Being able to communicate in class has opened up opportunities for friendships. In class, her friends model with her, and love to play BINGO or Go Fish. Not only do classmates get to speak like Niveyah, they can also help find the right words when adults aren’t there. Her best friend Maddie has even learned how to program herself! The two friends have added buttons to discuss Shopkins and other favorites.
Of course, Niveyah is very much a nine year old, and also delights in the sound effects added to some buttons. Common kid complaints like "it's not fair!", "mooooom", "shut up", and "I hate you" are also there. Maya knows the words are part of typical development and provide opportunity to learn.
AAC has not only brought new friendships, it has also helped Niveyah to show her personality. She no longer has to sit on the sidelines of decisions or conversations and feel frustrated. “When people witness her commentary, inquiries or banter they're shocked! It makes a huge difference to how she's perceived” notes Maya.
The greatest gift
Maya reflects on Niveyah's AAC journey:
“This will be one of the biggest gifts you can ever give your child. The ability to make needs known and connect with others through words is fundamental to human life. For those of us who have children who are born with a reduced ability to do this, there is no greater gift we can give them than the gift of communication”.
Nine-year-old Niveyah lives in Warwick, Rhodes Island with her parents Maya and Steve and her sister Sophie. She has started third grade, where she is an active member of her class. Not only is AAC vital to her school work, it plays an important role in having fun too!
Maya first discovered Proloquo2Go five years ago. She was searching for a tool to allow Niveyah to share her world with those around her. “Niveyah’s constant frustration, tantrums and demand for attention reduced dramatically within days of introducing Proloquo2Go” Maya remembers.
One-to-one teaching assistant Beth plays an invaluable role in Niveyah's success. She jumped right in, learning how to program and watching e-learning videos. Almost four years later, Beth advises: “I would tell other educators not to be hesitant about using AAC. There are so many aspects of the school day where a student can be successful using an AAC device or program”.
Collaboration is key to make sure Niveyah is never without her iPad. Beth, teachers, and therapists all worked together to give her the best start. Niveyah is at the center, and selects her own voices and helps choose where new words should go. This ownership of her communication is important to her, as well as Maya and Beth.
Niveyah uses Proloquo2Go to read aloud in class, answer questions and do homework. Now that her reading and spelling skills have improved, Niveyah also uses Proloquo4Text.