Give kids a voice: iPads for Autism

by Autism Pensacola, Incorporated
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Santa visits with one of our friends
Santa visits with one of our friends

As we wrap up another year here at Autism Pensacola, we are reflecting on so many blessings!  This year has been a big one for us with lots of change. Our main change is we have been 'rebranded'!  Our new logo reflects the heart of who we are--a source of friendship and support that connects families with what they need when they are facing life with autism.  

 

Our Give Kids a Voice program that you support is one piece of the puzzle.  Many families in our area have heard about the benefits of an iPad for their child, but do not have the funds to purchase one. That is where you come in and through your support, Autism Pensacola provides that needed iPad.  The iPad may be a voice, a friend or a tutor.  

 

This Holiday Season will be brighter for 6 families who were selected by our Kids for Camp lead teachers. These children are preschoolers and early elementary students who need a voice to increase their ablity to interact with the world. Your support of Give Kids a Voice made this happen! Thank you!

 

Autism Pensacola is here to connect families with resources that matter. Give Kids a Voice is one of the most concrete ways we do that. Thank you for being a part of making a difference in so many lives.

Autism friendly Santa visits make a difference!
Autism friendly Santa visits make a difference!
Families love connecting at Autism Pensacola!
Families love connecting at Autism Pensacola!

Links:

Micah loves to draw on his iPad!
Micah loves to draw on his iPad!

As CEO of Autism Pensacola, I see many parents of children with autism every day.  Often their child is with them. One thing that has changed over the past few years is how often that child has an iPad with them when they stop by our office.  Parents rely on iPads to engage children who would otherwise make it impossible to run errands or to sit through a training. Children are able to work on learning apps they think are fun games, watch favorite movies and even create artwork on their iPads. Some do use them as communication devices but they are also much more. They are peace and quiet on a long car trip. They are something familiar and reliable on a chaotic day.  They are engaging learning tools.

Your support of Give kids a voice has provided iPads for 40 children over the past 4 years. Autism Pensacola has an application process to ensure the neediest families get these iPads-Families who would not have access to all the benefits of an iPad if it weren't for the generosity of donors like you.  Thank you for continuing to provide so much through this electronic device. Because of you, many families have more tools at their fingertips. Thank you for making a difference!

Learning about colors on an iPad is fun!!
Learning about colors on an iPad is fun!!
Video modeling at meals has been a huge help!
Video modeling at meals has been a huge help!

We received an iPad through Autism Pensacola's 'Give kids a Voice' project.  What a blessing it has been!

The iPad has been awesome for our busy little guy. He never sits still to watch TV, so the portability of the iPad has made it possible to sneak in small snippets of learning here and there. We're not quite to AAC level yet, but we're working on it as well as picture schedules and a ‘First & Then’ board. These last 2 things have helped so much with transitions and the anxiety G gets when he may not know or understand what is happening next or why he can't have what he wants Right Now.

The iPad has been great at school for downtimes like waiting for the bus--this time used to work him up into a frenzy--the aid would have to strap him in to his seat stiff as a board, purple-faced, kicking, screaming, biting & head-butting! Now they have found several educational apps that keep his focus, teach him important skills, and quiet his anxiety. Huge! My favorite has been the availability to use the Gemiini app with the iPad on the go. This app with short video modeling clips has really awakened new vocal sounds and spurred G to imitate things I never dreamed he even understood like riding a balance bike appropriately!

The ability to take all these tools anywhere with us in a small package has been tremendous. Thank you! I’m so very grateful to everyone who has made this possible!

Happy parent picks up iPad!
Happy parent picks up iPad!

This Christmas, Autism Pensacola was able to support 5 families who recieved iPads because of your generosity to 'Give Kids a Voice'.  Thank you for making our work possible.  These smiles would not happen with out your support.

'Seeing my son's face when he saw his iPad on Christmas morning was priceless', said Jose C., who took our PEP class in the fall.  'He has been using it everyday and we are seeing so much progress. I'm so very grateful.', he continued.

Additionally, Autism Pensacola was able to purchase an app for a child who already had an iPad.  Autumn contacted us because her husband's insurance was no longer going to cover her son's ABA therapy.  He had just begun making progress using an iPad and his therapist felt he could learn to communicate if he had an app he could use.  'I'm so grateful to have this app for my son. At this time when he is losing access to his important therapy, this gives us hope we can continue to help him progress.', said Autumn, also a PEP graduate.

In March, we will have our next PEP class.  With your help, we will be able to continue to offer kids a voice though iPads for Autism!  Thank you for your support!

Happy to give my son an iPad for the Holidays!
Happy to give my son an iPad for the Holidays!

Links:

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
 

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Organization Information

Autism Pensacola, Incorporated

Location: Pensacola, FLORIDA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.autismpensacola.org
Project Leader:
Susan Byram
Pensacola, Florida United States

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