Daddy Writes about His Daughter’s Disability

Another book repost…not about autism, but an in-depth look at a family whose daughter uses a Speech Generating Device to speak. Schuyler is now a teenager and I still love to read her dad’s blog and see what she is up to! She now uses an ipad to communicate. If you have a child that is non-vocal currently or does not use speech to communicate, speech generating devices are opening doors for these kiddos! It’s so exciting to see kids learn how to communicate!


I recently read a book, “Schuyler’s Monster” about a father’s experiences with his daughter, Schuyler, and her disability. Robert Rummel-Hudson refers to his daughter’s disability as a “monster” throughout the book that left her unable to communicate verbally. His honesty regarding what he went through before, during, and after diagnosis offers real understanding for professionals and may allow parents to feel understood or not alone. Although some parents and professionals may not like his opinion about disabilities or religion, I found the book to be inspiring and full of hope. Schuyler’s parents never give up on helping her have her own voice through a speech generating device. “Schuyler’s Monster” is a book for all individuals who work with kids who have disabilities.

And if the book leaves you wondering what is going on now for Schuyler, you can read Robert’s blog to find out more!

Family Donates Speech Generating Device to Jackson Autism Center

Recently, a local Madison family donated their child’s speech generating device to Jackson Autism Center. Lauren and Greg Watkins explained that the communication device had been helpful to their daughter, but her speech had improved so much that they no longer felt it was necessary for her to use it to be understood. Lauren said Dr. Mullican had assisted them in getting the device and they wanted the opportunity to help other kids find their voice.

It was so exciting to sit down and have a conversation with their daughter, my former student, about her friends and angry birds (of course). I became her teacher when she was 4. When I first met her, she had three words in her vocabulary and lots of babbling. Now, she is 10, boy crazy, writing in a diary, and sharing her own personal thoughts!

What a great present to give someone- the opportunity to communicate! These devices solely dedicated to communication can cost upwards of $2500. To have one accessible at JAC is a dream come true for families. What better way to find out if this will work for your child than to have access to it during intervention sessions. Finding out how your child will respond before making such a large investment or having Medicaid purchase it will be so helpful!

Thank you Watkins family for sharing your communication device as well as the hope for one day not needing it and helping other families!