To Talk or Not to Talk?

We have an exciting new piece of equipment.  It is called Proloquo2go.  Heard of it?

First, let me explain that Chloe, my 8-year-old nonverbal daughter has used AAC devices for years.  AAC  means Augmentative and Assistive Communication.  Basically, an AAC device is something that helps a person “talk.”  Some AAC devices are just paper with words or pictures that a person points to to communicate.  Even a slip of paper with a note scribbled on it could be considered AAC.  But most of what Chloe has used are electronic pieces with a voice output.  These devices are big, bulky, heavy, and expensive (easily $6,000).  And we have failed to be successful with any of them.  Is it because they are too bulky for Chloe to carry around?  Is it because she hasn’t found them useful?  Is it because it is complicated to push all the right buttons to make a simple request when signing or gesturing or just doing without is easier?  Is it because Chloe views anything electronic as “a toy?”  I think it’s a combination of all of those things.  But she still has the need for a communication device so I periodically research them on the internet.

A week or so before Christmas, I came across this blog entry at Terrible Palsy, a blog that I follow.   It really made me curious.  Here was a device that was small, affordable, lightweight, and practical.  Would it be a good fit for Chloe?

I found the Proloquo2go website and got even more excited.  There are training videos that made it look so easy and promising.  We found some youtube videos about it.  We just got more and more excited about it.

Proloquo2go is an application that you download onto your iPhone or your iPod Touch.  It has all the functionality that the big, expensive machines have.  Easy and cheap!  Sounds promising!

So a couple of days before Christmas, Paul bought an iPod Touch for $200.  That same day, Paul downloaded Proloquo2go from iTunes for $187.  We also bought a case — hot pink, of course — with external speakers and a carrying strap online for $15.  And we were in business!  For only $400 we had a working little “talker.”  Amazing.  I am so excited about it!  I am hopeful that it will be good for Chloe!

It came loaded with lots of words, vocabulary, sentences, and phrases.  I have messed with it, programmed it, and changed it, trying to make it more useful for Chloe.  It still needs some more work, but I will need to spend some time watching the training videos to figure some of it out.

I finally introduced Chloe to the talker today.  She is very interested, of course.  She loved working with it.  I’m sure it just seemed like a toy to her.  But I plan to have several more training sessions with her before setting her free with it.

At today’s training session she got frustrated that the screen wouldn’t respond to her touch every time.  I’m not sure what the deal was.  Part of the deal, perhaps, was her wet fingers that kept going into her mouth while I wasn’t looking.  Also, I think maybe the iPod requires more of a tap than a push?  Not sure, but hopefully with practice and with my tweaking it it will be easier for her.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Proloquo2go!  Here’s a video I took of our first training session:

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Kelly~ I love this!
    How cool is that? Thank you for sharing Chloe’s first training lesson on her new proloquo. It looks like such a manageable and compact unit!

    Reply

  2. Kelly and Cloe, So cool to see the video and hear your enthusiasm. You may want to cut out the plastic if you still have it on your case. Enjoy your learning process.

    Cheers, Samuel Sennott – Co-creator of Proloquo2Go

    Reply

    • Thanks so much for reading and for commenting! I feel so special to have gotten a comment from you! I’m fighting my nervous jitters while replying to you. . . 🙂 I do still have the plastic on the case — I’m concerned about Chloe’s drooling right onto the iPod. Any thoughts on that? Thanks for your input!

      Reply

  3. Chloe is doing so well for her first time with it. I agree with Samuel in that I would get rid of the plastic in the IMainGo as that is what is making it difficult with the pushing. You can get a screen protector film for the Ipod touch which will still protect the screen but not interfere with the touch of it (you can even get beautifully decorated films that will go over the whole ipod if you want to protect it more). I don’t keep the the Ipod in the IMainGo as I found it too hard to mount it on the power chair so what I use is the In Your Face to keep the Ipod stable on the chair, and a longer connecting cord to the IMainGo, which sits under his chair out of the way. Although it’s good for Moo, I think it is even better for someone who can actually read and type words. And the price – can you believe it! I am ever so thankful to Samuel.

    Reply

    • Hi, Jacqui! I, too, am grateful to Samuel! But I’m also grateful to you for introducing me to Proloquo2Go! And I’ll ask you since I’m asking everyone else: do y’all deal with drooling? And if so, has it not been a problem? I will research the other items you mention next week. Thanks for the info!

      Reply

  4. Posted by SueM on January 8, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    She is doing amazingly well for her first time! If she is doing so well in one lesson, she will be totally amazing after a few weeks.
    We took that plastic off the iMainGo speaker because it was really making it hard for my daughter to push (me too). It works much better with the plastic off.

    SueM

    Reply

    • Sue, thanks for commenting and thanks for your encouragement! Can I ask: is drooling a concern with your daughter, too, or no? That’s my main concern with taking the plastic off. Chloe has “drowned” many electronics in her 8 years! I would hate for her to drown the new iPod Touch . . . .

      Reply

      • Posted by SueM on January 9, 2010 at 10:45 AM

        My daughter doesn’t drool, but she does do things like spill milk (so far, no spilled milk). We also had the ipod out when we were in Florida, at Disney World, so were concerned about rain.

        We put one of the screen protector films on it like Jacqui mentioned. It covers the front of the ipod and once the ipod is in the iMainGo2 case, the edge of the screen protector is under the edge of the case front. Another idea, the only part of the ipod that is not sealed are the edges of the screen (which is under the edge of the iMainGo case and the round menu button near the bottom of the screen. You may be able to cut the plastic so that only that part is covered. With a screen protector, it should be pretty well protected.

        Our main problem is our daughter dropping her device. I am glad to say that the ipod in the iMainGo2 case is pretty well protected. Hers has taken a number of tumbles from the table to our wooden kitchen floor with no damage.

      • Thanks so much for your input, Sue! Yes, dropping the thing is a huge concern to me, too. Chloe can’t supinate with her hands so she drops things a lot. I’m hoping the case will suffice. I’ll try to work on ours in the next couple of days and get it all fixed up.

  5. […] Posted by Kelly in Chloe, Parenting, children with disabilities, proloquo2go. Tagged: children with disabilities, speech therapy, proloquo2go. Leave a Comment I really wish I had video’d this second lesson with Chloe and her Proloquo2Go.  It was awesome!  If you missed the video of our first lesson with her new talker, you can read it here. […]

    Reply

  6. Posted by Mary Lou on January 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Hi thanks for this information I will follow the progress a dear friend helped me purchase this techno-wonder and we hope to help our non-verbal Angelman 18 year old son . I will return to let you know the progress and keep up with Chloe’s

    Reply

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