By guest blogger Allison, Kade’s mum
We all want the best for our children. We want them to make friends, be a part of their community, have a sense of belonging and for them to make their own decisions. I hoped these dreams would be possible for all my three children, including nine year old Kade who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two.
Last year through the KidsChat pilot project, Kade received a PODD (Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display). This is a communication book that includes a series of words and pictures that allows children to get their message across with people in the community, at home and with teachers and friends at school.
The PODD has given him the power to share his views, tell others how he feels, make choices and tell jokes. His book has enabled him to talk to our friends and family. It has given him a voice.
Prior to receiving the PODD, I sensed a withdrawal from Kade because he couldn’t express how he was feeling or what he wanted. He allowed us to make all of his decisions for him.
When Kade received the PODD, his speech pathologist worked with him and his family to understand how to use it. He can now link words into sentences and say phrases like “I feel excellent”. His vocabulary has increased significantly.
Last year, his school invited all the kids from class and their families to a local restaurant. I had just assumed that I would order for Kade as I had always done. Instead, Kade used his PODD to decide that he wanted lasagna. It wasn’t his favourite meal but it showed how far we have come with Kade’s communication. A year ago we wouldn’t have asked what he wanted to eat, we would have just ordered something we knew he would like from the menu. Looking back, there was no way when we first saw the book that we could imagine being where we are today.
The PODD gives Kade choice and control. It has empowered him to make his own decisions, and has increased his self esteem. We have also got to see his sense of humour and how funny he can be.
The PODD has changed his life, it has given him a voice. It’s his power. Now that he is able to communicate and tell us what he is thinking, there are no limits to what he can achieve.
About Kids Chat
KidsChat provides individualised non-electronic communication aids to children in Victoria with complex communication needs.
These communication aids can include communication books, boards and cards that can help a child with little or no speech get their message across at home and at school when talking to friends and teachers.
Through the success of the KidsChat pilot undertaken last year we have identified an ongoing need to provide communication aids to children. To support Scope in giving children a voice click here
To apply for a communication aid to be made, complete a Kids Chat Application Form or contact CIRC on 9843 2000.