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Looking to the Future

"Indeed, Isaiah knows that pain," said Rose. Though no one touches the device but Isaiah and his caregivers, on one occasion the Vantage broke. Though PRC shipped a replacement while it was serviced, the day waiting on transit was "agony" for him, like "having a piece of tape over your mouth with a toothache," said Rose.

He was so miserable that the family subsequently "searched every newspaper in the country" to buy a second Vantage so that Isaiah would never be without again. "The seller," notes Rose, "said they were only parting with it because the child using it could speak now and did not need it anymore." Isaiah is not there just yet, though he has very recently started to verbalize, and long-term Sarah is "absolutely optimistic that we will be able to transition from two and three button sequences to longer phrases and sentences in the print world."

Isaiah needs cuing to initiate and complete his utterance but independently accesses the device and clarifies his request.

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However, Rose still wonders. Though she's gotten over her initial reservations that the device speaking for him would prevent Isaiah from wanting to talk, she's not sure he will be a verbal communicator. If not, she can still be content. "When we chose the Vantage for Isaiah, we were looking as far ahead as he could go. If he has to deliver a lecture in college, this could do it for him, whereas if you're in a crowded room using signs, people are going to miss that," she said. "Even if he never has a voice of his own, this can do that for him.

In fact, that's what we say when we see him without it: 'Isaiah, where's your voice?'"