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800 iPads Awarded to Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Through the generosity of Sevenly.org, Wyndham Worldwide, the Geier Foundation, the James Walter Pickle Charitable Foundation, the Boston Bruins Foundation, the Agarwal Foundation and Jonathan Izak, this week Autism Speaks donated iPad 2's to 800 financially disadvantaged individuals with autism, as well as teachers and social workers who work in the autism community with individuals in need.

After the grant application was announced in November, we received over 16,000 applications for iPads. Thanks to generous donations from the organizations above, we were able to mail 800 iPad 2s to individuals in 46 states between the ages of four and 60-years-old. Each iPad came with a unique Autism Speaks Kraken A.M.S. case from Trident Case, as well as a free download code for Brain Parade's popular app See.Touch.Learn Pro, which usually costs $39.99. 

Review committees thoroughly reviewed each applicant’s unique situation in terms of the individual's family's financial status, his or her age and verbal ability and most importantly, the applicant's response to how the person would use the iPad and how it would change his or her life.

On Monday, December 9, the Family Services team gathered at the Autism Speaks office in Princeton, N.J. to pack the 800 boxes. Check out how much fun they had below!

In 2012, Autism Speaks was able to award over 800 iPads. We received great feedback about the amazing impact the new devices had on many individuals on the spectrum. We created a slideshow below of some of the testimonials we received from families of recipients.

[slideshow:2, order=top, width=400, height=250, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_1.jpg||| He won't put it down\, this was the best gift he could have ever gotten. I had called his therapists as soon as I received the e-mail letting me know he would be receiving one\, and they can't wait to work with him on it.||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_2.jpg||| My son Jordan is profoundly deaf and autistic. Jordan now can use the iPad2 to help with his sign language and communicating with others by pictures and signing through the iPad. He now will also be able to communicate with the public and others more.||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_3.jpg||| This is only my son’s second week of school using it\, and already the difference has been amazing. Using the fun\, educational apps\, he has been able to demonstrate to his teachers that he knows his alphabet\, numbers\, shapes\, colors\, and many other concepts. What a difference!! Before\, he would get frustrated\, upset\, refuse to even attempt\, and sometimes have meltdowns when faced with the dreaded paper worksheet. Now, not only is he completing more work- he's having fun doing it! The possibilities for learning are endless\, and best of all\,he's loving it!||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_4.jpg||| Here is Shaun\, enjoying his new iPad2!! We have downloaded quite a few learning apps and he is learning a great deal. As you can see\, he really enjoys this piano and usually laughs as he plays it.||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_5.jpg||| It has been amazing seeing him learn so quickly with his iPad. The iPad has also been a great source of respite for both him and us. After a long day of school\, he can come home and relax for a half hour\, playing his favorite game\, "Labyrinth." ||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_6.jpg||| We have already seen a change in the classroom dynamic. The children absolutely love working with the iPad. This technology had helped turn work time into fun time.||,img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_7.jpg||| Here is Artin with his iPad. He is now using it to communicate some of his needs. The first phrase he typed independently on the iPad was "I want bowling". I was so proud of his accomplishment\, we packed our bags and went bowling. The second phase he typed was "I love mama,” it made my day. ||,img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_8.jpg||| We have uploaded several apps and he is really enjoying his it. His iPad and apps are encouraging him to speak in full sentences so he can hear it play back. We have also been using the timer and calendar app for many tasks.||,img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_9.jpg||| Having the iPad has been so neat. She started to recognize her name. She also can show us things she wants or needs. We also found her taking pictures of herself. She won't even look in a mirror. The apps available are amazing. To see her so things I've never seen her do melts my heart.||,img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_10.jpg||| My daughter is pictured here with her new iPad she received from you. Her verbal response when she opened it was "you saved me!" Her response\, the smile (which is rare) and the fact that she uses it to fill in the gaps is priceless!||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_11.jpg||| My class and I thank you SO much for the donation of our iPad. We use it every day. I have seen improvement in communication skills for my low functioning students. My students have also learned math skills\, sight words\, and how to read using this tool. My student with severe autism has started communicating more because of apps that I have downloaded. ||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_12.jpg||| Words cannot describe how much the iPad has helped my son. It is a high reinforcer and huge motivator for him. We were having major defiance problems with him. Since receiving the iPad we have been able to set up programs with the help of our behavior therapist. We do "iReward" with him to earn tokens which equals time on the iPad. We set up schedules also that he is now able to follow independently. We have iConversation that he loves to do. It is so awesome to hear him learning how to properly have a conversation with someone. We send it to school with him everyday so he can use it there and he plays with it on the bus ride home from school as a reward. He is a different boy. I know the iPad has been a huge help in bringing him to this point.||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_13.jpg||| My son has been enjoying the IPad and it has been very helpful for his motor skills.||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_14.jpg||| The kids enjoy working on new learning and therapy apps; as well as fun apps like Angry Birds and even taking pictures and videos. My son hopes to be a wildlife documentary director when he grows up and my daughter says she will be his filmographer! What a dream-provided by you to us!||, img=| http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/images/blog/ipad_15.jpg||| Within the first week my brother received the iPad he was already making progress in his communication. We set him up an email account\, and I emailed him from my phone saying, "Hi Nathan\, How are you?". About a day later\, I got a reply saying\, "Hi Kaitlin". I thought it was my mom or dad playing a joke on me from his iPad but it wasn't! You have helped my brother continue to find his voice and helped my family understand his voice.||,]

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