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Johnathan is a total care client who has used a wheelchair for his entire life. He is nonverbal, has poor vision, and needs assistance to change clothes and a tube to be fed. It has always been assumed that he is unable to comprehend or communicate. That is, until Speech Language Therapist Pam Chapman devised a plan to determine if he can express more than we realize.
She gave him the simple instruction to arch his head back to the left wants to say no and right if he wants to say yes. “Can you do that?” she asked him. He arched right. “Was that real? Johnathan did you just understand that?” and again, he nodded to the right, all the while sporting a huge grin because, for the first time in his life, he was heard.
Johnathan’s parents have always had the inclination to explore possible vehicles of communication for their son, who has always exhibited signs of emotional and intellectual capacity beyond his ability to convey. However, they did not have the tools and resources to begin. This is why Las Trampas offers communication classes as part of its Adult Day Program: to bring families closer together by bridging the gap of communication that exists between them and their non-verbal loved ones.
Chapman and the rest of the Las Trampas staff continue to work with Johnathan, and have been enjoying the vibrant personality and sense of humor that is finally beginning to surface. Johnathan loves to make jokes and he laughs often and always. He loves Mango Tango smoothies from Jamba Juice and absolutely adores his mother, who he lives with.
We are thrilled at the progress that Johnathan has already made in our communication program and we are so grateful for the chance to continue helping him discover his capabilities in order to lead a full life at home and in his community.