Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wish Upon an iPad

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 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.

Related posts:
Supporting Cognition Research via plus15
2-Day Garage Sale Benefit For Down Syndrome Research


Rochelle said...

YAHOO! That is awesome news! So thankful you guys won, and what a great thing for the preschool!

Anna said...

What an incredible blessing. Others helped you so you could help others...... it was a huge undertaking and I am so blessed to read about your dream, and success.

Jill said...

CONGRATS!! You are making a huge difference in the life of your son and the lives of others in your community. HURRAY!! I am very proud of you.

Michelle said...

That is AWESOME!!!!! ROCK on you guys!!!! Congrats!

Melissa said...

Congrats! You did such a great job with the fundraising and I'm sure the preschool is excited!

Anonymous said...

How fabulous!!!

That is wonderful, stupendous news!!

Michelle said...

Congrats Ria!

Ria said...

Thanks everyone! We feel blessed and fortunate that it was the right time and set of circumstances that allowed us to put ourselves in a position to raise research money. Thanks to all of you who encouraged us, showed your support, and sent positive thoughts our way during the fundraising period!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! As a early childhood special education teacher, I bought an I Pad for my classroom this past school year. My stidents benefitted so much from the use of the I Pad. From working on cognitive, fine motor, speech skills.....the possibilities are endless! Good luck!!

RK said...

That is great!!! You are amazing, my friend. Way to go!!!!!

Noahs Dad said...

Just found out about your website! (By the way, huge fan of our ipad2's!) I'm glad I did!

Our son Noah was born with Down Syndrome on Dec 15 2011 and his extra chromosome was a complete surprise to us...but it's been great.

We started doing a daily one minute video on our blog to show the world how much more "normal" our life is then "un-normal!" It's been great!

I'll certainly be adding your blog to my list! Looking forward to learning more about your story!

-Rick (Noah's Dad)

Violette's Mom said...

That is so cool! Good for you!