Lachie was 4 months of age when he started coming to Kids Plus.
We spoke to Lachie’s mum, Kylie, about how Kids Plus and Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) has changed their lives.
Q: What brought you to Kids Plus Foundation?
Lachie was 4 months of age and our paediatrician had set up a meeting for us with the amazing Sara Folley when we were discharged from RCH. She was fabulous, we had no idea what we were getting into, we had no real understanding of what had happened to Lachie and what his future would hold?
Q: What difference has this made to Lachie and your family?
Kids plus has been a life changing experience, they have provided professional and personal support to us as a family. They provide weekly therapy to Lachie in the form of speech, physio and OT. They have anticipated Lachie’s needs before we could or even wanted to and ensured that discussions and applications for equipment etc was in play to ensure we had it when we really needed it.
But more than that Kids Plus has provided a safe and accepting space where our Lachie and I were loved and nurtured in the early years. We were given knowledge and comfort and skills so we could both heal and grow.
Q: Tell us about Lachie’s journey with AAC
Lachlan started with PODD paper version at nearly 3 yrs of age. Jenna became our speech pathologist and she introduced Lachie to AAC straight away. Lachie showed great interest and we trialed both PODD and LAMP.
Just when we got comfortable with LAMP Lachie chose PODD!
It’s been a journey to accepting the device is going to be part of our life. Starting with rebelling and just using it at therapy, then using it at home in limited settings, to slowly bringing it with us places, to now having it available all the time and everywhere we go!
Lachie’s use of the device has come along way, his use and engagement with the devices isn’t static, it’s driven my his energy levels, health and interest in the topic of discussion or the activity.
His device has been fabulous in him participating in medical appointments, whether it’s describing what discomfort he is in, or how he is feeling going into the procedure.
The device allows him to participate in conversations in a real meaningful way, and engage with friends.
Q: When did you know that you were on the right path?
When Lachie’s told me he loves me😍 using his AAC device.
Q: How do you overcome attitudes in the community?
It has been a growth in my confidence and Lachlan’s demands on having his voice available to him all the times that has driven our attitude towards community attitudes!
We started using our device with people who were very supportive and provided time for Lachlan to get practiced in using the device, now he is proficient we take it every where and encourage Lachie to speak.
Lachie is very cheeky and will have a joke with people using his ACC “voice”. In general most people are interested in how he uses the device and often are taken back that Lachie’s has something to say…but that’s only the ones that don’t know him.
Q: What does this mean for Lachie’s future?
This device has allowed Lachlan to have a voice! A voice to talk with friends, a voice to raise concerns, worries and feelings, a voice to be cheeky with his family and friends and voice to share his opinions! It means he can have a very bright future and one with more independence than he would otherwise have without AAC.