“This is how we describe it: We lost our child to autism at about 20 months, and we have been trying to get him back ever since,” says his mother, Missy Brademeyer.
Now one technological tool may help bring Cade a little closer to home.
About eight months ago, Mark Coppin, assistive technology director at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, encouraged the Brademeyers to buy Cade an iPad. He told the Fort Ransom, N.D., couple that some children with disabilities were successfully using the popular tablet computer to communicate and learn.
Cade, now 11, had already tried other communication devices but didn’t really take to them. That changed when he got his hands on an iPad. In no time, Cade was scrolling through the touch-responsive screen’s digital pages, clicking on apps (pre-programmed applications) and playing games.
These days, he uses a program called Proloquo2Go to communicate. Proloquo2Go allows users to select images representing words, which the iPad will speak for them. Cade uses it to augment his vocabulary of five to six spoken words plus sign language.
Since he got the device, “Cade has definitely become more communicative and is independently trying to say new words that he was previously only signing,” says Mary Lewis, special education teacher at the Anne Carlsen Center, which educates children with special needs.