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Empowering People, Launching lives

An alternative communication method

Liam was struggling with his communication. He found signing difficult and would struggle to share his wants and needs. Seeing the issues he was having, Park House School introduced Proloquo2Go (a symbol-based Augmentative and Alternative Communication app) to Liam and has since seen dramatic improvements.

A barrier to learning

Liam’s learning had stalled. He had around thirty signs for different objects but found it hard choosing the right sign for what he wanted to say. Due to difficulties with his fine motor skills, learning intricate signs was tough for Liam. Because of these issues, he found it a challenge to communicate effectively with others. Liam’s mother, Sarah, believes that he was becoming frustrated with not being able to communicate properly:

“Learning new signs was quite difficult for him… people wouldn’t be quite sure what he meant. This frustration would lead to him sometimes having undesirable behaviour such as grabbing at people and flopping to the floor.”

Changing the way Liam communicates

The school decided to try something different and introduce Proloquo2Go with Liam to improve his communication. Sarah was keen for the school to take a different approach with her son.

“He wasn’t using the signing system properly and I suppose it was quite confusing for him so I was pleased when they said he was a good candidate to try Proloquo2Go”

Liam took to the app incredibly quickly and the results were almost immediate. His Speech and Language Therapist, with assistance from Liam’s Tutor, started using the programme in school with some of his favourite objects and activities. Once he had mastered using the app and selecting the different items, staff went home with Liam and explained the process to his parents and showed them how it could be used in the home environment.

“He can take it everywhere and it’s quite easy for people to understand what he wants. He just presses a button, whereas with sign language you’re relying on the other people to know what that sign means.”

A greater understanding for Liam

“I think that [it] really helps and it’s definitely helped stopping him getting upset”

At school he has become a much more lively, happy and cheeky boy. He has started communicating more with other people and Liam now actively seeks people out to interact with them. At home he can tell his mum when he’s tired and wants to go to bed – something he’s never been able to do before.

Sarah is convinced that Proloquo2Go has helped Liam develop his understanding of things that go on around him. Trips to the dentist have become less upsetting for Liam as Sarah can explain what the plan for the day is going to be through the app.

The impact it has had on his family has been significant. When visiting his grandparents, they no longer need to learn new signs to be able to communicate with Liam and they can now interact easily.

Looking to the future

In a relatively short space of time Liam has mastered the app and gone from tapping single buttons to express his wants and needs, to being able to put together short phrases. Sarah knows that Liam will go from strength to strength using Proloquo2Go and hopes that he will be able to start using the app to express his feelings more, and start to share emotions, such as when he’s happy or sad.

“Proloquo2Go has been a godsend to Liam, not only improving his communication, but having a real, positive effect on his behaviour and mental wellbeing.”

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