As told by Clarey Sharum, Speech Language Pathologist at The Little Light House in Tulsa, OK
A social butterfly: that’s how I describe my 6-year-old client, Ophelia. She’s an independent, determined and spirited young girl with so much to say! Her team first introduced her to LAMP Words for Life about 3 years ago. In that time, the consistent exposure eventually led to curiosity and exploration. Today, Ophelia’s curiosity has turned into purposeful and spontaneous speech. It felt like she had that “aha” moment and took off overnight!
Ophelia used LAMP in Preschool to answer the teacher’s questions and identify pertinent vocabulary as it related to classroom activities. The device also helped Ophelia share her silly personality with friends during lunch and play times. Though she lives with Moebius Syndrome, a rare birth defect that primarily impacts the muscles that control facial expression and eye movement, LAMP helped further clarify Ophelia’s verbal speech for teachers, and equipped her to share her wants and needs.
Additionally, Ophelia battles a mild cortical/cerebral visual impairment (known as CVI), so the parts of her brain that process vision are damaged. Because of her CVI, Ophelia has learned to navigate LAMP through an established motor plan. She benefits from the device being in close proximity and the pages being displayed with a black background, but her teachers and therapists have been blown away with the ease in which Ophelia is able to navigate the pages to express her needs and wants. She has a very robust vocabulary, so she’s able to learn the motor plan for new words quickly!
Beyond knowing the words, Ophelia loves knowing her words have power. If she likes something, she will tell you she is happy or that she thinks our game is good. Otherwise, she will ask for something different. We love to give her control of choosing the activity she wants to do and freedom to talk about the things that bring her joy.
I tell parents and guardians who have children using a speech-generating device that even if the child doesn't immediately engage with a program like LAMP, they just might not be ready yet. Be patient, be consistent and don't give up! Like Ophelia, consistent exposure can lead to curiosity and exploration. Think of that consistency as laying a firm foundation for success that may happen later down the road.
For Ophelia, that success has only grown. Now she’s a Kindergartener at a new school. We worked really hard to get Ophelia her own device that could be mounted to her wheelchair, and so far, she’s doing great, participating in class activities and making new friends!