The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Archie's Story - The Center for AAC & Autism

Like many 13-year-old boys, Archie Pollock has found a passion for a particular sport – surfing... But Archie didn’t always enjoy surfing – or any activities. At age 3, Archie was diagnosed with autistic spectrum condition and dyspraxia, which severely limited his ability to socialize and communicate. It wasn’t until he began working with the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) approach and a device featuring Unity language software that life started to change for the Pollock family...

Searching for the Right Approach

Following his diagnosis, Archie began working with a speech therapist who introduced the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) as a way to help him communicate, "but Archie would still become very frustrated, and he preferred to rely on his own vocalizations. The problem was, those outside of our family still had trouble understanding him.”
At age 8, Archie’s therapist reintroduced sign language as another communication option...but... his signs weren’t very accurate, which, again, produced greater frustration... “He always was very attracted to the computer"...Because of this interest, they decided to try introducing Archie to a new speech language app on the iPad. Chris said she was very hopeful that this method would finally help.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

In 2010, Chris met Nikki Blundell, a speech and language therapist in the United Kingdom...she initially set a goal for Archie to be able to use a set of 10 to 20 core words that he could verbally say and would be recognized by people who were less familiar with him.  Nikki organized a trial loan of the Vantage Light communication device containing the Unity language software. Within 20 minutes of their first session, Archie made a three-word phrase...“Right from the beginning, it was clear that he was interested” anonymous donor wanted to purchase a talker on Archie’s behalf. Chris explains that she was “absolutely staggered"...
ArchieRead Archie's full article, HERE.

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