Dionne’s story

“I am constantly on the look-out for things that will help Xavier be happy and more independent”

With the grant from Inclusive Kids we purchased a swing, additional respite time, and an iPad. All of these have contributed to Xavier becoming more independent. They have given him an enhanced sense of having autonomy to make choices for himself, and more experiences of being an individual within the community.

He is an outdoor sort of person and he loves being able to go into the yard and swing by himself. This new swing has enabled him to learn to push himself and it is wonderful to see him smiling and laughing while he is swinging by himself. Before we purchased this swing I had to push him and it was hard on my back as he got bigger and bigger. Now he doesn’t have to wait for me to push him and he can choose when he wants to go out there and swing. This one item has given him more autonomy and the ability to make some choices for himself.

Another experience Xavier enjoys immensely is going out on respite care. He is a very social child and loves interacting with people and new situations. He gets to see and be with people other than the family and goes to places we may not go to. All of these experiences are helpful to his growth, his sense of self and his happiness.

The freedom to act of his own accord has also been enhanced by the iPad. He has his DVD’s, music and books on the iPad, so now he can go into his room and choose to watch and listen to what he wants when he wants. Since he has learned to turn the pages of the books by himself, he no longer has to rely on someone else to read for him. We used to get a bit tired of listening to his DVD’s or reading his favourite stories so it is liberating for all of us that he has this level of independence now. The iPad is something of his own that he can take with him if we are going places or doing things that don’t involve him - again he gets to make some choices of his own.

My motivation for getting the iPad with the Proloquo2go program was for speech therapy. Xavier only uses single words and doesn’t have much vocabulary. I thought this tool might have stimulated further vocabulary growth but so far he doesn’t seem to want to use it at home very often. I suspect because they use it at school he is less inclined to use it at home. I’m not concerned about it – I have learned to cope with what comes up and take one day at a time. I don’t think too much about the future, yet at the same time I am always looking for opportunities that will help Xavier. I focus on enjoying life and making sure Xavier enjoys life.