We've had some wonderful specialists evaluating Cooper and bringing over devices to try, along with a device that Coop's mom had seen another child use called an Eye Gaze Communication Device. This device is activated when the person looks at a picture on the screen and then makes a noise such as a sound or a spoken phrase. It can be used for many things: to teach someone how to control their eyes better, to teach someone the sounds associated with an object, or even to help give someone a voice to interact with others. For example, a person could look at a picture of a cup on the screen and the device could say "I would like a drink."
Cooper had a trial with the Eye Gaze device and did very well. After a series of questions, a speech therapist programmed the device to say some familiar phrases when Cooper looked at colored boxes on the screen. Cooper seemed to quickly learn the cause and effect of looking at the boxes. Then the therapist began to put pictures of objects on the screen that made a noise when Cooper held his gaze on them long enough. (a dog, a cat, a train, etc.) We quickly noticed that Cooper wouldn't look at the object when the background was white. As soon as the background was changed to a color he would look at it and activate the sound.
Once he began responding to the objects with color behind them on the full screen, the therapist made the picture smaller and smaller, increasing the difficulty for Cooper in having to find them with his eyes. Each time the picture had a white background he didn't look at it. As soon as the color background was added, he looked at the picture and the associated sound was activated. When the picture got to 1/4 it's original size, all the therapists in the room, his mom and his nurse cheered. Then, the therapist said she wanted to try 1/8 the original size and if Cooper could activate that, then he would prove he has the capacity to learn language. She put up a picture of a cat 1/8 the size with a white background and he didn't respond. She changed the background color to purple and we heard "Meow!" Cooper had found the image at 1/8 the size. The speech therapists were impressed! You can see Cooper doing this in the videos/ picture below.
Cooper has also been able to activate an iPad at his recent evaluations. He was shown that when he touched it, music would play. He reached over and touched it to activate the music repeatedly. It was so purposeful that all the therapists looked at each other and said "Did you see that?" There was no mistaking that Cooper wanted to hear the music! He even smiled when he made it come on and moved his head around to see the iPad.
We are still in the evaluation process and developing a home school program for Cooper, but things have been very encouraging! He will be getting an iPad loaded with various programs for him and the Eye Gaze Communication Device very soon on a trial basis. Therapists will also be coming over to help teach him how to use the devices and teach his parents how to program them too.