Give kids a voice: iPads for Autism

by Autism Pensacola, Incorporated
Aiden using his iPad mini at home
Aiden using his iPad mini at home

Because of your generous support, 34 children have now recieved an iPad to give them a voice!  This past summer 2 families whose children did not have access to an iPad were presented with their 'voice'.  In addition, apps that help with communication were granted to several families who had iPads but could not afford the expensive program to use the iPad for communication. The note below gives you a great summary of the power of your gift through GlobalGiving to iPads for Autism!

From the heart of a grateful mom:

We were selected to receive an IPad Mini this summer from Autism Pensacola's 'Give Kids a Voice' program. Our son Aiden is 10 years old and non-verbal. He was using an AAC device(to produce speech) that, for him, was bulky and heavy for him to realistically carry around, even with a strap. The Ipad Mini along with the Proloquo2Go app have allowed him to carry the IPad with ease to use as an ACC Device (talker) for him all day. What a difference it makes!  

The IPad Mini has a guided access option which helps deter him from using the IPad for recreational use when needed, especially when he takes it to school. The professionals (teachers, aides, and\/or therapists) who work with him at his school have learned to program his IPad to gear it towards words or items that he uses in school. It is easy to take pictures with the camera and upload them to the App. Aiden visually discriminates real pictures better than the cartoon type pictures. He is able to ask for what he wants with the IPad Mini and app. He has a communication page for home or after school setting which is often different than his school setting. For school, he requests his preferred item(s), drink (water bottle), lunch choices, teacher or aide, bathroom and/or places he utilizes at school. His teachers are thrilled to see him using his 'voice' so much more. At home, we have pictures of our bathroom, his preferred toys, foods, and daily utilized items at home, and recently we programmed his app on the IPad to say Trick or Treat for the Halloween events he attended. What a joy it was to see him participate this way!

The ability of the app with the IPad mini provided to us allows us to model his choices if he is not fluent in them yet and in different settings if he doesn't initialize independently. It is good practice for him and gives him a voice!  Thank you for being a part of this HUGE difference in my son's life!

Hugs from a proud teacher
Hugs from a proud teacher
'The iPad keeps my daughter engaged and learning.'

Summer is sizzling here in Pensacola! Like the past 9 summers, many of our kids are busy and learning at our Summer Learning Lab. This summer, in response to the needs of many of our children, we are happy to announce that Give Kids a Voice has expanded. At our Summer Learning Lab Camp, we have realized that some families have an iPad, provided by another program or perhaps a generous grandparent. Other families save and save to purchase the iPad, only to discover they don't have the funds needed for apps that will support communication.

As a result of this need, Autism Pensacola recently expanded our program to offer support for families recommended by our Summer Learning Lab staff who were in need of either an iPad for communication or a communication app to go on a device they already own. All families were required to have individualized training to ensure they understood how to use the iPad for communication.  This usually means blocking other uses of the device, at least until the child understands the value of the communication tool.  We have just awarded 2 new iPads as well as provided 5 families with communications apps and training on their use.

"We are ecstatic to receive this app for our children" state Angela O., mother of two children on the autism spectrum as well as a new baby.  "Both our children need to work on conversation skills. We've tried the free communication apps, but they don't provide the tools we need.  We plan to have their teachers help with the ProLoQuo App and are confident we will see a burst of communication.  Thank you, Autism Pensacola and Global Giving donors, for providing this opportunity!"

Autumn W. is so excited to add a communication app to the iPad she already received after taking our Parent Empowerment Program.  "I know this is going to be the tool that truly makes the iPad our son's voice. We are so grateful!"

We are looking forward to sharing even more success stories in the next few months as these families put these tools to use. Thank you for your support of 'Give Kids a Voice'! You are the reason these families have so much hope this summer!

Your gift makes it possible. Thank you.
Your gift makes it possible. Thank you.
April reminds us to love, accept and respect!
April reminds us to love, accept and respect!

Happy Spring!  April is known as Autism Awareness Month, though you will also hear about Autism Acceptance Month or Autism Respect Month. No matter what you say, autism is an important cause to be aware of and all those living with autism deserve and need Acceptance and Respect.  They have many challenges and many gifts. Both of these can benefit from the gift of an iPad.  A child who doesn't speak can literally 'find a voice' through using the iPad as a communication tool. A child who is gifted in a particular area can explore further into their favorite topic through the iPad--gaining knowledge that may lead to a future career.  

Autism Pensacola is excited to announce that the 2014 Give Kids a Voice Global Giving campaign raised double the amount from the year before! We received just under three thousand dollars from Thanksgiving until the end of the year! Thanks to your generous donations Autism Pensacola, Inc will be able to provide at least six iPads to families who have a child with autism.  These iPads will aid in improving the child's means of communication and learning.  On behalf of everyone at API, THANK YOU! 

Because of this success, Autism Pensacola will soon roll out a new way for families in our area to qualify to recieve iPads.  In addtion to offering iPads to our graduates of our powerful Parent Empowerment Program, we will soon begin offering a mini class that trains parents specifically on the iPad as a tool for increasing communication, social and academic skills. Graduates of this new program will also be able to apply to recieve an iPad because of your generosity.  

Thank you for making a difference for so many living with autism!

So excited! A tool to unlock my child
So excited! A tool to unlock my child's world!
Your year-end donation makes a difference!!
Your year-end donation makes a difference!!
Wishing you a joyous Holiday Season!
Wishing you a joyous Holiday Season!

Dear Friend,

As a board member of Autism Pensacola, I wanted you to know the iPad is invaluable for families living with autism.  The iPad is so much more than a communication tool.  For my son Matthew, it is like a security blanket and a true Godsend.  He handles new and challenging situations like a pro with the iPad and for that we are so grateful.  We also use it to facilitate therapy and homework. 

We are fortunate that we have been able to purchase iPads for Matthew as he needed them, but many families don't have that luxury.  Your gifts to 'Global Giving-Give Kids a Voice' offer  families a chance to improve communication with their loved one and open new avenues of communication and learning.  Matthew's iPad has been a conduit for us to more easily enter his world and for him to better cope in ours. Please consider a gift and helping change the lives of a family living with autism.

Thank you so much for your support of Give Kids a Voice! We wish you and all you love a wonderful holiday season!

Thank you,

Brett Parra MD
"Matthew's Dad"

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Organization Information

Autism Pensacola, Incorporated

Location: Pensacola, FLORIDA - USA
Project Leader:
Susan Byram
Pensacola, Florida United States