Making a connection: iPads are bridge for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

SWANSEA — A local nonprofit organization is making a significant difference in the lives of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families, one iPad at a time.

Sophie’s Promise, founded in 2011 by Swansea residents Joseph and Christine Aguiar, was established to help provide nonverbal children diagnosed with autism with a means to communicate using modern technology. Two of the couple’s three daughters were diagnosed with ASDs and attend public school special education classes in Swansea.
Five years ago, the couple purchased an iPad for their middle daughter Sophie, now age 10, who has difficulty with verbal communication. They quickly witnessed a positive transformation and how much the young child enjoyed using the technology and music.

“We started seeing learning connections being made,” Christine recalls. “Sophie is good at puzzles, numbers and letters. She has a photographic memory.”

Sophie’s ipad has a communication assistive app that she uses to express her feelings and needs by simply pushing a series of images. For example, when Sophie wants a drink of cold water, she taps the images for water and a glass and the machine speaks for her.

When the Aguiars saw the positive change that the iPad made in their daughter’s life, they wanted to help other children with autism to improve their communication and live happier lives.

“Our goal is to help our children find their voice — either their natural voice, or with assistance from tools such as the iPad,” Christine shares, adding that she and her husband have met many other parents whose children face similar communication issues.

To read the rest of this article, published in The South Coast Today, please click here.