My non-verbal patient with Down Syndrome (10 years old) came to me in order to better communicate with the use of an assistive technology device (The Vantage Lite). Keeping this patient motivated was a challenge! He never wanted to participate in the activities I had planned and got easily frustrated if he wasn’t in control at all times. Using Diane and the dogs, Prairie and Ovelle, has made a 100% change in this patient. With the dogs present (he still won’t work well when they aren’t there), he is now able to make requests using his device for the dogs to eat, drink, do tricks and play doctor (just to name a few activities we do). He has learned to combine multiple symbols on the device to say “Big Prairie and Ovelle eat carrot, please.” “Big Prairie and Ovelle sleep, please.” “Big Prairie and Ovelle wake up!” And, “Big Prairie and Ovelle get ball, please.” The dogs were such a hit (especially Prairie) that the family’s Christmas present this year was a female yellow lab who was affectionately named “Little Prairie” by the family. This patient is now doing so well that as of January 11, 2011, he has been discharged from speech and language therapy. Thank you for making a difference Prairie and Ovelle! It wouldn’t have been possible with out you!
– Amber Gresham, Speech/Language Pathologist