(Looking for another way to help? Put a Schuyler's Fund button on your own site.)
We are currently raising money for an augmentative speech device for Schuyler, most likely either the Prentke Romich Vantage Plus or the DynaVox Series 4. Either device should help facilitate several things for Schuyler. First of all, they would give her a voice, one that could be understood by anyone, and would allow her to communicate with the world at large for the first time in her life. Secondly and more importantly, these devices would provide a learning opportunity for Schuyler to actually develop language skills through increasingly advanced language-building processes that utilize a core vocabulary and a pattern-oriented interface. Both devices cost about seven thousand dollars, with extended warranties costing between a thousand and two thousand dollars.
Our insurance company will not cover an Augmentative Speech Device, although that denial is being appealed. Similarly, the school district is willing to discuss purchasing a much cheaper device, but one that does not facilitate the advanced language skills and core vocabulary. They are willing to help her obtain a device that will speak words and phrases for her, but are balking at the more expensive device that will help her develop language skills. The device that the school is interested in pursuing has a language skill level of approximately two and a half years of age. Schuyler is five.
NOTE: Schuyler met her goal in April. Thanks to everyone who helped out!
See Schuyler trying out an Augmentative Speech Device. (Quicktime, 16 MB)
Vantage demo we put together for Schuyler's school meeting. (Quicktime, 24 MB)
(Note: As in the past, any donation money left over after the purchase of Schuyler's speech device will continue to be kept in a separate savings account, to be used for her further medical expenses, travel expenses for doctors' visits, etc.)
Thank you for your interest in Schuyler's situation. Here are a few links to entries that I've written about her over the past two years.
The Answer -- 41 -- Some days it catches me. -- Forty-one Redux -- Mo. -- Bug Fairy -- The island. -- Note to Schuyler, Christmas 2004 -- Fuck. -- A little lightning never hurt anyone. -- Secrets