Gift helps boy communicate with family
Andre Crowe used his iPad to say thank you for him.
It’s the only way he could communicate his feelings to the four employees who presented him with a new iPad during a school-wide assembly at Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School Friday morning.
Crowe is severely autistic and is unable to speak more than a few simple words. He also knows a limited amount of sign language which makes communication extremely difficult for him.
He began using an iPad application called Proloquo2GO which lets users touch action or noun icons that are then converted into words and spoken by the device. It’s an award-winning augmentative and alternative communication system that’s giving people with autism and other language difficulties the voice they’ve never had before.
Crowe, however, uses the iPad that is on loan from his school, and is unable to take that with him once he leaves the elementary school, said Meri Nofzinger, principal.
It was important to find a way to purchase an iPad for his own personal use so that he could communicate with his family at home, she said.
The school asked Sam’s Club if they could help.
Four Sam’s Club employees stepped up to help Crowe get an iPad. They organized a barbecue outside the doors of Sam’s Club to raise the money not only for the device but also the purchase of the application software.
“We were just really touched by the fact that this little boy lives in a silent world except for this machine,” said Laura Urban, Sam’s Club employee.
“It was really just a no-brainer for us,” agreed co-worker John Young.
Tracy Lyon and John Shihay, both Sam’s Club associates, also volunteered their time to sell hot dogs and sodas in an effort to buy an iPad for Crowe.
“It’s just something we appreciate so much,” Crowe’s mother said.
She explained that Crowe was diagnosed at a young age with extreme autism and was not expected to ever be able to speak or interact in social situations. With the help of an iPad and new technology, Crowe will be able to talk to his friends and family without getting frustrated. She said the staff at Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School have gone above and beyond to help her child and she appreciates all of them so much.
“Parents should never give up because great things can come out of hardship — it can actually be a blessing in disguise,” Crowe said.