Caleb is twenty years old and lives with his mom and younger sister in upstate New York. He loves to listen to music and enjoys conducting music as well as watching old TV shows, like: I love Lucy, Brady Bunch, and Mark Lowry.
Caleb was born with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and at 14, developed catatonia. Catatonia is the loss of different skills, including the ability to communicate meaningfully.
“I used to love to talk to people, so to lose that ability was terrible. It would take me forever to say even a few words, and by the time something came out of my mouth, the other person might not be listening anymore. Or, the wrong word might come out, because I couldn’t remember what it was I meant to say. It was frustrating for everybody, and I got bummed out sometimes,” said Caleb.
In 2017 Caleb received a speech device. It took him a while to figure it out, but he has worked hard at it and it’s getting easier. Caleb says that the Catatonia makes him more confused some days, which means it is hard for him to find particular buttons on the device. For those days, his device has a page with fewer choices and is more specific to answers he will need for school.
“My device has allowed me to take part in school and home life in ways I couldn’t without it. Even if I have a difficult time finding the right word to choose, I have a way to get someone’s attention and let others know I’m trying to say something.
Caleb’s Augmentative Communication Specialty Account Manager at Numotion, Lauren is one of his old speech therapists. “Lauren is great because she has known me for years and can tailor the device for me,” said Caleb. “She has worked with my current speech therapists for a long time and that close relationship means issues get addressed easily.”
Caleb uses his device in school with help from his aide, and at home with help from his Mom. He loves to make people laugh, so when his device was programmed they made sure to include jokes. His little sister, Hannah also has a speech device and they use them together at the dinner table.
“I love being able to use my device to be a part of the conversation. Finally, I can get people’s attention and be part of the group without needing to act out. I even use it when I go to the doctor, to greet them and let them know how I’m doing,” said Caleb.

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