Visiting Akshaya Prathishtan, I knew that the wheels of change had been set in motion. There was none of the initial resistance and skepticism about using Avaz, only progress and communication. The kids have only been using the device for a month and a half, yet the developments have been incredibly encouraging. Interestingly, most of the children are hearing impaired, and therefore the the effectiveness of a voice output device was suspect. Yet even in the short time span, not only has communication increased, but simultaneously so has the will to do so.
We had a meeting with around 10 children (current users and potential users) along with their parents. One child, Jyothi, who has never spoken at all save a couple of words in all her 14 years is suddenly attempting to speak. Although the words are not comprehensible, she is making a very strong attempt at trying to speak. Her mother who had also come there was extremely happy with her progress and was very happy to share her experience with all others there.
This is a very heartening response to the those who believe that a voice output device would impede speech development – on the contrary it has resulted in speech development within barely a month of usage! Most moving was hearing her parents express their heartfelt happiness and excitement about their child’s improved speech.
Other children also tried it for the first time that day. They were able to quickly understand the text mode and even started using it to type their names, parents’ names etc. One of them even used the clear button to clear the message box after using it ! He was so keen to use it that he refused to give it to the next in the queue !
It is moments like these that stay with us, and show us that with a little help, encouragement and an open mind, anything is possible.