytalk Support

    Hi Michelle:  Sorry that nobody has responded.  This weekend I'll send a note out to our Autism community.  As mentioned I had just sent a note minutes before your comment appeared.  We'll keep you posted.

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    April

    Thanks Bick for your comments about me :)  I am a very busy person and I have been meaning to check out MyTalk forums more but haven't had time.

    Michelle, sorry that there hasn't been any response yet. The student that we use MyTalk with is a non-verbal 7.5 year old with Autism. He transitioned well to MyTalk from PECS (picture exchange communication system). He currently mainly uses MyTalk for his schedule and to ask for foods at lunch, he will use it to ask for computer time. This is probably the only thing he will independently ask for (his day is so structured at this point that he pretty much only has one opportunity to ask for something and he always asks for computer). With him, it started with Hand-over-hand to getting him to use it, even with his schedule and asking for foods at lunch. Now, he just knows he needs to ask for the items before he will get them. If they have a favorite food or something, I would start with them having to ask for the item using MyTalk, use hand-over-hand if needed. If they "ask" for it (even with your help) then they get the object. I have noticed food seems to be the best reinforcer for many students. You could just use it during meal time and have them ask for the items that they would like to eat. It's really too bad that you don't have school support yet.

    As of now, he is not using the iPod at home. I don't think he is currently using anything at home to help close the communication gap. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns that you might have. I can TRY to give you suggestions.

    Hope this helps a little :)

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    Mytalk Support

    Thanks April!  If I make mistakes below, correct me. 

    Michelle, take this as coming from a totally untrained perspective, but I think there is real value is managing expectations and being realistic.  My son is not autistic so it's hard for me to comment knowledgeably on your situation.  We do great with ordering food and it seems like it is because that is the usage he as become accustomed to. After gaining engagement with images that were relevant to him, our first exchange with the outside world was through ordering at fast food restaurants.  Ordering food is now easy, and the norm using MyTalk.  But now we need to expand usage.

    When I had him take a picture of his bowling shoes (backs facing the camera to show the size as a visual compliment to my voice) all seemed well until the next week when it came time for him to order his shoes.  He refused, and got mad at my insistence.  So I took the phone and ordered for him.  He went from mad to accepting, seeing that it worked. 

    I think it's a combination of keeping them interested and engaged, while introducing new venues at whatever pace works.  But don't stop introducing new opportunities for fear that they might relate usage to a single situation. 

    Remember though, just a dad, so if April or others follow with contradictory comments, go with their rec's.

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    April

    I agree with Bick. Keeping them engaged and interested is important. We find (esp. for children with Autism) that consistently is very important. Once you start using it, keep on doing it! Once they start a school program, I would suggest getting the school on board to use it as well. We find using My Talk in a school setting is very beneficial for the student and the staff.  Keep us posted on the progress of your childre. I know how busy life can be though and its often difficult to have time for ourselves. I too have 6.5 year old twins and 2 younger children and work full time so I know how life can get hectic :)

     

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    Mytalk Support

    Michelle: Wondering if April and my suggestions were helpful getting you started?  It's all about the content.

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