Only the beginning!
To give a timeline, April 2010, iPad + Wifi was unleashed upon the world; Daniel turned 6 yrs old; and what was to come was still unknown. In June, Shannon Rosa wrote on BlogHer about the iPad and her son Leo. Shannon had had the amazing luck to win an iPad through a school fundraiser. From then, I researched and researched as much as I could about the iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone and the apps to go along with that help children with Autism. My husband and I also sat down and decided this year for Christmas he was going to have something to help him. We researched all of our options.
Then the last quarter of this year started. We realized that we were going to have to move out of my mom’s house. The environment had not only become unhealthy for he and I, but also for Daniel and Stephen. So all the money we had saved had to go to the move. While it was the best decision I ever made, it was also the most difficult as it came down to spending the whole of our Christmas savings. So I started searching for other options. I contacted Julie Liberman, SLP through Twitter, despite knowing her in real life, about if certain grant programs would fund an iPad. The resounding answer was “NO!!!!”
Julie didn’t stop looking and listening for a way we could get an iPad. Then one day, Shannon Rosa posted A Guide to getting your Autistic child an iPad. She first pointed to HollyRod4Kids iPad Fundraiser (think about donating to this worthy cause). I scoured their website and realized we didn’t qualify. Daniel was verbal, and living on my husband’s income, we didn’t make under the $35k/yr required. But hope was not lost. Shannon detailed that there were sites that you can fund raise on your own. I looked at both she recommended and chose our option. I talked to my husband about it, and he said that he was okay with it.
Thanks to my readership here, my contacts within our local Autism community, plus good ol’ fashioned friends and family, we started to raise money. We started with $25, then $45, before we knew it, we were above $200! I tweeted, I blogged, I updated my facebook and wrote “Note” after “Note”. I was surprised at the people who took notice. There were so many along the way that retweeted, posted the story to their news feeds. I was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of those in the Autism community that reached out.
Then the best news yet, iHelpforSpecialNeeds added me to Twitter. At first I thought it was an app, so I went to research. They’re better than the best app! They are a start up company helping families raise funds for an iPad for their Special Needs child. It wasn’t limited to nonverbal, or income, or Autism, Downs or MR. I wrote in and told them of our efforts. As we kept exchanging emails, it was decided that Daniel would be their Featured Recipient. Through Jennifer, the wonderful lady behind this start up, we will be able to get Daniel his iPad for Christmas! Thanks to GoodKarma Applications, we will have the First-Then App to load onto it. And in the weeks to come, we will get more apps to help Daniel through each day.
And as the title says, this is only the beginning! We will sit down with the Special Ed staff the first week back to school to train them to use the iPad for easy transitions. We’ll help him learn to navigate it over the rest of our break. Don’t worry. We will have plenty of pictures of him opening it on Christmas morning. And I will keep everyone updated on his progress with it. What an amazing journey, and this is only the beginning!