Introducing Learn Understand Communicate And Speak
"..... Although non verbal children cannot speak, they do have a voice!"
We are parents of three healthy and happy children aged 12, 10 and 5 years old. Our eldest boy has a very rare condition called Phelan McDermid syndrome and he is also severely autistic. Like all parents, we want to make sure that all of our children are provided with opportunities to learn and to grow in confidence.
We have developed a teaching system which allows our non verbal son to communicate over 400 words regarding food choices, places to visit and DVDs to watch, amongst other things. He identifies animals, transport, colours, numbers & shapes. Socially, he can say good-bye and one day we hope he will say that he loves us! We want to help other parents, teachers and most importantly other children by developing this teaching app and providing a service which is currently not available.
In the last six months we have raised in the region of £30,000 doing various fund raising activities including pub quizzes, an auction and non-uniform days to name but a few. We are aiming to raise £50,000 in total to allow us to incorporate everything in the app that might be necessary to allow a non verbal child, their carers and educators the required resources to communicate effectively at a level that suits the individual's ability. With over 15 events planned in the near future, it is hoped that these will generate in and around £15,000 with the remaining £5,000 generated through this particular Crowdfunding venture.
Throughout the early years of our eldest son's life we spent a vast amount of time in therapies that were not encouraging our son to make progress - in most cases he regressed. Our journey has taught us that it is impossible to learn if we cannot communicate. Ten years ago we decided that we would start our own project to help our son. We started to develop LUCAS Education and were able to facilitate it through the use of a voice output app called Proloquo2Go. Time and experience have provided us with the knowledge that there is a huge need to assist professionals in providing a teaching programme which ensures consistency and better communication with all care providers. We have worked closely with such professionals and have completed a very successful proof of concept which has encouraged many agencies to offer their support and encouragement. We want to assist children with disabilities by reducing their frustrations and providing them with a voice, and we also aim to support parents in ensuring that we provide a programme that causes minimal workload with amazing out-comes.
There are many voice output apps available, although our journey has provided us with little guidance on how to use them. We have created a teaching programme which provides a step by step structured plan on how to encourage your child to use the device.
The app will also provide an essential link between parents, teachers and other care providers to ensure consistency and progression of learning. This can also assist with developing individual education plans which can be monitored on the app.
Our son's syndrome is very rare and his primary disability is with difficulty in communicating. As his parents, we were unable to accept this without giving him every opportunity to thrive. He amazes us everyday. Our wee man (not so wee now), is diagnosed as being severely disabled and would present himself as a one/two year old, and yet his knowledge and understanding when using his words would contradict this as a typical one year old would be unable to recognise words, understand colours, shapes, transport and animals. More recently our son can tell us the days of the week and the weather conditions. If our son can do this, so can other children with communication difficulties, if given the opportunity!
"Being a typical teacher, I thrive on ensuring that every child reaches their potential and am adamant that although non-verbal children cannot speak, they do have a voice." ( Mum)