ipad

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.

 

2 iPads for the Holidays

I’m wondering just how many iPads are going to be waiting under Christmas trees all over the world this year.

How many will be taken to college and filled with movies and music? Or end up in pocketbooks, crammed with contact lists and schedules for the assorted activities of a family? How many more will be used for nothing but video games and fantasy football?

I’m guessing lots and lots in all those categories.

But I know about these 2 IPads.

They’re all wrapped up and ready to go and I already know what they’re going to do. These ipads are going to help children who need them communicate, learn, and grow. For two families of special needs children these iPads are going to change the world.

Many of you already know the story behind Liam’s iPad and the Mission iPossible group that made it possible. (it’s here if you don’t). Riding on the success of completing Mission One a side mission has sprung up for Mission Two. 2 iPads are being given away to two special needs children for Christmas this year but we need to move quick. entries must be posted by December 15th people! There are of course rules that you need to go and read but the basics are this..

Have a child with special needs?

Live in the U.S? (sorry international folks but they hope to get to you in future missions.)

Know how to leave a blog comment?

Huzzah! You can be entered for an iPad for your special needs child. The winners will be chosen at random.

I’m a relative newcomer to the special needs blogging community and so I fear that much of my audience from that community already knows about this giveaway.  So local family, friends and all those folks who read because I know you in person, I’m looking at you. Spread the word. Put it on your Facebook’s and twitters. Google+ and tumblr. If I know you from the NICU or the PICU then tell the parents you see about it.

I would hate for someone to not be given the opportunity to win such an important tool only because they didn’t even know they could.

These ipads are already purchased. This is not a fundraiser in any way. Just a good old-fashioned giveaway.

Help Mission iPossible change the way two special needs families interact with the world.

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 kids get the new tools they need.

A few weeks ago I posted about a wonderful program giving away ipads to special needs children that can use them.

While the deadline to submit for the giveaway has expired MarissasBunny.com could still use your help. If they can raise $200 soon they can give away 15 more ipads to children and families that can use them in ways to help and improve communication, development and yes, even play.

If you can help or know of someone else that can please send them to MarissasBunny.com for more information and to help Mike start a foundation that would make these giveaways a more permanent program.