Kitti is absolutely overjoyed at the overwhelming support over the past few days. Thank you so much for the subscriber requests, messages, testimonials and letters. We compiled them into a Word document so that she can use the text dictation feature on her iPad to listen to them, like one would listen to an audio book.
Kitti uses several tech tools to help her learn and communicate. If a word is easier to write than to try to speak, she may type it into her phone and show it to the person she’s communicating with. She watches Netflix with subtitles on, so that she can attempt to understand the fast dialogue. Seeing the words and hearing them at the same time can help with reconnection. Whether she truly comprehends the storyline is unclear at this time. What we do know is she that she still thinks Brad Pitt is hot (based on repeated hand gestures over her heart whenever he is onscreen).
Facebook also offers a text to speech functionality within their app, although Instagram does not. Kitti copies and pastes friend’s comments on her paintings into her phone to listen, and then typically uses emojis to respond. We never realized that emojis are also dictated – and she has gotten used to hearing texts like “Love you! Red heart. Red heart. Red heart” coming from the speakerphone, or “Get well soon! Happy face with crying eyes”. And yes – she’s even heard “smiling pile of poo”, which always sends her into high-pitch laughter.
In the early stages of Kitti’s recovery, we made a booklet of Kitti’s photos and her interests, hobbies, and pursuits to help doctors and therapists know not only what she looked like pre-accident (without swelling), but so that they could incorporate them into physical and occupational therapies. For instance, when Kitti was wheelchair bound, her occupational therapist played Jenga with her (Kitti’s favorite) to gauge how Kitti’s mind was processing decision making, risk taking, and other functioning skills. This game also worked small finger movements, which is controlled by a different part of the brain. At that point, Kitti was only able to use her non-dominant left hand, as her right had no functionality. It was Jenga that caused her to stand up for the first time from her wheelchair (to make the move that won the game, of course).
How someone speaks is a bit more difficult to illustrate or describe. We rely heavily on the video below to have Kitti’s speech therapists get to know her – everything from her speech cadence to her pronunciation. Kitti filmed this video in 2018. Her final words are especially poignant at this point in her journey. See the passion. See the shining light inside of her. Thank YOU for your passion for Kitti, and for helping to shine a light on the importance of her long term care and future contributions in the USA.