I read about what’s available on the East Coast of the US. I read about what’s available on the West Coast of the US. People in these population centers tend to make it sound like certain kinds of resources are readily available to help people with disabilities. Living in the Midwest, I know there are a lot of resources available in other parts of the country that aren’t readily available here. And we’re not alone. A lot of the resources that are available in some “centralized” areas are not available just a few states away.
This is not to say that these resources don’t exist. Sometimes they really don’t, but sometimes they do. They’re just hard to find. When you find them, they have long, long waiting lists. But it’s better to finally find them and to wait than to have no hope at all. I know, because I’ve finally found and connected with a resource that may empower Alex to communicate using technological assistance.
I’ve read about how more and more people with autism are being hooked up with technological devices that help them communicate effectively. I’ve worked with the local school district for years to help Alex take advantage of these opportunities. We haven’t found the right fit and we don’t have the expertise we need to get the match.
Now, I’ve finally found the local place that has the resources and expertise to get that match. At least, that’s the hope. I admit it could have happened earlier. I dropped the ball. I didn’t understand back during that IEP that kicked off this school year that I was the one who was supposed to act. They all made it sound like it was something that would be done through the school district. Maybe that was just wishful thinking. I don’t know.
Then, with all the busyness and chaos of this year, this issue fell through the cracks of what was necessary and what was urgent. Even now, I had to sneak it in between preparations for another MRI, not to mention the other urgent and/or necessary tasks of this week.
Yet, looking ahead to the appointment we’ll have months from now, I can’t help but feel hopeful. Having read so much of others’ success with technologically assisted communication, I’ve long believed that would be the key for Alex. He loves technology and is more adept with manipulating technology than I would expect. When it comes to the new touch-based technologies, he’s much better at it than I am!
Not only is he ready to access the technology, we also know that communicative intent is definitely there, but the means to make that connection with others is not. A technological device could be the bridge between where we are and where we could be. This could be the key that unlocks Alex’s ability to communicate. As much as we don’t want to wait, it’s definitely an outcome worth waiting for. I just wish the resources weren’t so difficult to find and that the centers that provide those resources weren’t so overwhelmed in the vast populations between the East and West Coasts.