Augmentative Communication and Oral Motor Therapy

I have had the pleasure of working with Queena for over 3 years now. I was lucky enough to be her Speech/Language Pathologist provider for about a year. After that time, I have volunteered my time to continue to see Queena. She is an incredible young woman who brings out the best in everyone she meets.

Queena uses a computer that is specially made to help her communicate. It has software that includes communication boards (choices of pictures, picture symbols and/or words) along with a synthesized voice for Queena to express her wants, needs and thoughts. She is also able to listen to music and do other things that we do on a computer. This computer, called an Augmentative Communication Device, can be accessed via touchscreen, through eyegaze, and with a switch. Queena is able to use her eye movement to move the cursor on the computer to choose a picture/picture symbol/word to say what she wants to say and to make choices. She can also use a lever switch with her arm/hand to communicate as well. She is able to use this everywhere she goes, because she has a special mount to use in her room as well as a mount that attaches to her wheelchair. Queena continues to work towards mastering both the use of eye gaze and the switch. Since Queena's comprehension and intelligence are equal to any other mid-twenty year old, it's a challenge to have so many thoughts and feelings be expressed through a machine.

Queena also works hard to help relax her muscles and have them move more effectively. We work together using deep tissue release and myofascial release to her torso, neck and oral muscles to make sure she can continue to maintain head control, swallow and all of the other things that we take for granted and do without even thinking every single day.

Professionally and personally, Queena has given me so many gifts - like gratitude for the little things in life; patience to tackle obstacles in life; laughter in the midst of challenges; and so much more. I treasure my time with her, and I look forward to continuing to volunteer my time for as long as she needs me.

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