Something to talk about

It is just another typical start of a day. You wake up, look at your daily calendar, check email and social media, maybe have a cup of coffee and breakfast, and your day begins. As with every other day, unless you aren’t a morning person, you talk.

It is no different for Wendell Foster friends Denise, Bernie and Megan. They like to hang out in the morning and discuss the day ahead, or perhaps what they did yesterday. Who knows, they may be talking and laughing about what I’m wearing, or even worse – MEN! One thing is for certain, it’s a good conversation.

You may be thinking . . . “So?” Why is this notable or worthy of a feature article of a newsletter? Well let me explain. The difference is in how they talk. Denise, Bernie, and Megan do not communicate the way most of us do. Instead of using their voices, they use Tobii DynaVox speech generating devices.  

Communication is a human right which enables us to share our life with other people. Everyone has their own communication methods and these ladies have their own customized device designed to fit their specific needs. Denise uses eye-tracking technology, Bernie uses her finger to direct select, and Megan uses a head switch to activate the device while it scans.

While their monitors display similar letters, phrases, and picture options, they each navigate it differently.  These three communication devices range in price similar to a used car  from $6,000 to $14,000, and while that sounds like a massive chunk of money, they will tell you that it is worth every penny.

Karissa Riter, Speech and Language Pathologist at Wendell Foster, realizes the importance of natural communication outside of a therapy session. “This is what it’s all about . . . giving them a voice so they can talk about things that are important to them. I enjoy sitting around the dinner table with my family and friends talking about life. They need the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions, too. When they are together, they naturally start talking to each other and choose their own topics of conversation.”

Karissa, along with her colleagues at Wendell Foster, “get it.”  They are passionate about what they do and will not stop until every person has the tools to help them have a good life . . . just like you and me.

We are Wendell Foster and our future is clear and bright!