Editor’s Corner

Mom – Tami Barmache

In 8th grade, Dillan asked me if he could start a blog.  He was worried that I might not like the idea, but knowing how much he had to say, how could I say no?! Much like the journey of building Dillan’s communication skills and finding a way for him to receive a meaningful education, creating and maintaining Typing 4 Change has been a slow and sometimes challenging process, but it is finding its way, one day at a time!

Dillan is not able to use speech for reliable communication, so he spells his words out letter by letter on an alphabet letterboard, or he may type directly onto the iPad or wireless keyboard.  He is only able to accomplish this with very skilled, respectful and calm support to help him keep his body and mind organized and focused. A very important relationship develops between a typer and his communication support partner, which must be based on trust and belief in the typer’s intelligence; and an understanding of his sensory needs. This takes time, patience and lots of practice, but in our experience, is the only way for true and meaningful communication to develop.

As you can imagine, we have been very moved by Dillan’s words.  Everything from his simple funny pokes at his brother, to the very profound and moving experiences he describes of what it feels like to have a sensory system that is so unique and special, but often very difficult and overwhelming.

This is Dillan’s story to tell, and he has asked us to help him “make it happen!” It is sometimes very emotional for him to write about his life, and even harder to share it. That being said, he hopes that others will find insight and value in reading his words and sharing in his experiences. Typing has changed Dillan’s life, and he wants others to have the same opportunity. We are glad you stopped by and encourage you to share this blog with others. Thank you so much for visiting!!

West Coast Communication Symposium - 77

 

25 thoughts on “Editor’s Corner

  1. Hi Dillan
    I saw your Video from Apple today. Very impressive young man.
    I have a son your age and has discovered RPM in October and is doing very well we are so excited for him.
    I see you handle yourself very well and I am wondering do you feel that the running is a key to your ability to be more calm.
    Thank you
    Rose

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    • Hi Rose, this is Dillan’s mom, Tami. Dillan does say that the running helps him with his pointing and general stress management. He really loves it too! Thank you for writing!!

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    • Hi Johnette, this is Tami. A good place to start is by reading Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method by Soma Mukhopadhyay, or you can go to their website at http://www.halo-soma.org. Dillan and I are going to try to get more information on his blog about his communication journey in the near future. Hope you have a chance to look into it!

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  2. Hi Tami,
    I would love to hear how Dillon started his communication journey and what techniques and strategies his communication partner utilizes with him. Did a speech-language pathologist support his communication development as well? Thanks!

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    • Hi Katie,
      We are working to put something on the blog that describes Dillan’s journey a bit more, but in the meantime you can start by reading Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method by Soma Mukhopadhyay, or you can go to their website at http://www.halo-soma.org. Dillan has also been supported by wonderful SLPs in this process as well. Thanks for asking!

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  3. Thank you so much! My son is also nonverbal and 19. I am encouraged by how much progress you have made. I know how wonderful it must be for your family to hear the voice they always knew you had.

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  4. Hello, I just saw the Apple ad with Dillan!! This is wonderful. I wanted to ask what are the names of the apps you use? My son has autism and is very low verbal. We have an ipad mini for him but I don’t know much about the apps. Thanks and God bless you!!

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    • Hi Rebecca,
      The main voice output apps that he uses are Proloquo4text and Assistive Express. He also uses an app called Keeble that allows us to customize the keyboard. This technology is incredible, however, the skill of typing out thoughts and ideas has to be developed in order to successfully use any tool such as a letter board or keyboard. A good place to start is by reading Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method by Soma Mukhopadhyay, or you can go to their website at http://www.halo-soma.org. If you have a speech pathologist or teacher that that is open, and can learn about the different methods to build this type of communication, that can be incredibly helpful as you begin this journey! Dillan and I are going to try to get more information on his blog about his communication journey in the near future. All the best!
      Tami

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      • I only just now found your reply, so sorry! Thank you Very much….yes I have heard of Soma, through Ido Kedar’s book “Ido In Autismland.” Unfortunately my son’s school would not try it, however they did install a proloquo app on his ipad which should be a help. Thanks so much….God bless you and yours!!

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  5. Hey Barmache family! I have a question for y’all. I’m a college kid hoping to go into occupational therapy. I really want to work with autistic people and maybe do sensory integration. When Dillan describes his therapists who have connected with him, I feel inspired. So my question is: what are Dillan’s helpers’ technical job titles, and how did they come to work with him?

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    • Hi Danielle,

      Sorry for the slow reply! Dillan works with several therapists. Some are speech and language pathologists, and some are therapists with other training, but who were open to learning his method of communication and received the proper training to support him. I do know a couple of OTs who also help clients build communication through typing. If you do follow through with OT/sensory integration, you can still educate yourself about methods for developing communication through typing and integrate that into your therapy, or you can partner with an SLP and work together. There is no one way to do it. If you are interested, a good book for you to read would be Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method by Soma Mukhopadhyay, or you can go to their website at http://www.halo-soma.org. Good luck!
      Tami

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  6. Hey Barmache family! I have a question. I’m really inspired by Dillan’s descriptions of the therapists who patiently work with him every day. What are their technical job titles, and how did they come to work with him?

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  7. Hi Tami and Dillan – such a lot of grace with your word, Dillan. I was really glad that one of your shared blog posts showed up in my Facebook news feed. Keep writing and sharing ALL that you know with the world. And, bravo, Tami! My hat’s off to you. You’re a good partner/editor for your son.

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  8. Tami,
    I would love more on the method used for Dillon. My son types and he needs physical support to type his thoughts and feelings. The result is phenomenal. I offered to bring a typist trainer to the school but they never set it up.
    I would love to have you both visit New Jersey, if possible. Please let me know when you might be in the area, and we could add a visit to the Jersey Shore?
    Thanks for any input, and I wish you well for the rest of the school year.

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    • Hi Isabelle,
      So wonderful to hear that your son has a way to communicate his ideas to you. I know that the physical support can be calming and organizing. We started with a method called Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), which does not use any physical support. Soma (the originator of the method) has written several books that you might find useful as you work towards communication without the physical component. We have never been to New Jersey, so thank you for the invite. If we ever make it to that area, we will let you know:) Wishing you all the best!
      Tami

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  9. hi Dylan, and Tami, thank you for your wonderful blog. my nephew timmy is 17, started doing RPM over a year ago. he is totally non verbal, and we have never had a method to communicate with him, until now. I am advocating for his school to allow his therapist to help him utilize RPM as much as possible. His school is not a believer in the method, and it is very difficult to get more than a few hours a day. do you have any suggestions for us? id like to bring a copy of your latest blog post to an upcoming IEP meeting if it is ok with you. if you have any suggestions for me please let me know, im desperate to fight for his right to use this as his only way to communicate……hes so bright, and has so much to say.

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  10. Hi Dillan and Tami, We would love to connect with the two of you in view of a European tv series about autism. We sent you some (more detailed) Facebook messages but they may have gone unnoticed. We are very impressed by you and your journey, and feel it would greatly inspire our audience. In case you’re interested in learning more, how can we best reach you? Thank you! Marieke

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  11. Hi Tami, We’re very inspired by Dillan’s story and would like to get in touch to discuss interviewing him for a European tv series on autism. Is there a good way to connect with you? Thank you! Marieke

    Like

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