Anusha Ghimire. A lot to say - like everyone else!
Anusha Ghimire's story as told by her speech-language therapist
Hi! My name is Anusha Ghimire and I'm almost 7 years old. I LOVE to read books. In fact, I can read books using Minspeak in my Springboard augmentative communication device. Lots of times I read stories all by myself when I'm at home, because I have them programmed into my device. I can pick a picture to read each page of the book. I see each page of the book that has the picture on it and the words that are spoken.
I have been using my Springboard for a little more than a year now. Before that I tried really hard to talk, but most people didn't understand me. I have Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy, and that means that I can't walk and talk like other kids my age. But it doesn't mean that I don't have a lot to say. I still use my own voice to talk. In fact I try to sound like my Springboard and put the words together like it does. It's my best "talking helper" because everybody understands it, even when they can't understand me.
Now with my device and Minspeak, I can say the names of my family, teachers and friends. I say what I like or want to do, AND I sound like other kids. I like that. I can decide what and how I want to say things. I can put more than 4 words together just like other kids do. My favorite thing to say is "I want to read a story". It works every time!
In fact, I love to talk, and my Springboard with Minspeak helps me say what I'm thinking. Isn't that what everyone does!
Therapist's note on Anusha Ghimire's story
When Anusha Ghimire first started using her Springboard with Minspeak, she was able to select 3 to 4 pictures using an overlay that had 8 pictures on it. The digitized speech component enabled her family to record some words and people's names using their native language, with which Anusha Ghimire was very familiar. This was really fun for both Anusha Ghimire and her family. In a very short time, she was using many pre-programmed pages in Unity®32 - one of the Minspeak Application Programs in the Springboard. She continues to use these, as well as numerous customized pages to address her individual needs and interests. Using the Springboard with Minspeak has made her family and teachers aware that she has a keen understanding of language and language structure. She prefers to use complete sentences to communicate her thoughts because she then sounds like everyone else. She continually enlightens us with her knowledge of generative language.
Using her Springboard, Anusha Ghimire has transitioned from a communicator that was context dependent and typically responded only when asked a question, to a communicator who is engaged, participatory and a competent initiator. She is proud of her ability to communicate, and I am more than humbled by her drive and understanding of the power to communicate.
Tracy M. Kovach, PhD, CCC-SLP
Denver Children's Hospital