Health Plus: Speak Your Mind - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Speak Your Mind

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A huge part of parenting is just being able to talk with your child. But communicating can be a challenge when children are dealing with impairments.

That's where a class at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo comes in.

Here's Health Plus.

For children who are non-verbal like Jered Lotts, saying 'good night' is still possible thanks to assistive technology.

"He used to talk and then when he was three he gradually lost his speech and so when he was four we were able to get him into therapy and working with him and eventually got this communication device," said Jered's mom, Christa Lotts.

The 7-year-old from Dike perfects using it with help from speech pathologists at Covenant's early developmental intervention.

"Knowing their form of communication as much as you know your form of communication is a huge key," said speech pathologist, Lindsay Phillips

Parents get training, too. A 6-week training course at Covenant walks them through the intricacies of AAA or augmentative and alternative communication.

It allows 6-year-old Daniel Reams of Dunkerton to talk with his family.

"I'm still learning. There's a lot of things on his device that I'm learning every time I get on it and explore you can download pictures, music, whatever and that's what he enjoys," said Daniel's mom, Sara Reams.

Lincoln Gassman uses it, too. The Dysart 9-year-old is on the autism spectrum.

"I think it took a lot and I think he saw it as work and he was like, 'Why are you doing that, Mom? You don't use that. You know, get that away from me.' But more and more we used it then he was more welcome to using it with us,'' said Lincoln's mom Jennifer Gassman.

"One thing you have to realize is when you get a device it's a new language. You know it'd be like us going to Mexico and being expected to speak Spanish right away, you know. We can't just give the device to the child and expect them to take off with it," said speech pathologist Abby Waldschmitt.

Pathologists say the devices have about a 5-year life span because technology is always improving, which means better conversations to come for these kids.

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