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Has anyone used a GoTalk communication aid with their dc?

(13 Posts)
hazeyjane Wed 24-Apr-13 19:11:19

Had an home visit from a SALT who specialises in AAC today, she is going to loan ds (2.9) a GoTalk 9 (I think it is the 9 one), with it in mind that he will then get funding for one to be used at preschool and home. She thinks that eventually it would be good if he could use the Grid app on the ipad, but would like to start him with one of the GoTalk devices and work up to the ipad.

Has anyone used one? How did they find it?

moondog Wed 24-Apr-13 19:28:24

They're ok but a bit fiddly and hard to record a clear message.
I think that sort of stuff is on its way out frankly.
The Proloquo2go app used on an iPad does all of that and is simple to use and a lot more cool.

hazeyjane Wed 24-Apr-13 19:56:11

I spoke to her about the proloquo2go, but she said she prefers The Grid (which just sounds like a Steven Segal film to me) - I will have to have a look at both. The Grid has a 60 day free trial apparently, so at least we will be able to try.

I think she wants ds to learn the idea of using a device to communicate with, before introducing the ipad (which he sees as something on which to play games and look at pictures of fire engines!)

The fiddlyness aspect worries me.

moondog Wed 24-Apr-13 20:03:29

That is a very important point, the distinction between communication and play, yes. Some people use a lock to keep the child from games or else get two devices to make the discrimination clear.
GoTalk may be better than it was a few years ago but it involved a hefty push, unlike minimal effort that a touchscreen takes. iPad use means you can scan in pictures of people and chosen reinforcers whereas with the Gotalk, still old fashioned tedium of laminating new template nad sliding it in.

No system is perfect (and there are plenty of other systems too of course) so it is about what suits you.

Is he a PECS candidate?

hazeyjane Wed 24-Apr-13 20:36:31

I am not sure what makes a good PECS candidate tbh!

When he was at sn nursery they tried to introduce pecs cards to offer choices, and tell him what was coming up, but he wouldn't interact with the people there (we had a bit of a difficult time there!) and he would just pick cards at random. They gave me a stack of cards and some Velcro and said to carry on trying at home...

We have been focusing on Makaton, and he started signing a couple of months ago, and regularly uses about 6 signs, but they are unclear to people who don't know him.

moondog Wed 24-Apr-13 20:47:14

PECS is a good system for anyone who is not yet verbal and needs to learn to find interacting with people fun and purposeful.

What you were being shown to do was not PECS and pretty shoddy to do this
'They gave me a stack of cards and some Velcro and said to carry on trying at home...'

If you can spare £150 I can't recommend the basic 2 day PECS course highly enough.
Nothing comes close in terms of explaining communication and why some kids find it difficult.

sneezecakesmum Wed 24-Apr-13 20:58:25

Pretty sure its what we've got. has 1-8 grids and you record ? Its OK but quite limited for a physically disabled child - cant go and fetch it for instance so the choices are not much cop for the here and now. Good for recognising things but he does that anyway.

If it is the grid thing let me know and I'll link to a 30 day trial so you can print out multiple grids/pictures etc.

hazeyjane Thu 25-Apr-13 10:46:31

Thankyou Moondog, I remember talking to ds's portage worker about going on a pecs course, and she didn't seem to think ds would be ready for it, but I will look into it further.

It is interesting that you say about, learning that communicating is fun and has a purpose. Ds is very keen to communicate, he signs frantically ( although we can't understand a lot of the signs!) and conveys a lot with his face and body. However he only seems to want to communicate with a few select adults, he doesn't seem to show any desire to communicate with other children (apart from his older sisters). He will watch them play, but he shows no desire to communicate with them, and hides from them or looks through them if they talk to him. The SALT yesterday said that she thought the Go Talk would be a good tool for him to use with other children in a structured way at the nursery, so a time slot for a child to come and play a game with ds, using the Go Talk, so that ds learns that he can talk to the other child.

Sneeze, it is this that she is talking about. I can see that as a long term or more wide ranging solution it would be too impractical, especially, as you say with a physical challenge as well. But I think she is just intending it as a short term thing to teach ds that he can use a device to communicate things, and that there is a point to trying to communicate to other children!

blueemerald Thu 25-Apr-13 19:04:15

I babysit an 11 year old boy who has proloquo2go on a secon iPad and I was truly astounded by the results. We (his family and I) always knew there was so much kicking around there in his head but he never so much as looked at PECS cards.

He lost his iPod the other day as was able to tell us he felt sad. He is completely non verbal.

moondog Thu 25-Apr-13 19:41:51

Theee is a danger in using a computer instead of PECS as the child is not then always reinforced to approach and interact with a person which is the most importnat part of PECS (the physical approach and exchange).
Danger is the computer 'says' something and the person hearing it responds. The child has had his needs yet but he has not practiced and been reinforced for interactino with a person.
As I said, there are advantages and disadvantages with every system.

sneezecakesmum Thu 25-Apr-13 22:08:59

We've got the super talker which looks to do a similar job.

As a starter device that is the same reason we were given it. DGS seems to be a bit confused by the communicating thing. He understands most things a 4 year old would, and follows instructions, but is very passive when it comes to communicating with others. He makes a variety of sounds which I think he thinks is speech, but it just doesnt come out as words. Think its a physical muscular control thing with his mouth rather than a vocal processing thing. How your DS behaves is so like him! A bit of switching off type behaviour.

If you click on 'Matrix Maker' there was a free 30 day trial so you can print out as many matrices as you can in that time as its around £70 to buy!

hazeyjane Fri 26-Apr-13 22:24:27

Thanks sneeze, I will check out the trial offer.

There is definitely a physical side to ds's lack of speech as well. His mouth and tongue makes strange movements, his mouth is always open, and his tongue is always out. But the main thing is that, even though he makes a sound (an 'uh' sound) that is the only sound he makes, there doesn't seem to be any variation in the sound he makes. He also doesn't seem to connect this sound with communication.

It's all so bizarre, I can't quite process the idea of ds having this device to be his voice.

It will be interesting to try it, and I will find out more about pecs. The good thing is that the AAC SALT, seemed good, and I found her very easy to talk to about it all.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that ds's new SALT works with ds well.

sneezecakesmum Sat 27-Apr-13 21:04:09

DGS makes a variety of sounds but when I say 'say mmm' and do the lips together, he just looks puzzled and starts a tutting sound, which he learned to do a couple of years ago. He too seems to have this 'does not compute' look when we try things. Have you tried a whistle, straw sucking, blowing raspberries etc? He rolled over to the DVD today and turned on Thomas the tank engine as the TV one had finished, and can follow instructions so his comprehension is OK but its a weird thing with speech. Our SALT seems to think AAC and zero to 'teach' speech sounds, but our physio listened to all his sounds and is going to have a word!!! I am looking into a private SALT just for the summer holidays before school in september to see if a breakthrough is possible.

Good luck with the talker smile

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