Unlike millions of others with an iPad 2 at the top of their holiday wish lists, sophomore Chelsea Rouse’s intentions had little to do with an unquenchable thirst for the latest in technology and everything to do with helping a child with special needs.
When Rouse heard about a radio station granting holiday wishes to those in need, she entered a contest on behalf of her friend Dylan, a six-year old with Autism. As one of his therapists, she felt it could be a big help in his sign language development. In fact, the iPad has special applications for people with Autism.
“Dylan has extensive therapy each day,” she wrote in her appeal to 101 WIXX. “He works extremely hard trying to learn sign language for each and every object in the world. The iPad 2 has special applications designed to teach children with autism; and is said to improve learning drastically. Since he is also diabetic Dylan is not able to tell his mother or father when his blood sugar is low. It is a scary thing for the family and they worry about each day. An iPad 2 could teach Dylan things a therapist couldn’t. This child has worked so hard to get to the point he is at and would benefit from this device greatly. We take things like talking for granted, but for Dylan it would be something he would never forget. He is such a special child and has a supportive family. It would be nice for him to have a voice and to have pictures to help guide him on his way through life.”
Rouse received news of her request being granted while in the hallway of the Environmental Science building during finals week. Although she was trying to be respectful of those studying for finals, the audio revealed a very excited and emotional response.
You can hear it here:
Duration: 1 minute 31 seconds | MP3
Rouse shared her excitement on her Facebook page (see screen capture to the right) and agreed to tell her story more widely because she would like to see the public more informed about Autism.
“It affects 1 in 97 kids now,” she said. “Boys are affected three times more than girls. These kids that I give therapy to mean the world to me and I wouldn’t trade this job for anything. Autism is a tricky thing to understand but once you open your mind it’s pretty interesting. It hurts to see some people look at families in weird ways thinking they don’t know how to handle their children when in all reality they do. They are so sensitive to lights and sounds, and for them to be around that sometimes is so overwhelming and over stimulating and causes them pain resulting in what would appear as a ‘tantrum’ in a normally functioning child.”
The help for Dylan was a wish come true for the Appleton native, who now resides in Algoma. In fact, she insists, as she shared on her Facebook page, it was the best day of her life.