Twins Ciara and Seira Keay are deeply in tune with each other, which isn’t ideal when it comes to dealing with the combustive nature of their autism. A device provided by Satan’s Little Helper has changed things for the better.
The pair are non-verbal and were diagnosed with autism when they were three years old. It hasn’t been an easy childhood, despite their family’s best efforts. “We’ve been trying to go through the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to maximise their opportunity to communicate with the rest of the world,” explains dad Hamish. “We’ve hit so many roadblocks with the way the system is set up, so we turned to Satan’s Little Helper.” Hamish and his wife Mayuko have tried to provide their daughters with a regular upbringing. Sending them to mainstream school was the goal, but that was prevented by the lack of facilities to support them.
Now Ciara and Seira are at a special school, where they work hard on improving their counting and sentence structure. Their communication has also improved, thanks to a tablet provided by Satan’s Little Helper.
“It’s a massive help,” says Hamish. “The girls are taking to it like ducks to water. Before, they used a word board to communicate, but now they use a special app called TouchChat HD- AAC w/ WordPower that says the word for them, so they can form full sentences.
“This means the girls can practise annunciating their words and attempt to verbally communicate with more confidence, which is a hugely positive change for all of us.”
Another plus is the reduced number of “meltdowns”.
“Our house is a lot calmer because they’re a lot less frustrated with their inability to communicate,” says Hamish. “We haven’t had as many meltdowns since we got the tablet, which is amazing. You can see the change in their behaviour all over their faces – and if it keeps one calm, the other will generally be calm too.” The tablet has also given Ciara and Seira more independence, and time to develop as individuals.
“They love being together, but they want to be their own people,” explains Hamish. “Now we can take one out on her own and we’re confident she won’t have a meltdown.”
Hamish and Mayuko say the device has taken a massive weight off their shoulders, and are excited to see how it can continue to help their daughters in the future.
The long-term goal is to get them fully verbal. Ciara and Seira are in the case of a speech-language therapist and are doing well. “The tablet should help support those goals at an accelerated rate,” says Hamish.