Tyler wants his cuddles. Everyday, when the 15 year-old comes home from school, he and his mom, spend some quality time together. It calms him down. It's part of his routine. And Tyler, who has autism, doesn't like to deviate from his routine. But today, Tyler has a date with his green machine.
Tyler's green machine is a speech generating device, a rectangular computer with images of words. The devices range from no-tech -- a few pictures on laminated paper -- to high tech, talking computers with icons representing thousands of words . The Prentke Romich Company makes the green machine, a model that costs between $7,000 and $8,000. With a press of a button Tyler can tell his mom that his tummy hurts, he's tired, or he wants a donut.
Tyler's mother, Karen Kaye-Beall, said some parents steer clear of the devices because they're worried their children will stop speaking for themselves. But she said the machine lets her know what's on Tyler's mind.
Kaye-Beall is the director of the Foundation for Autism Support and Training. A few months ago, she set up a showroom for the devices in her Montgomery County home.
Jessica Gould reports...