G is a teenager that attends a school that I visit weekly for AAC consultations. He has a history of AAC device abandonment and a mother who gave up on AAC a long time ago due to a medical professional telling her that she was wasting her time.
G is autistic and is non speaking, yet his eyes would light up every time I entered his classroom where he would lead me to the wall mounted core word board to say something. One day, I took my PODD book along when I joined him at his usual Occupational Therapy session and modelled along with his therapist. G enjoyed the session very much, he loved pointing to different symbols to get a response from me. When the session was over and G had returned to his class, I left my PODD book in the therapy office with the intent of joining another session with G before getting him a book of his own to use at school.
Upon my arrival at the school the following week, I was unable to find the PODD book anywhere! I asked around but nobody was able to tell me what had happened to my book. When I got to G’s class, I asked his teacher if she had perhaps seen the PODD book and to my surprise she knew exactly where it was, in G’s school bag! G had decided that he needed that book and watching him walk around the school with his book and using it to accost anyone in his path fills me with so much pride!
I continue to model for G at school and hope that he will convince any sceptical adult that not only is he capable of communication, but he enjoys it!
When the correct AAC recommendation has been made, usually all that is required is perseverance, patience and plenty of modelling across different contexts. There is no need for device abandonment when we presume that any person is able to communicate!