Congratulations to our Autism Awareness Day Winners
After a wonderful week of people sharing their autism stories to help raise awareness, we’re delighted to announce our four prize winners. The winners were selected by random draw. And thank goodness, because every single one of the dozens of stories we received was deeply moving, important, and inspiring.
Tony, Andi, Alex, and Aakash of MyVoice in blue for Autism Awareness Day.
MyVoice Autism Awareness Day 2012 Contest Winners:
iPad with MyVoice App: Jill Johnson
A mother of a 9-year-old son with autism and several other challenges
MyVoice App: Erica Bergmann
A mother of two boys, aged 3 and 11, the eldest with autism
MyVoice App: @Marybab1
A mother of a son with autism
MyVoice App: Judy Gill
A special education teacher helping students with wide a range of challenges
Thanks so much to everyone who shared their story this week. Your challenges and triumphs are why we do what we do – develop apps for those with special needs. In the coming days, we’ll highlight many of your stories as a way to help inform and engage others about autism.
We wish we could have provided MyVoice and iPads to every person who entered. But for those we couldn’t, we hope you’ll consider MyVoice as part of what you do to support someone with autism. MyVoice can be a vital bridge to communication, education, and social confidence. For nonverbal users, MyVoice offers the ability to speak out loud. And for emerging communicators, MyVoice can jumpstart language and social development. Learn more at MyVoiceAAC.com/autism
Last but certainly not least, here are the amazing stories that our Autism Awareness Day winners shared:
Jill Johnson’s Autism Story:
“My 9 year old is autistic. He also has Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, motor skill deficits, hypontia, sensory processing disorder, anxiety disorder and a multitude of other deficits and disorders.He amazes me daily. He is such an amazing child and son! It is so heartbreaking, all that he has had to go through (and continues to go through) at such a very young age, yet he handles it all with grace and perseverance. He is an amazing big brother. No one could love a sibling more than he. An ipad would be extremely beneficial for him. He tries so hard to communicate with others, and has come extremely far, but it is still so hard for him! And, in addition, there are also so many wonderful apps out there for the ipad for children just like him. I think owning an ipad would help him go that much further in life and his abilities. An ipad is something I have been wishing I could buy him myself. But when you are paying out of pocket for therapies because your health insurance only covers a very small amount of combined OT, PT and speech per year and the insurance refuses ABA therapy and just paying housing, food and bills, it is just not an expense I can take on. Add in fighting the school system every step of the way and needing an educational advocate for every meeting…Add in all the other therapies and activities that come highly recommended to you by therapists, books, autism support groups, doctors, psychiatrists, teachers, etc (such as social skill play groups and therapeutic horseback riding, art therapy/music therapy/theatre therapy, gluton/casein free diet, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, special camp for the summer, martial arts, swimming lessons and the list goes on and on and on) which is all out of pocket…well, an ipad is last on that list!”
Erica Bergmann’s Autism Story:
“I am a mother of two amazing boys. My oldest is 11 and has Autism. My youngest is 3. I wouldn’t wish Autism on anyone, it isn’t fair sometimes. But I am who I am today because of our struggles, we all are. We have met many kind , caring, and genuine people because of Autism. We have learned not to take things for granted and to enjoy every special moment and milestone, because they are amazing when the do come!!! It has taught us not to be so judgmental and not to jump to conclusions. I think the best thing we have learned is to not be so serious, to love and laugh and take things in stride. ♥”
@Marybab1’s Autism Story:
“My son has Autism & lights up my world. So many people could benefit from MyVoice App to help them communicate.”
Judy Gill’s Autism Story:
“When I was first introduced to the world of autism I was hired as an instructional assistant to be a one on one assistant with a non-verbal student with autism. We spent many instructional days developing story boards for this student, using BoardMaker, a PECS communication software program designed to help him learn and communicate more effectively with his world.This is when I learned that a st…udent is not autistic, they are not autism, they have autism. Countless hours were spent cutting velcro and laminating the pictures. While it wasn’t always the most convenient tool to use, it was effective and provided a bridge from our world to his. I was so inspired by this young student and excited about being able to help give him a voice that I chose to get into the field of special education. I quickly went back to school and pursued a license as a special education teacher. Today, I work at an elementary school as a special education teacher who helps students with many disabilities. We currently are using IPAD’s to help our students learn. We have many APP’s but do not have the “My Voice” App. I would love to have this as a tool for my students and the teachers. There is nothing more exciting then seeing students with communication disabilities be able to connect to their world. It is a heartwarming experience to see their confidence grow when a tool like “My Voice” or any other resource becomes the catalyst for pushing them over that hurdle that they were struggling to clear. The possibilities for this App being used in my school are endless. If I had one wish, it would be for all students with communication disabilities to be given this tool.”