Yesterday, I sat down to work with Philip and it quickly became apparent that something was wrong.
To understand the story, let me take you on a quick detour into a technological explanation. ( Ha! Me! Explaining technology!) Usually, the Dynavox scans a number of options on a page, and as they scan on the screen, there's a little speaker behind Philip's head that speaks whatever's on the screen. When he hears what he wants, he hits the button by his head to select the word/phrase or open a new page. Anyway- that is just a brief and very incomplete description of an auditory scanning device.
So, the little speaker behind his head that usually gives him cues was not working. So I went into the setup menu and tried to figure out what was wrong. The usual suspects did not pan out, so I decided to call Tech Support. This made Philip's day - he LOVES calling Tech Support. He goes into raptures of bliss if I even mention it.
As I talked to the Tech Support guy, I suddenly noticed that the little tiny cord that runs from the speaker, under the wheelchair, and comes up the side to plug into the Dynavox... was... unplugged...hanging out in space like limp spaghetti. Duh, Claire! I was so embarrassed that such a simple thing had escaped my notice. I faced a choice, and I chose the cowardly path. After the next thing that the guy told me to do, I plugged the speaker back in and said, "It works now!" I instantly regretted it because I realized the thing he told me to do should not have fixed the problem - it was more a peripheral issue. He was a little mystified that it had been fixed in that way. I just couldn't bring myself to admit to him that it was all due to an unplugged cord. I felt too idiotic. He seemed to verbally shrug his shoulders over the mysteries of computers and why they do what they do and I pretended to join him in the shrugging ( Ah, yes, what a temperamental droid. 'Tis beyond our ken, Mr. Tech Support Man) while inwardly stifling my chortles. I hung up as quickly as I could.
Immediately, I told Philip what I had done and we laughed. We howled. We almost screamed with laughter. And then, there was no changing the subject. We had to use this experience as "The Thing That We Write About Today." This is what Philip wrote: "We don't hear thin little speaker. That stinks. We call technical support man. Claire see Dynavox speaker unplugged. She was scared embarrassed." He did a great job, did he not? It took him the best part of an hour to write this, with my help. People, do not take the ease with which you can communicate for granted. If you can speak, you have it very, very good. This cannot be overstated.
And then we wrote a song about it. Well, not exactly about me being an idiot - but about Tech Support in general. I had brought my new guitar with me to show Philip so we brainstormed together and came up with a song in praise of Tech Support. He gave me a lot of the words - Dynavox, bugs, email, man, idea, internet, stranger, cell phone, cool, etc. so I could weave them into the lyrics. Here is the song we came up with. It's to the tune of "You are My Sunshine." And just so you know the "V" refers to the model/name of the Dynavox.
When there's a problem with my V
We try to fix it as best we can
Sometimes we research on the website
But we like to call the tech support man
When there's a bug in the email
And no one here can figure out why
We pick up Philip's little cell phone
To call Dynavox - we hope it's a guy*
When we listen to this stranger
They give ideas that are cool
They check out problems and help us clean up
So Claire won't throw the V in the pool
* Philip was adamant that I mention that we prefer talking to the MAN at Tech Support. Apparently the men there are better than the women. Okay!
Anyway, it was a fun day and quite refreshing. Recently I feel like I've been stuck in a rut, running out of ideas of different things to motivate and try with Philip... This definitely got us OUT of the rut.