St. Albert Gazette Spotlights Giving Every Child a Voice Project

Program provides assistance for children
St. Albert Gazette, Saturday, Apr 08 – By: Dayla Lahring

Toby Morris, 5, pushes a command on an iPad app, called TouchChat with WordPower. Morris, who has spina bifida and is non-verbal, uses the device to communicate with the world around him. DAYLA LAHRING/ St. Albert Gazette

An iPad app displays various images of animals, colours and days of the week. The device is fastened to a stand attached to the front of the wheelchair, an arm’s length away from five-year-old Toby Morris. Extending his arm, he pushes a picture and a female’s voice says “orange.” Smiling widely, he communicates his mother’s favourite colour.

“This is his voice,” says Toby’s mother, Andrea Morris, as she sits on the floor next to him. “It’s not just a device, it’s not just a play-thing. I feel like when he doesn’t have it, my heart breaks because it’s almost like he’s being gagged. He’s not able to say something if he wanted to.”

The app and iPad were provided to Toby through a program called Getting Ready for Inclusion Today (GRIT), a non-profit based out of Edmonton.

Through GRIT, Toby has also been provided a team of experts, ranging from speech pathologists to nurses, who work directly with him on a daily basis.

“He’s benefitted so much from it, his aide is really amazing,” she says.

Read more

Be Sociable, Share!