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How to Get an iPad for a Child with a Disability

Author: United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern Connecticut

Published: 2012-04-12 : (Rev. 2017-02-01)

Synopsis and Key Points:

iPad funded by UCP Bellows Fund a national program that provides funds to individuals for disability related equipment.

Main Digest

iPad Makes a Difference in the Life of a Non-Verbal Child...

The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, apps and web content. Its size and weight fall between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. Like iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad is controlled by a multi-touch display - a departure from most previous tablet computers, which used a pressure-triggered stylus - as well as a virtual onscreen keyboard in lieu of a physical keyboard.

The exclusive Stonington Country Club will open it's doors again this year for the United Cerebral Palsy Brian Morrison Memorial 11th Annual Golf Tournament. Fine food, fun and for a good cause is the theme of the day. The event raises money for the UCP Disability Support Program that recently provided an iPad for three year old Chloe Mason-Mann who previously struggled to communicate.

On May 7, more than 100 golfers will gather at the exclusive Stonington Country Club for a cause that is helping at least one three year old communicate. Chloe Mason-Mann is the most recent recipient of an iPad from United Cerebral Palsy of Eastern Connecticut's Disability Support Program. Chloe has Down Syndrome, and prior to receiving her iPad early this year, she possessed a vocabulary of only five spoken words and sign language vocabulary of about 100. Only two months later her vocabulary had developed to 50 words, a number that continues to grow.

"It's been unbelievable," says Cloe's Mom, Amy. "It's opened up a whole new world to her. It's really had an impact on all of us, (referring to her family)."

Amy contacted UCP after hearing other success stories about the iPad helping children communicate.

The family had received no previous services from the agency that is a 501 ( c ) (3) charitable organization. She knew it was a long shot but thought it might just be able to help Chloe. She never expected these kinds of results. Not only has Chloe's vocabulary increased, but the iPad has helped to develop her sign language vocabulary, fine motor skills, musical abilities and even taught her to learn shapes and colors.

The iPad was funded by UCP's Bellow's Fund, a national program that provides funds to individuals for disability related equipment.

"Children with Down Syndrome learn best with multi-sensory input that is visual, interactive, repetitive, expansive, and reinforces previously learned skills, which makes the iPad the perfect learning device," says disability support coordinator, Michelle Bussolotti.

She was instrumental in securing this technology for Chloe, and is seeing an increased number of requests coming in.

"Time is of the essence with language. You want to get started early," said Bussolotti. "Communication is key to the human experience."

"I had heard kids her age could use it (the iPad)," says Amy, "but I wasn't sure if she had the cognitive and fine motor skills. I think it can open up a whole world of communication trapped inside their bodies."

The Disability Support Program is free and assists about 150 clients each year.

It is funded completely through grants, donations and fund raising efforts and originally began, to fill in the gaps in services that might not be covered through the State of Connecticut Department of Developmental Services. Today, among other things, it is helping a child learn to communicate.

A major fundraising event in support of the program is being held Monday, May 7.

For eight of the past 11 years, the UCP Brian Morrison Memorial Annual Golf Tournament has been held at the Stonington Country Club. This year is no exception. The club offers golfers the rare opportunity to play on an exclusive private course. Approximately 125 players support this event each year coming out to enjoy great food, fun and beautiful surroundings. Sponsors, golfers and donations of products and services for door prizes are needed to make this event a success.

For a free copy of How to Get an iPad for your Child with a Disability by Michelle Bussolotti, or for more information about the Golf Tournament call (860) 443-3800 x26.

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