The Children's Institute Blog

Vivek's Story - Better Speach and Hearing Month

Posted: May 25, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Vivek Sripathy isn’t going to let autism or being nonverbal get in the way of conversation. Within minutes of entering his classroom at The Children’s Institute’s Day School, he had told me his name, his home address and his birthday, and informed me he wanted to play with some drums.

“He isn’t limited to conversing in one or two word phrases. Vivek is able to construct meaningful sentences to interact with his teachers using his communication device,” speech-language pathologist Tracy Fox said, gesturing toward Vivek’s PRC Accent, an AAC device. “Vivek is very fluent in using his Accent and quickly expresses himself, starts conversations or answers simple questions. He is amazing, truly amazing!”

“He uses his device all day – he’s fantastic with it,” said his teacher, Kelly Lehosky. “He picks up on everything and gets involved in conversations. One day, the teachers were talking and he started asking what we had the night before for dinner.”

We are profiling Vivek today as part of Better Speech & Hearing Month.

Now a “super user” on the Accent , Vivek has been found “going into the toolbox and trying to edit pages,” Tracy said.

Vivek now is working on his communication skills with Tracy, she said, as well as asking questions and forming full sentences on his device.

“What’s nice with this device is he’s able to put in the little words,” Tracy said. “Instead of saying, ‘splash,’ ‘hippo,’ he can say, ‘The baby hippo can splash.’ With this device, Vivek uses core vocabulary to expand his language expression. He is working on developing sentences by learning grammar and sentence structure and asking questions. Vivek also uses his device to support his literacy skills and goals throughout the school day.”

“He can just go to the spelling page and type, unprompted,” said Vivek’s mother, Laura. “When he first started with the device, it was ‘I want this, I want that’ – very scripted.”

Vivek gets along well with his four sisters and plays Candyland with them during therapy sessions, his mother said. But placing him in certain school environments with other children is challenging – one of the reasons they’re so happy with The Children’s Institute’s Day School.

“It’s very challenging because it’s life skills,” Laura said. “I don’t want him to be learning the ABCs or
tying his shoes if he can do a lot more.”

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