Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Max's voice, Part II...

Max has been getting to know his newest speech therapist, Kyle.  He had some anxiety leading up to their first visit. He is so close to Robby and Brittany before him, that I have been a bit anxious myself about how he was going to do with someone new.  But in true Max fashion, he's taking it all in stride and making sure we all go at his pace.

Today, Kyle asked Max if he would answer a couple of questions he had about the rights of people who use talkers like he does.  He's picked up on Max's interest in social justice issues and wanted to make it even more personal to him. Max answered, yes, he would tell him what he thinks.

Kyle told him about a mom who said in her child's IEP meeting that her child should have someone with them all the time who can help translate or navigate their talker.  Just like a child who uses sign language or needs a translator, students who use communication devices should have someone who understands their way of communicating too. Then he asked Max what he thought about that, should they have someone with them to help?

(He was singing the praises of opera before he started answering questions, which explains the front of his text.)

His answer was, "yes because not every one know talker mine voice."

Kyle agreed with Max and said he thought the mom who asked this question would agree too.  Max said, and I swear I didn't prompt him..."Mother always right."

I think I'll frame it and hang it up. 

Kyle then asked him what he thinks about the idea of limiting the amount of words in someone's talker, or taking their talker away if they are talking too much during class. He said, is that a good idea? 

Max got fired up and started clicking as fast as he could to answer.

Nope, mine voice can not make gone away.
He said, I have a question. Can I ask you something? How world does not know we are able to talk? Just different from the way their used to."

"Mine voice important thing to use. People will know what I have to say. Able to change the world.  I fix it will try."

Kyle told him he agreed, and that people like himself and Robby and Brittany and Brandi-Lynn are all trying to educate everyone that the people they work with have so much to say, we just have to learn their language.  And by Max using his talker to share his voice he is fixing it.  Max was pleased with that answer and gave Kyle a big smile.

He then said,  "Brandi-Lynn help mine life.  She know I could talk. She give me that. Important for her to know that.  People in her mind able to do it all."

Brandi-Lynn was the first speech therapist who worked with Max to communicate.  In those early days she designed the language on Max's talker that is so unique to him.  She gave him a voice and a way to express it.  As her clinic, Inspiring Talkers, grew Max has learned from six other therapists...but he remembers who believed in him first and he wanted her to know he remembers. It left me speechless and in tears.  

It was about 7 years ago that he started on this "language", and he's come so far.  I'm so grateful he has such an incredible team of therapists who have worked with him through the years who have believed in his ability to communicate, and nurtured his voice into what it is today. 

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