ipad

Screen Time. 

Timing. It’s about timing.

When games aren’t really games.

Wait for the ring to surround the space invader.

Hit the headswitch when it does.

*BOOM*

Explosions. Fireworks. Applause.

Change to the communication app.

It’s about timing.

Wait for the green box to surround the words you want to say.

Hit the headswitch when it does.

*BOOM*

“Yes”

*BOOM*

“Hi Mom”

*BOOM*

“I love you”

 

You guys can control the screen time of your kids all you want. I get it. It just doesn’t work for our family. An ipad with a headswitch acts as Liam’s voicebox, in the same way that his vent acts as his lungs. And not so long ago neither would be possible. Especially at home and not in an institution. Not so long ago, the technology wasn’t there.

It’s about timing.

*********************************************************************

 

The Limited Edition Olson & Son Hopyard T-shirts are still on sale at this link until September 1st. If you’d like the hottest Pressuresupport and hopyard gear do not miss out on this sale. We have achieved our goal number needed to guaranteeing a print run, so there’s no doubt that shirts will be shipping out about 10 days after the sale ends.

I want to thank everyone who has ordered, or shared the link for all of your help and support. So many people shared the sale page link that I was near tears at work trying to thank everyone as it was happening. It happened so quickly that I was overwhelmed by how many of you out there wanted to get the same shirt Liam and I wear. The Olson family appreciates all of you.

 

 

My New Pants*

Last July, after finding out that the iPad Liam had been awarded was never coming, I wrote in a post called Journaling Through Some Rage 

There are also more industrious and energetic bloggers out there who have made it their mission to make sure that the 40 kids who were told they would get ipads get their ipads. They are doing so with a focus on transparency and verifiable details in communication. It is not lost on them that after being bitten by an online scam promising ipads no one is going to buy in to the next blog that comes around promising ipads. So they’re not promising. They’re trying. The best that they can. Because they know the hurt and frustration that we feel. They too were chosen as winners in the marissa’s bunny needs based ipad giveaway.

Me? I hope that soon I will get myself back into the mindset where I can jump in and offer my help to them because I’d love nothing more than to help someone else feel better from this whole situation and right now just receiving an ipad doesn’t feel like it would be enough to do that.

Yeah, I was pretty upset. Really upset. But I knew that I wanted to help and eventually I got over the anger with the help of some new friends named Ken and Heather.

About three months after that post, and thanks to those new friends, Liam received his ipad and I wrote then in a post called An iPromise Kept

Four months ago I didn’t think I was a part of any “special needs community”. To be honest, even though I had been writing this blog for over a year and I knew about one or two other blogs that talked about kids with special needs, I didn’t even know a special needs blogging community existed. Now I know I’m a part of something bigger. Now I know that when things aren’t going right, I’ve got people to talk to. People who get it. People who’ve been there.

….

And that is why this post has been so hard to write. It’s about more than just an ipad. More than just a toy or a tool. It’s about something bigger than just my family. Bigger than just my son. It’s about being a part of a community of people who look out for each other.  Whether they’ve met each other or not. People who saw an injustice and a promise broken but said hereI’ll help. I’llfulfill that promise. I can’t thank them enough, for the ipad, for the community, and for the friendship.

Since that time Ken and Heather and I have kept in touch and grown closer. We’ve never met in person and I’ve never even heard either of their voices but I consider it an honor to call them “friends”. Especially due to the amount of awe I am in of the work that they have done.

To date they have given 22 ipads to families of children with special medical or communication needs all over the country. 22 families changed by technology, by communication and by a community.

So given all of that, I am incredibly excited to announce that Ken and Heather have asked me to become a contributor to the Mission iPossible project! You can read Ken’s announcement and the explanation of this post’s title here at Mission iPossible.

I’m very excited and yes, I am honored to be asked to join such a worthwhile cause. You’ll see that I will be posting over there in the next few days and I hope that you will join me.

But my joining the team is small potatoes. As excited as I am about this opportunity, whether or not I am a part of the Mission iPossible group, it is much more important that you all know that there are only 5 more days  to enter for a chance in The Third Mission.

Mission Three is a give-away of three iPads. (Mission Four will be 4 iPads etc, etc, . . . ) and the deadline to enter by leaving a comment on the mission announcement page is on Friday. So please, take a look, read the rules and then tell everyone you can. Facebook, and the Twitters, blogs and emails.  Spread the word all week.

I don’t really want to elaborate much more than that actually because I would prefer that you jump on over to the Mission blog and follow along a project that means a great deal to me.

Don’t worry, don’t worry my participation there won’t affect my downright robust posting activity here (3 posts in a single week? Geeze I better slow down. How do I do it?)  I’ll post just as sporadically as I always do. Now you’ll just have two places to look for it.

Talk to you soon.

 

An iPromise Kept

Last night I sat in front of my computer and tried to write a blog post that I should have written a few weeks ago. I wrote for about 3 hours and when it was all said and done I probably “wrote” about 3500 words. 500 words at a time, each and every one of them eventually falling victim to the delete key. It was all crap but I kept on trying.  For reasons that will become apparent, last night seemed an especially special night to write this post but I just couldn’t get it right.

So instead of summarizing I’m going to use past posts and other sources to fill in the back story. That’s where I keep getting tripped up — the damn back story.

If you would like to know what I’m talking about, you should probably start here.

While you’re at it, please head here and poke around for a while. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back.

Ok. Got the gist?

