I spoke with Amy by phone and she was very excited about winning the giveaway. In fact her first response was “Is this for REAL?????!!!!!”. Yes, Amy it’s for real! The iPad is on its way to Amy and she promised to send us a picture once she receives it.
I asked Amy a few questions so we could get to know her and her family a little better. I must say that I am incredibly happy to be able to provide the iPad to such a wonderful and deserving family. Read below to learn about Amy and her family.
Brain Parade: Tell us a little about yourself and your connection to special needs.
Amy: I am a stay at home mom (formerly an elementary teacher) and my husband works in IT (formerly a teacher also). We have three children: Ashlyn age 12, Brayden age 9 and Trevin age 6. Trevin, who will enter kindergarten in the fall, has special needs and is nonverbal. Trevin currently uses a variety of ways to communicate such as: a few signs, gestures, use of picture schedules, and a few words such as dada, done, home and most recently, mom! During therapy sessions, school and outpatient speech therapists have been trying out a variety of augmentative communication devices with Trevin over the past year. A few months ago Trevin was introduced to an iPad by both his preschool and outpatient speech teachers and Trevin’s immediate reaction to the iPad was amazing! He was far more interested in this device than any other I had seen him exposed to. When his speech therapist would come out to the waiting room to get him, Trevin would jump right out of his seat, ready to go! (Not his typical reaction!) After witnessing Trevin’s response to the iPad we felt strongly that we needed to find a way to explore the iPad as a possible communication device, educational tool and more!
Brain Parade: How did you hear about Brain Parade?
Amy: We had been considering purchasing an iPad for Trevin to use because he responded so well to it. Finding things he enjoys is sometimes difficult. While we were saving up money and exploring options to obtain an iPad, I had been spending some time looking up websites that showcased different apps that were recommended for special needs children. During one of those searches I came upon the Brain Parade website. I was attracted to the Brain Parade name and logo and explored the site for a bit, saw the iPad contest and entered immediately – never dreaming that we would actually win.
Brain Parade: What do you plan to do with your new iPad?
Amy: I think the possibilities are limitless for us as a family with three children! For now, I think we plan to primarily use it as a learning and communication tool for Trevin. We hope to explore many of the exciting apps out there that help special needs children like Trevin to learn and communicate more easily. It is difficult to really know what cognitive knowledge Trevin has because he is nonverbal and doesn’t typically respond well to traditional learning methods. He doesn’t “perform” well with traditional “tests” and questioning so apps like See.Touch.Learn. will enable us to customize some activities for him that will allow us to have a better understanding of what Trevin does know and work on things we want him to learn! The iPad will be a great tool for our older children to use as well – to interact with Trevin and for educational and entertainment games of their own.
Another way the iPad will be useful for us is to be a “comfort” tool for Trevin in situations or environments that he is not familiar with or in situations that otherwise might overwhelm him. We have found with other devices like portable dvd players, etc. we can bring them along to places that we know will be stressful for Trevin and it allows him to still be present in that environment while focusing a majority of his attention on something that is familiar to him and comforts him. It may not be the ideal situation, but it does allow us to do some things as a family which we otherwise maybe wouldn’t be able to do. The iPad has the diverse ability to help us with multiple things at one time without carrying many different devices- movies and music can be downloaded, communication and learning apps, etc. We are excited to experience all it can do and promise to keep you updated. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Brain Parade. This iPad will make such a positive impact on our family and especially Trevin.