We all have wishlists. Commonly, it revolves around what we wish to receive or have - new shoes, a massage, an iPad, etc. I have such a list. I also have another wishlist - one that might seem more like a to-do list, in a way. I wish to contribute to society, to make a good difference in the community.
In April, when I first learned about the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation's (DSRTF) fundraising contest for their +15 campaign via email, I knew right away that I wanted to do it. I had attended the Dr. William Mobley's presentation at our local Down Syndrome Association annual conference last year. He is one of the researchers whom the DSRTF supports. I was awed and highly interested in his research findings - the continued progress from hypothesis to lab experimentation to very probable treatments - for preventing the early onset of dementia and improving learning for people with Down syndrome.
The top fundraiser would win an Apple iPad - one of today's most coveted gadgets, especially within the special needs community. I told Bill I wanted to win the iPad, not for us, but to donate to Matthew's preschool. I just thought, "What a great opportunity to raise money for Down syndrome cognition research and potentially help other kids!"
After a brief, informal meeting with Matthew's speech & language therapist, we determined that an iPad would certainly be an asset for the Early Childhood Special Education program. Many preschoolers with special needs such as Autism, speech and language delays, and developmental delays, who can use the iPad's touch screen, can benefit from using certain iPad apps. We've seen it in the news.
"Parents turn to iPad apps for children's therapy"
"iPad apps help developmentally disabled N.J. students learn"
"iPad Apps That Help Autistic Children's Development"
"EDUCATION MATTERS: Schools using iPads to help autistic students"
"iPad therapy helps children with special needs 6/17/2011"
"How devices like the iPad are helping special needs children, hospital patients"
"Dublin Schools Using iPad As Educational Tool"
I've seen it first-hand with how Matthew independently navigates my iPhone (we haven't saved for an iPad yet) and how much he's learning. He looks for the apps I downloaded for him. He can practice speech sounds with SmallTalk Phonemes. He reviews his letters, colors, and shapes with Preschool Prep's "Meet the ___" series apps. He hears his words back with Talking Hippo or Talking Roby. He learns more sight words with various sight word apps. He builds his vocabulary with various kindergarten.com apps.
With help from family and friends, we started fundraising in April. The deadline was June 21, 2011. 3 garage sales, 1 month of selling pretzels, and several generous individual donations later, we raised $2,211.
Six hours ago, I received an email from the DSRTF informing me that we (Bill and Ria) were the top fundraisers. We were getting the iPad. Wow! I couldn't believe it. I was ecstatic! I had never done anything like this before.
We raised money and awareness for Down syndrome cognition research that will benefit thousands of people living with Down syndrome. Matthew's preschool will get the iPad, which will benefit more kids with special needs.
We owe many people many thanks. Bill and I would not have been able to do this on our own. Added on my to-do list: write iThank You letters to everyone who put in long hours preparing for the garage sale, worked during the sale, took care of the kids while I was busy at the garage sale, sponsored prizes for the garage sale raffle, donated on our fundraising page, bought pretzels, and wished us well.
I got my wish.
Supporting Cognition Research via plus15
2-Day Garage Sale Benefit For Down Syndrome Research