Speech-language pathologist Lauren Papke and her colleagues from Jacksonville, Florida’s Wolfson Children’s Hospital took Boardmaker software along when they went to Haiti in October for a weeklong medical mission. It sure is nice that our products had a small yet important role in the intervention services that the group (which also included occupational and physical therapists) provided for children with special needs in the impoverished country. We were especially touched by this email and the photos from the trip Lauren later sent us via Justin Bytautus and Chris Kovach from our sales team. Lauren’s message and actions echoes our promise to keep the power of communication on for everyone, everywhere!
Subject: FW: Boardmaker in Haiti
Here are some pictures from my Haiti trip!
My group traveled to Jacmel, Haiti to visit an orphanage for disabled children called Wings of Hope. The children at Wings of Hope had a variety of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, and autism. When I began my education on the use of picture symbols the staff said that another team had brought similar pictures years ago. Since the staff had no way to reproduce the symbols, once they became worn, they discontinued use of this form of communication. They were very excited to learn that they had full access to the pictures now that they had the software downloaded to an employee’s personal computer. I trained several of the caregivers on how to create communication boards as well behavioral and teaching supports. Further education included determining what number of pictures to include in the visual field and when you would print on a page versus affixing with Velcro. The child pictured below is a young man, Teddy, who has CP. His caregivers told me that he is “very smart, but can only communicate by making happy or sad sounds.” When presented with the communication board he immediately demonstrated communication intent and repeated reached for “music” as he enjoys to sing (make sounds).
I really think that Boardmaker will make a huge impact in these children’s lives as many of them have no other means to communicate basic wants and needs. I am so grateful for your generous contribution to our mission! Please feel free to use the pictures and story in any way you see fit to promote your product and spread awareness. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Lauren Papke, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist, Autism Program Lead
Wolfson Children’s Hospital Rehabilitation