Finding a Voice

One Click Forward

There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do.
— Dr. Temple Grandin*

The boys in Heather Witteman’s special education classroom in the Whitman Hanson Regional School District are autistic, with extreme challenges in verbal communication. Through a recent grant from The One Step Forward Education Foundation they have received new iPad’s with programs that will help them learn to communicate with the outside world.

“Imagine thinking something or wanting something or being asked a question and having no reliable means of responding to someone. This is what my guys deal with all the time,” said Witteman. Heather Witteman has been teaching children with special needs for 8 years  “The iPads we received have become a huge tool in reaching these kids. We can teach our students to use the iPad as an alternative and augmentative communication device through special programs. It can give them a voice and speak for them making their thoughts, wants and needs known.  Can you just imagine how empowering this is to these kids!”

Autism has been described as having a brain that is wired a little differently.  Among other things these boys have a disconnect in getting their thoughts put into words and those words coming out of their mouths. With a tool like an iPad and apps that can generate speech these kids have a way to make that connection with the world, express their intelligence, and show everyone what they can do.

The dogged determination of these teachers and students to overcome their challenge and transform their education is celebrated by The One Step Forward Education Foundation. By partnering public and private groups, hurdles can be overcome, momentum created and change can be seen.

** Dr. Temple Grandin is a noted autistic who is an author, speaker, cited expert in many publications, world-renowned autism spokesperson and video producer.