Meet a vision specialist from our Blind Babies Foundation program
How do you bring Wayfinder Family Services’ mission to life?
Early language is difficult for children who have visual impairments, motor impairments that keep them from using sign language, or cognitive impairments. In object communication, we give them an object to touch, like a spoon that means eating, which becomes their language. Using object communication, we are helping kids to communicate in alternative ways at the level they are at, earlier than they would in another system.
What does being a Wayfinder mean to you?
It means helping children with multiple disabilities and their parents become communication partners. I have a 30-year-old son who is nonverbal. I have many years of experience using alternative communication with him. When I started at Wayfinder and working with children who could not see or had cognitive impairments, I began researching more about object communication on my own.
Can you share one of your favorite Wayfinder moments?
An 18-month-old girl had limited hand use and poor head control. She seemed to understand what was going on, but she didn’t have a way to communicate. We started giving her a couple of symbols for eating and bath time. She really took to it. She started making choices with her eyes. Her mother introduced more symbols, for reading time and listening to music. Now, with improved hand use, she can bat at her choice. The next step will be a voice output device—she will hit buttons for the device to say what she wants.
November 25, 2020