As can be seen from the photograph the Vantage Lite screen contains symbols. During LAMP training one of the concepts stressed is that these symbols do not represent words as such. So when the child is learning to use the system, they’re not learning to match a symbol to a word, they’re learning a motor pattern. So pressing a sequence of buttons produces a particular word; that never changes. It’s described as being analogous to speech – so if I move my mouth in a certain way I produce the word – ‘surfing’, if Archie presses a sequence of buttons the talker says ‘surfing’. It didn’t initially incidentally, I had to bin baseball to add surfing.
After years of PECS this concept; of the picture not really representing anything at all took a bit of getting my head around. (Although thinking about it during the initial phase of PECS the picture has no meaning), but Archie helped out this week by demonstrating precisely this. He was playing with the talker and I could hear him exploring ‘hammer’, ‘nail’ ‘saw’. Next he appeared next to me ‘ saw’ ‘saw’, then pointed to his lip showing me where he’d bitten it. It did look pretty sore (saw). He then dragged me to the computer where he opened google maps and quickly (of course) located the hospital. A quick point at the hospital, to his lip and another sequence of presses to get ‘saw’ and I was left to tell him that no, he didn’t really need to go to the hospital to have his lip looked at. So he asked for a blood test.
Still no up to date video of Archie using the talker, the past few weeks have been a bit manic as middle son Joseph was making his professional acting debut which involved a lot of ferrying around and me getting pretty behind with work (worth it though, great experience for middle son). However, Martin and Annika at Discovery Surf School made a lovely video of Archie surfing on a surprisingly warm December morning. It was pretty windy and wild, just the sort of conditions Archie loves. The video gives me goosebumps: