We received some excellent news yesterday – James has been approved to be put on a new language and speech program in school and at home. He will be receiving an Ipad with the language program LAMP on it to implement into his daily routine. LAMP stands for “language acquisition through motor planning” and is based on the neuroscience that motor planning and oral motor planning skills are linked with language and speech skills. It makes sense. When you talk, your brain “plans” a series of motor movements for the mouth, tongue, vocal cords, and breath to execute. That motor planning is no different from the motor planning that it takes your brain to tell your hand to pick up a pencil and write something, or tells your finger to point and apply pressure on something else. The theory is that if you connect motor planning with language, language and speech production increases.
For the past 6 weeks they have been “piloting” this program on James, who had been using GoTalks, sign language, nonverbal gestures, and signal words to communicate as he struggles to express the language that is obviously in his head. His receptive language is excellent – he understands everything – but it’s difficult to express his thoughts with single buttons or sign language that few people understand. So, they introduced LAMP to him on the school’s Ipad and, to use their words, he “took off.”
He began almost immediately forming 2-3 word phrases and sentences using a series of buttons and icons. The sentence is then spoken with a touch of another button to further model speech and give James a “voice.” They added words to his vocabulary daily, and he now uses the ipad independently, seeking it out when he wants to make a request.
But it doesn’t stop there. He also has increased his attempts to verbalize. Since his introduction to the program in December, I have noticed he has begun saying two-word phrases, and I have even heard him approximate whole sentences. He whispers when he talks, as he still does not have the confidence to speak, and he babbles as a child experimenting with sounds does. I told his OT worker two weeks ago that I can finally say, “He’s in the beginning stages of speech now.”
His teachers have noted more verbalization as well, and all that data went into the decision to pair James with the LAMP program full-time and extending it into the home.
It appears as if the program is being piloting throughout the system, and James seems to be one of the first, if not the first, to be a successful “fit” for it. Because of that, they have spent a lot of time on him, with an outside consultant coming in 2-3x a week to observe James, help in data collection, and train his teachers. When the equipment comes in I will have to be trained in it as well, but the hope is that this device and program will not just “give him a voice” but also help him speak. for the first time, they were confident, noting that 90% of students even with the most severe language and speech disorders increase their verbal communication on this program and they “look forward to hearing more (words) from James.”