Utter Autism

January 27, 2008

Shopping Glee

Stores are often hit or miss with Adrian.  You never know if he’s going to be calm or crazy.  In the past we’d try to cover as many bases as possible to tip the scales in our favor.  We’d make sure he was well fed, not too hot, had his wheelchair, music player, headphones, etc.   Now we’ve added his Dynavox to the list of things we should have before going in a store.

I recently attempted an afterschool stop at the grocery store to pick up a few items.  I wasn’t sure how he’d react since he’s usually ready to get home and relax after spending the day out at school.  Our grocery store has a manual wheelchair with a basket on the front.  I decided that would give us a good place to put his Dynavox as well as give him that confined spacial sense he seems to appreciate in stores where there is a lot of stimulus. 

He was great.  As we went through the aisles, he pointed out products he wanted.  I encouraged him to use his Dynavox to request specific items and we picked up a few of the things he wanted here and there.  He seemed to really enjoy being a participant in our grocery shopping rather than just a passenger.

When we finally made it to the last aisle, I asked Adrian if we’d forgotten anything.  He shocked me by going back into his device and telling me we’d forgotten to pick up bananas.  I guess I need to bring my shopping buddy with me more often!

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January 25, 2008

Who’s Speechless Now?

Last week I got a call from Adrian’s school. They said that Dynavox had heard about our difficulties with the battery life of our Dynavox V and that they wanted to help us figure out a way to make the situation better.

This morning I went in to meet with members of the speech department and a consultant from Upstate Communication Resource, our regional Dynavox representative. She brought with her several products from Dynavox which they thought would help ensure Adrian’s device would have sufficient power throughout the day.

I must admit I’m still not over the shock of how the Dynavox company has sought to improve our situation. I’m grateful to Dynavox and Upstate Communication Resource for their help.  Their efforts to keep Adrian’s voice going strong have left me speechless.

January 14, 2008

Adrian Unplugged

The Dynavox V battery can just barely make it through most school days.  By the time we get there to pick him up, it’s finished. I began sending the plug in every day and asked the staff to find time to charge it a bit while in school so that we can have it available on the commute home. 

It’s been hit or miss.  I understand that the school day is busy and it takes time and effort to retrieve the plug from the bag and find a convenient time to plug it in.  But more than once we’ve had to abort after school errands or had a rough ride home because Adrian’s voice has run out of juice.  Adrian makes it clear he finds this frustrating by putting my hand on the machine, shaking it or yelling about it.  Who can blame him? 

Today we attempted an after school visit to the dentist.  But before we’d even arrived, the power ran out on his Dynavox.  He let me know it was off by yelling and shaking it.  Needless to say, the dental appointment never happened.  Adrian’s frustration level quickly escalated and I was helpless to stop it.  I sat in the car outside the office holding the dead device thinking, “All we need is some power!  I could fix all this if I just had some power!” 

Not so long ago we didn’t have the device.  Adrian had no voice.  Now to be without it, for even a short time is simply torture for both of us.  Amazing how quickly things change.

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