Matthew is a young man with a fantastic sense of humour! He is 12 years old and has a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. He attends a local specialist school where he has lots of friends. Matthew enjoys going to youth group, swimming, listening to Lewis Capaldi and watching funny videos on Youtube.
Matthew requires augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). He currently uses a Grid Pad 12 communication aid accessed via eye gaze. He has been using electronic AAC since he was 4 and has rejected most paper-based AAC back-ups. Prior to using AAC, Matthew’s mum described his communication as “a game of charades”. He would rely primarily on eye-pointing to make requests and did use BIGMacks with the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to respond to questions. Without AAC, Matthew became very frustrated as there was a significant gap between what he could understand and what he could express.
ATtherapy input and Matthew’s progress
When Matthew started to used eye gaze, he suddenly had a voice and could express himself. His sentence length rapidly increased and frustration reduced. Matthew has used a range of different hardware and software and ATtherapy have supported Matthew through the process. Change has been very difficult for Matthew and he has made significant progress in accepting and trialling new equipment that meet his needs. He has also been working hard to develop his literacy skills to enable him to more flexibly and autonomously communicate.
Matthew now uses his AAC to;
- Makes joke, express how he’s feeling, make wants/ needs known, gain attention, greet people, argue and make choices
- Develop his literacy skills – he is now able to spell/ attempt a spelling when the word isn’t on his communication aid.
- Access his curriculum
- Build new relationships
- Access Youtube
- Go on the internet
- Use Whatsapp
- Control Alexa
Matthew has received regular input from the ATmentor service, meeting two mentors. This input has been invaluable in supporting Matthew to trial new equipment, accept technical challenges, talk about his disability and develop his social skills.
Matthew presented at the ATmentor launch event in May 2019 to a large group of people about his experience of the mentoring service.
Matthew participated in a literacy project with Manchester Metropolitan University in June 2019.
Matthew achieved a level 1 in Mentoring qualification in November 2019.
Everyone at ATtherapy/ ATmentors loves working with Matthew and are so proud of him and all his achievements! He continues to receive weekly highly specialist input to work on his speech and language therapy targets, develop his independence and work towards achievement of his aspirations.