Cherry on Top

glass of soda with cherrySunday night I was reading a magazine in our living room when Clay came in and handed me a cup. His way of saying, “Please get me something to drink.” A good soldier, I followed him back to the kitchen and got him in front of the keyboard.

“What do you want to drink?”


“What flavor?”

“Black cherry.”

I poured about a third of a can into his cup and sent him on his way. (We’ve learned to fill his cup a little at a time because of his penchant for dumping liquids.) I went back to my magazine.

About five minutes later, in the back of my head, I heard the keyboard’s robotic voice, “black cherry.” I was engrossed in my article, and the sound only half registered. A minute later I heard again, “black cherry.”

The second one caught my attention. Clay was in the kitchen by himself. To this point, he had only typed when we provided support for his arm. Unless the dog was thirsty, Clay was in there hitting the “speak” button on his own.

A moment later, Clay came wandering in and handed me a cup. We went back to the kitchen together. I cleared the “black cherry” that was still there from our last exchange, and asked, “What flavor do you want?”

I supported his hand while he typed “black cherry.” Then, I moved my hand away. He pressed the “speak” button on his own, unsupported.

Goose bumps ran up my body. If he is hitting “speak” without support—he may eventually be able to type completely on his own.

A bigger question was hanging in the air. Was he hitting “speak” on his own to tell me he wanted more soda? Was he initiating use of the keyboard to get what he wants rather than waiting for us to make him use it? Too soon to know for sure.

Stay tuned.

Photo credit: Marcin Whicary. Attribution.



  1. #1 by Jessica Dierkes on August 13, 2010 - 12:43 am

    Wow! That is great. i am a junior councelor at clays camp and clay has given us some laughs on his keyboard and he does great with it. Us councelors have watched him and we think with practice he will end up typing all on his own pretty quickly. It is a fun and great experience working with clay .

    • #2 by Larry Blumenthal on August 13, 2010 - 1:03 pm

      Thanks for your kind thoughts. We’re glad you had such a great experience working with our little guy this summer. We appreciate everything all of the counselors did to make sure he had a great time at camp.

  2. #3 by Jessica Dierkes on August 18, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    I would havae loved to but I am only in middle school so my school doesnt end until 2:45 and i dont get home until 3:15. I am sorry and I hope you find someone.

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