I have so much to write, but I think I have been afraid that if I do put it down, it will be real and perhaps too overwhelming for me to deal with right now.
It has been almost 2 months since Ben has started using the NOVA Chat 10, a communication device on an Android platform. Like an iPad, but different. The results we are seeing from Ben using the device have been incredible. He is making choices about his meals, activities and location. Having these options and ability to choose must be liberating for him. When we decided to order it for him, this independence was all I had in mind.
Then, a few weeks before Christmas, Ben did a curious thing: using his hands and feet, he put down his two foot plates on his wheelchair deliberately. From then on, I asked him to do the same thing and he would. This piece of communication resulting in an action started me thinking.
We added reading comprehension questions to the device. We read a children's board book and then asked Ben a question. On the device, there were 4 choices. When read the question and 4 choices, he had 100% accuracy.
We changed the books to longer children's books - Franklin Has a Sleepover, Berenstain Bears Get a Pup, The Wildest Bother - all questions answered at 100% accuracy.
Last night I added a math application to the device. In one activity, it asked which number was lower, 15 or 18. The numbers were in hot air balloons and moving up into the sky. It held Ben's attention, and he answered it correctly. I did it about 6 times more. All but one answer were correct.
Two different therapists, two different in-home staff, Ryan and myself have all seen the results individually. This is not a raving mother hoping her child knows the answer.
But I still doubt. It has been 9 years with assumptions. I still want to test, check and rethink.
But it has also been 9 years for Ben not being able to tell us.
It is a lot to think about, a lot to ponder emotionally and intellectually. Our next moves are cautious. We do not want to overwhelm Ben.
Enough for now. There will be more to come, of that I am sure.