A. Consider Perspectives and Contexts

Now you will need to think about that general knowledge in light of Sophie’s and Ms. Mary’s unique situation. To help recall the context for this dilemma, review the viewpoints shared as part of Step 1. Then, listen to the following perspectives that will help you gain a better understanding of Sophie’s family’s and Ms. Mary’s values and beliefs about this particular situation.

Use the information from these perspectives to describe the unique contexts in which this dilemma occurs in Activity 5.10a.

Audio 5.4: Ms. Mary’s Perspective (family child care provider)

A child care provider of Sophie, a two-year-old with language and physical delays, discusses her feelings about using assistive technology and wanting to become more comfortable with using communication boards with Sophie.

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Ms. Mary:

Now that I’ve learned more about assistive technology, I do see how it can be a powerful tool in helping children to participate in all sorts of activities. And for Sophie, I can imagine how giving her a way to communicate could help her be involved – at mealtime, playtime, story time and even little things like asking for a diaper change. She could participate more in our activities and become more independent. I think if I had some training on these communication boards, and maybe if I had a chance to meet with her speech therapist, I’d feel more comfortable about using the boards with Sophie.

Audio 5.5: Holly’s Perspective (Sophie’s mother)

The mother of Sophie, a two-year-old girl with language and physical delays, discusses her feelings about wanting to help Sophie communicate.

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When Sophie turned 2, we decided to start focusing more on her communication. I knew I would be returning to work soon and it would be important for Sophie to be able to tell others her wants and needs when I wasn’t around. Only our family can understand what each of her noises or gestures mean, and we struggle at times too. We know that it will take time for Sophie to learn to talk, and who knows how far she will go, but we want to give her the power to communicate now. We want her to be able to communicate more with her dad and me, her brothers & sisters, and her grandparents – whether that’s using communication boards or maybe getting a device to speak for her. We are determined to help Sophie communicate any and every way she can.

Audio 5.6: Karen’s perspective (speech therapist)

Sophie’s speech therapist shares her thoughts about working with Sophie and using assistive technology to help her communicate. She also talks about her willingness to work with Ms. Mary, Sophie’s child care provider, to make her more comfortable with using assistive technology.

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I started working with Sophie when she turned 2. Sophie likes sensory play such as tickles and bouncing, textured books, music, singing and loves water play. With Sophie’s lack of verbal abilities and words, we should provide her with some communication supports. We would always continue to encourage her to use her words when possible and give her lots of opportunities to practice – but with the addition of assistive technology, we could expand her ability to communicate far beyond her limited number of words. I made some communication boards for Holly to post around the house and outside and I loaned her a few basic voice output devices that she could record messages on for Sophie to make choices and comment especially during an activity such as a tickle game. So now that Sophie is going to Ms. Mary’s a few days a week, it will be important that her communication system go with her. I would be more than happy to meet with Ms. Mary and talk about the communication boards and any other AT for Sophie. She’s part of Sophie’s circle now and we all have to work together.