Name: Anna Pascoe
Home: West Point, Utah
Product: Tobii Dynavox I-15 with Communicator software
Condition: Non-verbal autism
With loving support, Anna has always been comfortable with who she is. Now a teenager, her self-confidence has surged in the past year that she’s been using a Tobii Dynavox I-15 with Communicator 5 language software. She interacts with her three younger sisters like never before. They talk about boys and clothes, and participate equally in a numbers guessing game that has become a dinnertime ritual.
It just feels right that their big sister has found her voice.
“They’ve always wanted to talk with her, not just at her,” said their mom Jeannette. “My girls have always had a strong bond with Anna, but this really healed their hearts.”
Anna always loved watching people and you could tell by her eye contact that she wanted to talk, her mom said. Since preschool, she used picture symbol cards to make simple choices (yes or no, eat or drink) and clarify her random vocalizations, but that went only so far.
“They’ve always wanted to talk with her, not just at her.”
Jeanette, Anna's mom
“Yes and no can mean a variety of things in every situation,” Jeanette said. Plus, Anna seemed OK with having others speak for her. “I think she became complacent and, in a way, gave up. Why would she make choices with everyone telling her what to do all the time?”
Anna got her I-15 after an evaluation with speech therapist Emily Fintak, who admires the Pascoes for making AAC a natural part of each day. “It’s so much more meaningful for Anna. That’s really helped to shape her to be an active communicator.”
Jeanette considers it “groundbreaking” that the technology lets Anna self-regulate health issues including a form of diabetes that makes hydration a priority. The I-15 stays near Anna at night so she can say she needs a drink. There’s less guessing at medical appointments because she can communicate directly.
Anna is enjoying new freedom to socialize with peers. She even gives friends nicknames. While creating a valentine, she used the I-15 to reveal that it was for “T-shirt Guy,” her current crush.
“It’s exciting when Anna shows us that she is a typical 16 year-old girl, that she’s a little boy crazy and has a lot of opinions to express for the first time in her life. ” her mom said.