“That’s amazing! Â We’ve never seen this type of progress before! Â Ryan has made up two and a half years of language development in just one year… fantastic!”Â Â These were the words from the Texas Children’s Hospital Speech Therapist that felt like the warm sun peeking through the clouds after a big storm. Â It was just one year earlier that we had been told from a prominent doctor in our area, “just enjoy him for what he is.”
At age 2 my son Ryan, a twin, was diagnosed with Autism (PDD-NOS). Â At 2, Ryan tested as a 1 year old for speech and language. Â He would barely utter the words “mom” and “dad,” let alone the long list of words expected from a typical 2 year old, and we had a disappointing meeting with the doctors about future prognosis. Â After the initial shock, we refused to believe that his development and life would be forever dictated by this diagnosis. Â Â With the help of aggressive therapy, and fantastic people, we worked with Ryan constantly…but one other thing really made a difference.
We bought him an iPad. Â Wow!Â Â Within days we had set up a suite of speech, language and development apps on his iPad. Â It was incredible to see him and his twin brother working on the iPad constantly, “playing” while learning, it was like having a portable therapist with him all of the time! Â We updated the apps and games he had throughout the year and over time it was like waking a kid up from a long sleep. Â He began to talk, and talk, and talk… We loved it!
As a bonus his cognitive development had grown exponentially too, learning his abc’s, word sounds (phonics), numbers, receptive language and even being able to read key sight words. Â Wow! Â Ever since Ryan has been moving forward, and on the road to ‘recovery’. Â When Ryan turned 3, we went back to Texas Children’s Speech for a follow up evaluation and the speech pathologist was delighted by his progress, they couldn’t believe it and had said they had never seen progress like this before…..EVER!
So the obvious questions came up…What if every other child with challenges could have access to an iPad? Â What if this device could revolutionize the way we teach and work with children? What if we could help children ‘recover’?Â Â This is a true ‘medical device’… But so many parents, schools and therapists don’t have the financial resources to buy one.
From here the charity “iPads4Autism“Â was born. Â Our mission is toÂ donate iPads and work with children, therapists and schools to help advance and accelerate learning and work toÂ “give every child a voice”.
Over the last couple years, iPads4Autism has grown and is now a group of individuals, parents, educators and therapists who contribute resources and time to help children and adults with Autism or other developmental disabilities access technology that improves their quality of life.
If you are in need, please reach out to us and we will do our best to try and help.
If you would like to help change children’s lives, please donate, we would be forever grateful!
Thank you for your time,
– Chris Benson (Ryan’s Dad), founder of iPads4Autism.