Does anyone have experience with AT in the preschool setting? My daughter is 3 1/2 and in preschool twice a week. She has a genetic disorder called cri-du-chat or 5p-, but is doing way better than we had ever imagined. Her main issue now is speech. She has two different speech therapists and both agree that she would be a good candidate for AT. She has great receptive abilities and catches on to things quickly. I'm not sure, though, how to get everyone communicating about what she needs and how she will get it. One therapist is through DART (the continuation of early intervention in my area) and the other is private, through the Children's Institute. Her preschool is affilitated with The Early Learning Institute, but is no longer a DART school. I guess a lot of this will be wait and see what her therapists can work out. I'm wondering, though, if anyone has dealt with something similar?
As an SLP and Program Director at TELI, I would agree that your daughter could benefit from Assistive Technology to enhance her understanding of language, decrease whatever frustrations she may be feeling with limited communication and most importantly, increase her opportunities to be a successful communicator! To me, it's all about COMMUNICATING. Verbal speech is one form of communication and sometimes there may need to be another form used until the verbal speech progresses. Here at TELI we use a variety of AT devices in our Infant/Toddler program for those same reasons.
You are correct in that your two therapists should talk with each other and with you about the type of AT they would feel would most benefit your child. There's a lot out there (low tech and high tech options, pictures, switches, sign language, verbal output devices, etc) and you don't want your child frustrated because she's being pulled in too many different directions.
I've never worked with kids younger than kindergarten, but it's common enough for kids to use AT there, so I'm guessing preschool isn't all that different in terms of environment/structures/routines. And like the other poster said, there's lots of options, so something for everyone. With some planning between the speech path and the preschool employees, you shouldn't have much trouble integrating AT into her normal school routines once you decide what you want to use.
Thank you for the replies. RIght now I'm in a waiting game while both therapist find the appropriate forms for me to fill out to allow them to speak to each other and to the school about AT. The private therapist has tried Springboard with her and she has done well with it. She thinks that a separate device would be better than an app on the iPad. The other therapist has an app on the iPad that she brings to the house and is trying to get the hang of it and customize it for my daughter. Hopefully the two of them can agree on something when they finally talk. Or else, whatever the school has will limit what we can do and we'll go from there.
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