Communication technology has helped Coral Meza express herself.
With just the touch of a button, Coral Meza can share that her favorite color is pink and talk about her cat Olaf.
The St. Louisville teenager just started using a ProSlate 10 augmentative communication device in August and she’s still getting a feel for it.
But her mother, Laura Meza, is optimistic that she’ll be able to use it to meet new people and express herself.
“I think this will be good for her,” she said.
Coral, who attends Utica Junior High School, was diagnosed with Rett syndrome when she was five years old. The neurodevelopmental disorder affects movement and communication.
Her family first experimented with a communication device when she was 9 that allowed her to point to pictures on sheets of paper, but it wasn’t a good fit. For many years, Coral didn’t seem interested in communication technology, but as she became a teenager, she started getting curious about laptops and cell phones.
After an evaluation, her doctors suggested she try a ProSlate 10, which was customized to include information about her family, classmates and favorite restaurants and music.
At first she experimented by pushing all the buttons, but she’s started to use it to tell her teacher about her weekend when she gets to school on Monday.
Recently, she told her parents she was not feeling well and had pain in her mouth. A visit to the urgent care revealed she had strep throat.
“That alone was huge,” Laura said. “That helped a lot.”
Laura said she’s hoping that Coral’s story will help other families look into some of the different ways technology can give their child a voice.
“The most important thing is to keep considering it,” she said. “Just because they don’t have an interest today, doesn’t mean they won’t be interested later.”
If you have questions about technology, contact your LCBDD service coordinator to start the conversation.