Sunday, December 4, 2011

Complete vocal rest with a toddler

Well it hasn't happened yet, but I have had time to give it some thought. I don't think it will be an ideal situation, but with a little creativity we will make it work.

I have had an intermittent hoarse voice for eight months now. I didn't really realize it was a regular occurrence until the summer. Finally in the fall, I had it checked out. A small, five millimeter cyst-like bump resides on one of my false vocal cords. The false vocal cords are next to the true vocal cords. Everyone I talked to recommended I have it taken out and soon. And with the surgery comes almost certain complete vocal rest. This means no speaking, whispering, laughing, crying, throat clearing, or whistling.

Of course my older children think it will be great to have mom not be able to speak for the five day minimum. My toddler doesn't know what to think. I know it will be hard and she will be confused.

After thinking a lot about this no talking, I wondered what kind of technology could help me out. It occurred to me that there might be a neat iPad app designed for autistic children that I could use. After perusing the App Store and reading various reviews, I found iclickitalk. It was on sale due to an upcoming update. I decided to try it out.

With iclickitalk I can add my own categories, upload my own images, and most importantly record my own voice. Because the recording length has no limit, I can record single words at a time, a sentence, a rhyme, song or story.

It has been fun customizing the iclickitalk app and also a good thing to keep my mind off surgery. We even took some special pictures for it.

I even added a few phrases directed towards my older kids. Though I expect most of my communication with them will be in written form. With the new OS for the Apple products we own, we had noted a new "Messages" app. We hadn't given it much consideration. Finally I read about it and realized it would be a perfect way for me to communicate with my older children. It works much like text messaging, but can use wifi and your Apple ID and email address. This may be the way my seven year old learns her way around a keyboard.

My husband and I have always used "chatting" as one way to communicate. Gmail chat is what we use nowadays. I expect it will help us out during this time too.

Complete vocal rest, but not silence. My fingers will have to do my talking for a little while, tapping along a keyboard with a little signing mixed in.

Update 12/11/11 - Surgery went fine and the surgeon actually was able to perform the surgery without touching my vocal cords. I wasn't required to have complete vocal rest, though it felt a little strained to speak. While I could still talk, it was nice to have my little rhymes and things prerecorded for us.

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