After a year of waiting, Abby finally has her Eco2! We are all so excited. We were able to set it up last weekend with a mount that we are borrowing (until we get one of our own). Abby has spent a lot of time exploring and having fun with it. It has been a long time since she had the trial, so she's relearning where everything is on the device and figuring it out, which is going to be an ongoing process. She's learning a new language using symbols and accession them with her eye gaze. It's not simple, but she's smart and very motivated. We know she can do it!
We're already learning a few new things about her.
1. She's a bit of a hypochondriac. "I don't feel well" and "I am not feeling well" are two of her favorite phrases, even when she is smiling and laughing. Sometimes, it is followed by "that is silly", so I think she's just being funny. The symbol is a little green face, which is pretty silly. I can see why she keeps looking at it:) Funny girl.
2. She wants a drink ALL the time. She is getting her point across. "I feel thirsty", "I would like some juice", "I need a drink"
3. It takes even longer for her to answer a question than I thought. When she asks for something that I'm not sure she intended to say, I sometimes ask her if she meant to request it. She might say that she needs to use the bathroom right after she just went. It's really easy to say something on the device unintentionally, so I might ask her if she does need to use the restroom. It is amazing how long it takes for her to answer. She will look at yes and no, dwelling on each of them but not selecting them, looks away from the device completely, all before selecting her answer. Darn apraxia. I don't make a habit of asking her lots of questions for this reason-I don't want to stress her out. Sometimes she won't even answer me at all, which is fine. I'm learning so much about her by just listening to what she wants to say.
4. She tells me "I like to go shopping" a lot. This was news to me, but good to know. I think we should do a little shopping this weekend to celebrate her passion.
And then there are those things that we already knew, but it's awesome that she can show us in a whole new way!
1. She likes the color pink, likes to go to school, and is five years old. She likes to tell me about it a lot.
2. She's funny. Forever, I have been telling Abby to use her eyes to show me what she wants. When she eats, she looks at the item that she wants. So naturally, even with her computer, she still looks at the snack rather than the computer. I don't want her to lose that, but I still model how she could request more food/drink with her talker. Earlier today, she looked so closely at her juice box that she nearly knocked it over with her nose, then looked at the computer, then gives me a look like "I don't know how much more clear I could be right now". Of course she looks at me over the top of her glasses, which is hilarious anyway. She cracks me up.
I am so happy for her. She lit up today when we brought it to school today for the first time. They were just as excited, which also makes me happy. I can't even tell you how great it was to leave her classroom with her talking to her teacher. She was asking for a drink of water. She was thirsty....and she could tell us!! Amazing.
I found this news story to be so motivating. This little girl with Rett Syndrome is using her eye gaze device to help sell Girl Scout cookies with the rest of her Troop. How cool is that? This is going to open lots of doors for miss Abby!