The Anna Shaw Children’s Institute (ASCI), part of Hamilton Health Care System, is a Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) Certified Center of Excellence and is the first in Georgia with this distinction.
LAMP is an augmentative alternative communication (AAC) approach designed to give individuals who are nonverbal or have limited verbal abilities a method of independently expressing themselves through the use of a speech-generating device. There are no cognitive prerequisites for implementing the LAMP approach. Intervention can begin at the cause-and-effect level and systematically build upon the stages of natural language development.
Providers and patients at ASCI are using this high-tech communication system to allow patients to quickly relay messages to caregivers in order to meet immediate needs and improve ability to communicate beyond requesting by expressing emotions, negotiating, commenting and engaging in meaningful interactions.
“We’re excited to have the certification, but more than that, it’s so valuable for this communication system to be available to our patients and families,” said Terri Woodruff, executive director of ASCI. “By learning to use this communication system, children will experience fewer tantrums, which improves the quality of life for non-verbal children and their caregivers.”
The device features auditory feedback, robust vocabulary (3000-plus words that take no more than a sequence of 3 buttons to access), portability and user-friendly interface and a focus on motor planning rather than requiring the user to have a strong understanding of semantic relationships.
According to Woodruff, there was a significant need in the region for the system. There are a high number of young patients with no reliable method to communicate. Many are using behaviors to communicate, which are displayed in many different forms such as leading their caregivers by hand to the child’s desires, displaying dissatisfaction with lack of communication by having tantrums or climbing to obtain desired items – all causing a high level of frustration in both the child and parent.
Two of the five LAMP-certified professionals in the state of Georgia are therapists at ASCI. They include Hannah Cannon, lead pediatric therapist, and Laurie Shaw, speech therapist. “Hannah and Laurie are stellar therapists,” said Woodruff. “To have forty percent of Georgia’s LAMP-certified professionals providing care at Anna Shaw Children’s Institute speaks to the dedication of our providers and the quality of services we offer.”