Thursday, July 24, 2014

Casey's DynaVox is kaput

The last 3 days we have spent trying to get Casey's DynaVox (communication device) back to baseline.  Apparently he clicked on something on the Internet that he should not have--either an 'Ad On' or a link with a virus. 

Gene was on with DynaVox once or twice and it really seemed like it would just need to be reflashed--meaning they'd wipe the device clean and re-put on the software.  But that means sending it in. UGH.

Mel, at least I think it was her, thought that we could put Casey's pages on Colin's device so he wouldn't have to be without (Colin doesn't use his as often as Casey).  She said she'd be able to figure this out for us.  So, then went trying to figure out where his external hard drive was at school.  Nancy H and I went to school and found our way in and to where Paula's desk was and found the drive.  Whew!  Got to see Mr. Wyndorf one of Casey's middle school teachers and one of his all time favorites. 

The poor thing would open up multiple windows with weird stuff and then the screen would not allow us to close the windows so we'd have to use a keyboard/mouse to close it and restart, etc.  Gene did all sorts of poking around and cleaning up and scans.  At one point he did something with Norton Power Eraser and it removed the entire DynaVox software, yikes!  He was able to undo what he did and we got the software back.  Sometimes it would work okay.  Last evening he was on his communication pages AND his Google maps and it worked for about an hour.  Then out of no where it started opening up multiple weird windows and restarted itself.  This was right after Gene went out to go to the store, of course.  When he got back he managed to get the communication back.  Then it was time for bed.

So, Casey had school with Ashley at 9:00.  We thought at least the pages would work for him to do some school, but things were screwed up.  Multiple restarts and some prodding from Gene it worked.  But, Casey was pretty flustered and frustrated and I don't think they accomplished too much.  Decided not to have Ashley come back for the second two hours since we didn't think the device would hold up and Casey was too far gone to do any real work :)

In the meanwhile, Tami came to do school with Colin.  Had a hard time getting his switch reliable so they did some work on nouns and such with the switch and Tami pressing the switch with him.  We had promised that Colin could have a water gun fight if he worked well, so that's what we did.

Helen, Tami's daughter was not thrilled to have to participate with the water fight but I think she ended up having a good time.  At one point we had the boys, Tami, Helen, Nancy H, Gene, Aunt Ju and myself out there all squirting and running around!  Mel came in the middle of this and we went to ambush her but Tami tipped her off.  We got her anyway ;)

It took awhile but Mel managed to get Casey's pages on Colin's device.  She put buttons on each boys' page so it would be easy to get from one page set to another.  Woot, woot! 

This afternoon has been low-key.  Colin watching his shows.  Casey exploring Colin's DynaVox.  His Google Maps look totally different.  He also has been using Tux Paint (he used to have it on his) and Google Earth.

Gene dropped off the DynaVox at UPS.  Hopefully it will be there by the end of the day Monday, I think.  This is a huge thing for poor Casey.  Hopefully things will work smoothly and we'll get his device back soon.

This whole ordeal is making me think that we really do need to explore getting him a new device.  It's been about 5 years so he is "due."  I just don't know which direction to go in.  DynaVox again, Tobii, PRC, tablet, PC with eye gaze bar?  I think we need an evaluation done by a unbiased someone.  Looking into finding a center in New England that we could go to.  There just isn't anything in Vermont that would fit what Casey would need.  We're just too small of a state with a small population and probably a very low population of kids using assistive technology/augumentative communication.  So, maybe Boston again?  Maybe Helen Hayes in NY??   Hmmm...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Swim, swim, tired,tired.

Goal today was to do some cleaning up on the porch and to get the boys in the pool again.  Goals accomplished and now we are beat!  I can't believe how tiring doing a little yard work and getting the boys in the pool can be.  Plus, being out in the sun must have something to do with it.

Darn Moxie 'picked' me with her nails this morning at 5 AM.  I didn't sleep much after that.  Got up earlyish.  Took advantage of the quiet to take care of some things on my desk and pay bills.

Boys slept in.  Stirred them around 10:30 or so.  They watched a movie with Nancy while Gene and I did some things on the porch.  Redid the wood pile on the porch, threw out and recycled some paper/cardboard junk, put things away, swept, etc.  It's a drop in the bucket as to what needs to be done, but it's a start.  Got out the white table and washed the cushions. 

Beautiful day out so we went ahead and prepped the boys for the pool.  Since there was only Gene, myself and Nancy, we took the boys in one at a time.  Colin went first.  He definitely is more trepidacious  than he was last year and he didn't quite "love it" but he did good.  I'm sure he'd have more fun if Casey was in with him another person or two.  He didn't want to try the float but I made him, haha.

 Got Colin out and covered in towels and then it was Casey's turn.  He had started fussing about having to go in but once he was in, he was very happy (except when Nancy was taking his picture). 

I would have stayed in with him longer but my hands were getting tired holding him and Gene was to chicken to put him on the float.  Maybe next time we'll try it when we have more hands. 

Casey got his shower and then Colin did.  Nancy changed the sheets on the beds and we are all sitting here pooped out.  I still have formula to make and laundry to finish and things to pick up around here.  I'm hoping Gene will make something delicious for supper. 

