I have mentioned before that Emily had an evaluation for a communication device. We decided to go with the ECO2. Well, our primary insurance has approved the device, but our secondary insurance is giving us some issues. So we aren't sure how long it will take to clear up the issues and get the device. In the meantime, I am so thankful that Emily gets to use a device during her therapeutic preschool program at Children's.
She has done really well with the device and gets very excited when it is her turn to use it. The kids went trick or treating at Halloween and she used the device to say "Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, Give me something good to eat". She did it in the correct order and with perfect timing every time. I am guessing that the doctors and nurses laughed whenever she did it and that is all the encouragement she needed.
For Christmas, all the kids got to use the device to write letters to Santa. Here is Emily's:
We don't actually "do" Santa in our house. We have always thought it was more important to teach Emily about the real meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus). We just didn't want her to be completely focused on getting gifts (she does get gifts, but we have always kept it low key). We do not think Santa is evil or anything, we just didn't feel like it fit in with the things we are trying to teach Emily about the holiday. Since Santa would be a topic that came up a lot at school and therapy, we have talked about it with her, but haven't made a big deal out of it. We have just made sure that our focus at home is on Jesus' birthday.
The teacher told me that Emily was very quick about putting her letter together (the kids were given options for each part of the letter so they had to make choices). Guess she knew exactly what she wanted to say. Emily is the only girl in her class and she was the only one to say that she was good. All the boys said they were bad boys in their letters, but still made a list of gifts that they wanted. I could not help but laugh about this. I am not surprised that Emily thinks she is a good girl. She does think pretty highly of herself! I have no idea why the boys all said they were bad - maybe they thought it was funny.
For the list of gifts, I was really surprised by one of the options she chose. Emily loves books and loves watching DVD's so I was not surprised by those items on the list. A toy is not very surprising either, but I was shocked that it said a pet. I am not sure what she has in mind. We may need to get her a fish. I would love to get a dog, but since she is allergic, that limits our options considerably. Mike isn't thrilled about getting any of the breeds that are considered hypoallergenic because they are not "manly". We are going to keep working on him. I cannot imagine how excited she must have been to have the opportunity to express herself. For the past 4 years, she has received gifts that we think she would like or need. I bet she was thrilled to say "this is what I want!".
Emily was also able to use the communication device to do some shopping for us. They set up a Santa Shop and the kids were able to go through and pick out something for each parent. I was told that Emily's eyes were as big as saucers when she went into the "shop". She was so excited to see everything - guess my girl likes shopping! The therapists gave Emily 3 options for each of us and allowed her to choose by selecting "I do not want" or "I want" on the communication device. The teacher told me that Emily was very quick and determined as she made her choices. I could not wait to see what she picked for us. I was very curious to see what she thought we would like.
Yesterday we picked up our gifts:
Both items were in one bag so Mike and I were joking about which gift was which. I have no doubt that the candy is for Mike. He is the one that usually lets her taste sweet stuff like ice cream, cool whip/whipped cream, pudding, etc. And the picture frame for me makes perfect sense since I am always taking her picture. The fact that she was able to make these choices for us, makes the gift so much more meaningful! It really didn't matter what she picked for me - I am just excited that she has the opportunity to use this wonderful device and let her voice be heard.
The therapeutic preschool program at Children's is AMAZING! I am so thankful that Emily gets to participate. She learns so much! She is stretched and challenged and has grown tremendously. I am frustrated with our insurance situation because I am anxious for Emily to have her own device, but I am so grateful that she gets to continue to practice while we are waiting. What a blessing it will be for Emily to finally get her own device so she can speak her mind. She is a strong opinionated girl and I have no doubt she has some things to share with us!