Hannah is sixteen years old and lives in Upstate New York with her older brother, Caleb, and mom. She loves listening to music or audiobooks, dancing, and watching Youtube and enjoys time to herself so she usually hangs out with my iPad after school.
Hannah was born with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) and Autism. While this doesn’t make her any less cool, it does make some things in life more difficult. “I have a really hard time expressing myself. I can talk- but other people can’t always understand me. Sometimes I can’t remember what words to use, or what comes out of my mouth is a sentence someone else said earlier. Speaking takes a lot of work, and it gets frustrating sometimes,” said Hannah.
This year Hannah received a speech device. Her brother, Caleb has one too, and Hannah had played with it before, but she needed one especially for her. “I got my speech device right as school closed down from COVID-19, so I had a lot of time to spend with it. It was easy for me to figure out how to use it. Now I use it both at home and school. At school, my aide helps me use it to participate in class. It’s programmed with different words for my classes. At home, though, I like to use it by myself. It’s a lot easier to ask for more snacks now! My device has a detachable speaker so Mom can have that in the kitchen and can hear me when I speak from another room. I get my space but can express myself as well,” said Hannah.
Hannah’s Augmentative Communication Specialty Account Manager at Numotion, Lauren is one of her old speech therapists. “My AAC happens to be one of my old speech therapists. Lauren is great because she has known me for years and can tailor the device for me,” said Hannah. “She has worked with my current speech therapists for a long time and that close relationship means issues get addressed easily!”
When COVID-19 shut schools down, Hannah missed her teachers and friends. However, as someone who enjoys time by herself, she enjoyed being able to do school by herself, and not have to be around people all day.
“I have a quiet voice usually, so people talk over me a lot. Now they can’t! One of the best functions of my device is how it lets people around me know what I am feeling. Talking is even harder when I’m upset or in pain, so sometimes all I could do was scream or cry,” said Hannah. “Whoever was helping me would have to try and guess what was wrong. It was awful. Now, I use my device. Being able to tell someone when I don’t feel well or when I’m angry is a gift. My life is so much better now that I have my speech device.”

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