Dana is my 22 year old daughter and has Down syndrome. Over the years, we have tried many approaches to improve and increase her speech with varying degrees of success. Signing, using gestures, one-word answers and requests, as well as routines and schedules, have helped ease communication, however, it has always been a struggle, especially for those who spend only sporadic amounts of time with her.
In May of 2018 Tara and Tim met with Dana and introduced her to Touch Chat on an iPad. She is quite enthralled with computers and it was amazing how quickly she caught onto the system. Touch Chat is a great model for repetitive, slower speech and word enunciation. Her speech and vocabulary have grown, as she is now eager to communicate with others. Dana can assemble a sentence and will attempt to verbally repeat it with success. The program is easy to modify to include the specific likes, dislikes, and important people in Dana’s life. This way we can easily adapt the program if new interests enter her life. Dana is excited to show others how she can use her iPad and practices using it in many different areas, including at home, at her daily programming and at her group home. This repetition and practice has led to Dana now being able to quickly show her family, friends and staff what she wants or needs, or simply what she is thinking.
It is very exciting for her family and those who work closely with her, to see the progress and learning she is doing while using Touch Chat. This program provided Dana with more of a voice; it has given her the confidence and ability to communicate more effectively with those who are important to her.