Good. You can stay here now. No more clicking around. Instead, just take a look at this…

Yep. Thanks to the wonderful people at Mission iPossible and all of the wonderful people who donated to Mission iPossible Liam is now the proud owner of an iPad! He was so excited to open it, though truth be told the excitement had more to do with the wrapping paper. Karin and I on the other hand are so beside ourselves with joy at this amazing gesture and the incredible potential it provides for Liam’s development, communication, and fun.

To explain the benefits that the iPad affords Liam in his development would take days, maybe weeks. I just don’t have the words to tell you how monumental this tool really is.

Babies and children learn from play, but how much play is possible if a kid can’t crawl, turn over, or even sit up? Aside from the global delay that Liam’s Miller Deiker Syndrome brings, his low muscle tone makes most toys, including the toys designed for development, near useless. Sure, we’ve got them all and they come out during playtime and therapy time but its the adults hands that affect change with those. The ipad on the other hand helps Liam learn the connection of cause and effect better than any button or switch ever could. The first app that we downloaded is called fireworks. Touch the screen — see and hear the fireworks. You should see Liam play!

Next was the piano app. You’ve all seen it on the commercials. Pretty straight forward and vanilla right? Not when we hear Liam tickling those digital ivories and singing along. That’s right SINGING ALONG!! Sinatra? Buble? Andrea Bocceli? Amateur hacks compared to my boy.

But it’s not all play and work though, sometimes it’s just a matter of watching cartoons on a device that can be placed anywhere and accommodate any of the positions that Liam may find himself in. His stander, his crib, his boppy.

Four months ago I didn’t think I was a part of any “special needs community”. To be honest, even though I had been writing this blog for over a year and I knew about one or two other blogs that talked about kids with special needs, I didn’t even know a special needs blogging community existed. Now I know I’m a part of something bigger. Now I know that when things aren’t going right, I’ve got people to talk to. People who get it. People who’ve been there.

Just a few weeks after the original ipad contest mess happened, Liam got sick and was admitted to the hospital. Ken from Blogzilly and Mission iPossible let everybody know that someone needed a pick me up. On a day when Karin, Liam and I needed them, well wishes and notes of concern came to us FROM ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. People I had never met sent word that they were thinking of us just because they knew it would help. That’s community, and it’s a part of this iPad.

After over a month in the hospital I was told that although the order of ipad shipments had been randomly selected and set since before the first device had shipped, a woman I had never met whose child was higher on the list wanted Liam to switch spots with her child and get his ipad first because of all that he had been through. That’s community and it’s a part of this ipad.

And that is why this post has been so hard to write. It’s about more than just an ipad. More than just a toy or a tool. It’s about something bigger than just my family. Bigger than just my son. It’s about being a part of a community of people who look out for each other.  Whether they’ve met each other or not. People who saw an injustice and a promise broken but said here, I’ll help. I’ll fulfill that promise. I can’t thank them enough, for the ipad, for the community, and for the friendship.

****

Last night Steve Jobs, after battling pancreatic cancer for years, passed away. He was 56. His contributions to our society will be felt forever. Contributions not only to technology and computing but also to design and most importantly to communication. Although it’s been years since I’ve owned a macintosh computer that is a decision based more on finances than on preference. I learned to use computers on Macs and have spent most of my life surrounded by apple products. The ipad and it’s use with Liam obviously being the most meaningful.

Thank you Mr. Jobs for all that you brought to us in your time here.

Help Mike give away ipads to children with special needs.

A short while after the iPad was released I wrote a blog post about how intrigued I was that the ipad may benefit Liam.  I said,

I think [the iPad] could also be used in aiding communication for children like Liam. Press this section of the screen to tell mommy your diaper needs changing, press the green box to say ‘I’m hungry’. Press the red section after a kiss to tell Mommy that you love her too! Think Stephen Hawking but simplified. Although he can make sounds vocally, Liam’s diagnosis may prevent him from “speaking” to his mom and I. He can still communicate needs and wants. He can still appreciate cause and effect relationships and I’d like to see if the iPad interface could be customized in ways that flash cards and the big buttons and switches (which we currently use) can. As he grows older I think this could come in handy.

Soon after writing that I quickly moved on to other things seeing as how coming up with the money for an ipad wasn’t very likely. Luckily many, many people much much smarter than I am were working on apps to aid in teaching and communication and the ipad is becoming a must have for families with special needs. In the past few days I have found that there are popping up all sorts of resources to put ipads in the hands of kids who could use them in increasingly helpful ways.

Enter Mike. Mike is father to Marissa who suffers from infantile spasms, a term long time readers here will recognize. Mike runs an extraordinary blog about his family’s journey and has used that blog to help as many other special needs families as he can. Mike and his employer are giving away 5 ipads in a  contest! You can find all the details here at the contest page.

So onto how you can help. You can tell everyone you know. I know some of you have special needs children yourselves and so I’m telling you to get your butts over to that page and enter your story. I also know that some of you work with children with special needs every day. Tell them about it.  Tell those families, tell your friends, tell Facebook and the Twitter.  Let’s all help Mike as he starts his new foundation by helping as many families as he can.

Update: In a tweet this morning Mike sent out word that there has been a huge response to this contest. He is asking for anyone who may work for or know a retailer or corporation who would like to donate so that the program could be extended or expanded.  If anyone out there knows someone who fits that bill please send them to www.marissasbunny.com  to help. Thanks.