Oh, AC called this morning.  They were going to Denali.  Then she called and talked to Casey later on and said it was cold and she was wearing a sweater.  She said Judy is taking tons of pictures so I hope to see some soon.  Really curious about their trip!  And, I'm sure Peggy is curious because she is heading to Alaska the end of August/beginning of September.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Car show

Today the boys slept in nice and late.  That's a good thing because I was fuzzy this morning after being nursey all night.  Actually, Colin slept better than Casey, which is kind of a reverse.  One of these days they will BOTH sleep well for me. 

Nancy H came at 2.  We let them laze around for a while and then got them washed up and dressed much to their chagrin.  They thought they'd get to stay dirty all day/night, ha ha. 

We decided to get out and go to the car show in Colchester at Mike's Auto.  Nice low-key, outside event in the evening.  So we headed out to the bay.  Finally found a place to park.  The lot we were in had a little path bypassing the barriers..we decided to try it although it was up a little hill.  Weeellll, Gene and Casey made it with the power chair but it was kind of scary watching them go up.  I started up with Colin's chair, pushing, pushing.  Didn't go too well until a couple that saw my struggle came over and pulled.  Thank you whoever you are!

Casey was actually kind of loud and grumpy while we walked though.  I think he was mad because he couldn't really use his DynaVox because it was so bumpy and his hand wouldn't stay properly in place.  Colin liked it but got bored after about 60 cars or so.  We saw Lynne Mazza and she said that there were way more than 100 cars there because this year they had to park down the middle of the strip and hadn't had to do that before.  Lots of Mustangs and lots of Camaros and so many other cool old and really old cars.  There was one car that we saw for sale for $95,000!!  When we had seen them all, we took the long way around because it wouldn't have been too pretty going downhill with the chairs.

Headed home after that and it was time for bed.  The end, good night!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mama gets out

Early this morning I did my usual thing and start a load of laundry.  Or, I should say, I tried to start a load.  The machine made it's dings, but no lights came on and it wouldn't run.  ARGH!!  Gene did some Googling and emptied out the drain and it worked!!!   

Yes, I actually got out of the house today and out of Milton, whoo hooo!  I went to Essex Junction and dropped my eyeglasses off to get reshaped from when I stepped on them in the middle of the night when we were at the Reilly's house in mid May!  Went to the credit union and picked up my new debit card (our bank account was hacked a couple of weeks ago and we needed new cards with new numbers).  The teller had me use the ATM machine to make sure the card worker.  What a trip!  I haven't used an ATM in probably 15 or more years!!  I guess I don't get out much, and when I do get out I use my debit card.  I was nervous that I wouldn't know how to use it but I guess it's like riding a bike.  Then I hit Big Lots.  I managed to spend $50 without really buying anything, ha ha.  Let's see, I bought a set of pool floats, a solar butterfly for my front garden, some Swiss Rolls (I always crave junk food when I go to Big Lots--not sure why), shower curtain liner, table cloth, and a dog leash.  I bought Casey dental floss, lip balm and new ear buds (neon green) and I found Colin some of those reusable ice cube thingys and lip balm.  And yes, they were thrilled!!  Oh, Colin likes to use "hot packs" in the winter and "cold packs" in the summer so these ice cube sheets are perfect for him. 

Headed home after that.  I was probably gone 2 hours at the most but it was nice.

Casey had just finished his first half of summer school with Ashley and was on his break.  Colin was watching a movie and getting ready for Tami to come for his school.

Casey wasn't the most cooperative and I didn't get to hear much of what they did, but we'll see Ashley on Monday and catch up.  Not sure of their outing on Monday.  Casey got obsessed on riding the city bus so he wouldn't tell Ashley where else he was interested in going.  That is something we had talked about but couldn't convince Casey that it was something that could happen right away.  We have to investigate when the bus comes to Milton, where it goes, when, and when the handicap bus comes here.  Nancy discovered some program that could make this happen so we'll have to read up on it and see how to get this going for Casey.  He rode the city bus a short way several years ago, in Burlington, and has always wanted to do it again. 

Tami (SLP)came for Colin.  We spent much of the time positioning the table and the DynaVox and his switch.  Maybe by the time school starts again we'll have the best positioning down pat.  Since we got the new beds right before school ended we hadn't had much of a change to get used to a new configuration and routine.  Struggled to get Colin to write a sentence...lots of owws and switch repositioning but it's all a learning curve for Tami.  She hasn't worked directly with Colin since maybe 2nd grade???  She's worked with him on Math via VGo but Priscilla was doing the direct things with Colin while Tami was seeing him on the VGo.  So this is a good thing because she'll have a better understanding of him and how complicated things are and can bring that back to the team so have a better sense of Colin's skills.

Aunt Chris leaves for her Alaska trip tomorrow so she was here this afternoon to hang out and say her "Goodbyes" "and "I'll miss yous."

Sorry no pictures today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

 Finally got a picture of Casey and Julie in her Really Cool Nurse shirt. 

 Casey liked sitting with me on the couch but was NOT happy about pictures.

See him roll his eyes?   Well, we tried.