As a member of the volunteer board of directors for the Autism Center of Southeast Ohio, Inc. (ACSO), a 501 c (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting autistic children and their families in Washington County, I wish to thank the Marietta Shrine Club for their recent grant to acquire iPads and applications to be used in the four autism classrooms at Ewing School. With the purchase of the units, several nonverbal children are, for their first time, experiencing a way to communicate with other class members, teachers, staff and family members. With several recent articles in the Marietta Times, it has been noted that iPads have opened up a new world for many of these unfortunate children. Here are a few examples of successes being experienced in our community and Ewing classrooms:
A local Washington County 6 year old, nonverbal autistic child, was on the verge of being placed out of the home. It was becoming increasingly difficult for this child's loving and concerned mother to deal with his behavior. A team was formed who reviewed all the issues and concluded that if the child had a way to communicate behaviors may diminish. As a result, an iPad with specialized apps for speaking and learning was used. Within six months of use, the autistic child was making remarkable progress and began to speak. Negative behaviors decreased and academic scores increased.
A Ewing teacher related the following: "I teach at Ewing School in the Autism classroom. I just wanted to write you a note expressing my gratitude to ACSO and the Marietta Shrine Club for the iPads. I have kindergarten and 1st grade students and most of them are nonverbal. We use the iPads daily for communication and for learning. One of my students who is nonverbal picked up an iPad himself and got onto the Apple Time Application. He was completing every single question correctly and we had no idea he even knew how to tell time to the minute. We just thought he knew the hour and half hour times. It was amazing. Thanks again!!!!!"
Ewing occupational therapist told me of "one youngster who was nonverbal and would lay on the floor while the other students in the class would gather to study and learn and he was non-participative. They worked with him for a short time with image cards and then the iPad and now he gathers with his classmates when they circle for learning and he, too, can participate using the unit.
The iPads are being used to promote independence for these students and they will also be helpful in increasing communication skills and decreasing frustration for our students."
Without the generosity of the Marietta Shrine Club, many of these young children may never have known what it's like to be able to communicate with understanding and to have a way for learning and becoming a contributing member of our community. I know I speak for many ACSO supporters when I give a big thanks to this wonderful benefactor, the Marietta Shrine Club. You do a wonderful job.
ACSO Board Member Emeritus