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Why iPads Help Those With Special Needs

November 25, 2012 by Victoria Strong
Why iPads Help Those With Special Needs

We are so incredibly honored to have been selected by Chase as one of 25 nonprofits to be featured nationwide on NBC's the American Giving Awards with an opportunity to win up to $1 Million.

Our “Big Idea” is simple: to make the world more accessible to those with severe disabilities via iPad grants. Through our “Project Mariposa” program we’ve granted 100 iPads this year and know firsthand of the enormous need and positive impact. These incredible devices are literally life-changing in assisting with education, independence, and in some cases empowering people to communicate -- to speak -- for the first time in their lives. With your American Giving Awards vote for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, YOU can open the world for 2,000+ people! IMAGINE. DREAM. ACHIEVE. GROW. INSPIRE. Your vote for $1 Million will change lives and open their world! {WATCH the American Giving Awards video about the GSF}

So what is the impact of an iPad for those with special needs? Okay here is the deal -- Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) impacts every aspect of daily life: the ability to walk, to stand, to sit up, to lift the arms, and for many to speak. But it never limits the desire to learn, to grow, to create, to explore. In fact, those with SMA are really amazing people. They are clever, accomplished, full of life, and they are just like their able-bodied peers -- they want to live their passions and accomplish their dreams.

For the able-bodied, an iPad is a nice to have luxury item. It allows us to watch our favorite shows or send emails while traveling. And it allows us to stay connected and keep up with friends on Facebook. Now imagine for a moment if it were physically exerting or even impossible to hold a laptop or sit upright at a desktop computer, turn the pages of a book, hold a pencil or a paintbrush, play your favorite instrument, express your desires. Imagine.

But here's the thing, the Apple iPad can help with all of these. It can literally change the "impossible."

Meet Brooke and Brielle. Both sisters have SMA Type 2 and use the iPad as motivation during therapy. In fact, Brooke was able to accomplish something she's never done before. One of Brooke's PT goals is to stand consistently for one minute. She's been working on this since November of last year. With the iPad as a motivator she was able to stand in therapy for 5 minutes, then 8 minutes. And on her third attempt she stood for a whopping 15 minutes for the very first time! Brooke also uses the iPad to improve recall issues through educational games. {WATCH Brooke and Brielle's iPad Story}

Meet Annah. Annah is a creative and accomplished 16-year-old with SMA Type 1. She plans to go on to get a doctorate degree in psychiatry and currently has a full load of Advanced Placement courses and is already taking college classes in her spare time. With her iPad from the GSF, Annah can now do her homework without help! In fact, she recently used her iPad for a persuasive speech about SMA and GSF in one of her classes. Annah also uses her iPad to write stories and movies and to play the piano. And with the iPad always on her wheelchair tray, she can easily type out her thoughts any time someone has trouble understanding her. {WATCH Annah's iPad Story} 

Meet Savanna. Savanna is 11 years old with SMA Type 1. Savanna loves using the iPad to play games and read books independently. She has figured out a way to manipulate her arms so she can navigate the entire screen. This also allows her to type out her feelings and thoughts on her iPad. {WATCH Savanna's iPad Story} 

Meet Sophia. Sophia is 9 years old and has SMA Type 1. Since receiving her iPad, Sophia has started using eBooks which she can read with the flick of a finger. It has opened up some good quality time between she and her sister and they can interact together easily on it. Sophia also enjoys doing her math homework on her iPad much more. {WATCH Sophia's iPad Story} 

Meet Charlotte. Charlotte just started medical school and her new iPad has been invaluable to her. She uses it every day instead of the heavy text books or a laptop computer, both of which are too heavy for her to lift. {WATCH Charlotte's iPad Story}

This is SMA. And this is also the story of so many others facing severe disabilities. And this is how the iPad is truly opening up their world and making the impossible...possible again.

Stats.

  • 1/5 of all US households have a child with special needs
  • More than 15 Million children are living in America with rare diseases
  • 14% of all US children have special health care needs
  • 6 Million Americans are affected by paralysis
  • 1 in every 40 people carry the SMA gene

The need for technology support is great! And with YOUR vote on Tuesday, November 27th, you can help us begin to fill that void and open their world. YOU can help CHANGE LIVES!

{CHECK BACK Tuesday, November 27th for TOOL KIT: voting link, blog post, and images to share}

Related Campaigns

Project Mariposa Project Mariposa

"Project Mariposa" is an initiative of the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF) with a simple mission: to make the world more accessible to those with severe disabilities through targeted...

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