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iPads help kids with needs

Emily Hepner
Features Writer

Children with autism become more engaged when given iPads.
Children with autism become more engaged when given iPads.

Raising a child with autism can take a financial toll on some families. One family told CNN that they spend about $1,000 a month for all of the different therapies that their son goes to. Some insurance companies will cover most visits to the doctors and to see therapists, but they won’t cover everything.
Fortunately, there are a variety of grants and other forms of funding to help families that have a child with autism. One of the more interesting forms of funding is a grant that provides these families with an iPad.
“Something I’ve seen often with kids with autism is that they love electronics. That’s why it’s so cool that there’s a grant that allows families to receive an iPad,” said alumni Emily Breanna. The price of an iPad can range from as low as $330 to close to $1,000. For most families, that amount of money could be used to pay bills, not for a pricey electronic.
One organization that provides families with a child that has autism with iPads is Danny’s Wish. This organization is run by Danny, a 15-year-old boy with autism, and his parents. Danny’s wish is for other kids and people affected by autism to love and enjoy life as much as he does. The organization wants to help these people out by “providing life enhancing resources and experiences for kids and families that deal with autism and autism related spectrum disorder.” What they would like to do is raise $50,000 so that they can give out 100 iPads to families.

Danny’s Wish flyer.
Danny’s Wish flyer.

The organization does provide an application online for families to fill out. There are some requirements in order to be eligible; they are: 1) a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, 2) residency in the United States, 3) for the child to be minimally verbal or non-verbal, 4) an income of less than $100,000 and lastly 5) access to a computer and an iTunes account.
If you’re not familiar with the characteristics of the autism spectrum, it may seem odd that one of the requirements is for the child to be minimally verbal or non-verbal. An attribute affected by autism is “a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others,” states the Autism Society website. iPads can download apps, hence the reason for access to a computer and iTunes, that can help these kids better communicate and express themselves. These apps provide a way for these kids to speak, a source for them to draw out their feelings and thoughts and for them to write them out.
Not only that, but they also are a source of learning. Bridging Apps is a group of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers that share their stories on how they are using different forms of technology with people in their lives who have special needs. The website contains many success stories of how families received the iPads and how they have affected their life.
One particular story is about a little boy named John, who has both autism and ADHD. His mother wrote his success story and talked about how John has often said how he wished his “brain worked right” and that he wasn’t “so goofy.” As a mother she said these were “heartbreaking” words to hear and as reader of the story it was very saddening to know that he believes that his brain doesn’t work right and that being goofy is a bad trait to have.
His mother downloaded the app, “Footsteps2Brilliance,” which has positively changed the way John learns. With this program, his mom found him to be “more engaged” because he knew it would help him with the Book Buddies and the games that are to be completed at the end. She also said that her son is in constant motion and the iPad really “grounds” him.
There are many arguments against technology; many people argue that it is making us lazy and “frying our brains.” But it can’t be disputed that technology is providing something amazing for kids within the autism spectrum.

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