Made of Gray

Autumn, Van and the Tecla Shield

Holly D GrayComment
This past week Fall actually arrived. The light was golden and beautiful. The leaves did their small amount of changing colors, that typically happens in Texas. The winds were strong and I'm guessing that the majority of the leaves are on the ground now. Needless to say we were outside a lot.
On Halloween, we purchased our forever van. As in, we will be driving it and loving it forever...van. Our plan is to send it up to Michigan sometime close to March to have it converted to a rear entry Vision van. By then we should have all of our financial ducks in a row. For two, maybe even three years we have been rolling this decision around. It's a big, expensive decision, and I think we have made the right choice for our family. Side entry vs. rear entry vans have their pros and cons. Trust me, I've heard and discussed them all. After a lot of list making we decided on the rear entry. I love all the fancy little perks that our new van came equipped with. Caleigh asks "to go in the car" every single day, and so far I oblige. It had 5 miles on it the day I test drove it. Today it has a little over 400. We might need to slow down on the going!
It's ours
Caleigh is finishing up her preschool curriculum as I type. With the holidays just around the corner, I think we will take a bit of a break with several unit studies and a large chapter book. We'll pick up her new curriculum in January.
These days our house seems to be filled with Taylor Swift's Red album, on repeat constantly. I'm not gonna lie here, I don't mind it and it's way better than some of the kiddie music of our past. Caleigh has enjoyed a wide range of music in her life, but most of the time she wasn't too open to new music. I would have to squeeze a new song in here and there until it wasn't new anymore. Nowadays, she will listen to whatever is playing. Her music development is growing appropriately with her real age. This makes my ears and heart happy.  
This past month I finally quit talking about getting Caleigh a switch interface for her iPad and actually made the move. I've researched the three that are currently available or in development. They each use the built in VoiceOver accessibility that Apple provides. We ended up buying the Tecla Shield for Caleigh. With the van purchase and other happenings we haven't been very consistent with practice, but the last 5 days she has had time using it with good success. We also purchased the Orby switches from Origin Instruments. The cost was about $700 total. VoiceOver has its own issues, but I've played with it enough that it is getting easier.  Caleigh uses the interface with three switches. Forward, Reverse, and Select. The first time she used it, she understood exactly what to do. We haven't figured out how to take this setup out of the house with us easily yet. Overall I like it though. Will it be the end all for Caleigh? Probably not. VoiceOver is too quirky to make this an independent device for a five year old. Caleigh enjoys it though, so we will continue to practice the use of switches. We also plan on revisiting some of the more standard devices now that we have good switches in place.

In the video below Caleigh asks "to read" "Caleigh Can." This is a book I made for her August of last year.

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