Jennifer Auletta Lumm teaches six students with autism in her San Jose Elementary classroom.
Some of the children's autism signs are so severe that they do not communicate verbally.
To get through, Lumm says she's had to find other ways to talk with the children.
"So far, sign language and the communication boards on my iPad are the ones that have been the most successful," she said.
She installs specially-designed, early education apps for children with autism. The apps help with speech communication, math and social skills, behavioral intervention and more.
Lumm says iPad communication in her Autism Spectrum Disorder class has significantly reduced tantrums and behavior problems, which is exactly why she launched an initiative to bring the devices into childrens' homes.
"Unless I can carry that communication over into the home setting what good is it?" she said.
Her mission to collect donations of outdated or used Apple iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches that could be re-loaded with communication boards — no games or other programs — and distributed to the students for home use, not just for her six students, but for all 31 students affected by autism at the school.
"I know people are upgrading all the time and their old ones go to waste sitting in a drawer or on a shelf," Lumm shared in a recent Facebook post to her friends. She reached out to her students' parents and to her friends on Facebook first.
And she's been keeping them updated of her progress:
One of the parents from my classroom is a restaurant manager out at the Sandpearl on Clearwater Beach and she told her employees that she'd give them the weekend off if they would donate their old iPhones to my classroom. That made me smile big time! I am blessed to have all six families of my kiddos be 110% supportive of their children and of me! Hugs to them all!
So far, two devices have been donated from her students parents, and the Pinellas County School district found two iPads for her students to use.
"That's huge," she said.
Apple iDevice donations are being accepted inside the front office at San Jose Elementary. They can be dropped off during school hours.
Want to Donate?
- What to Donate: Old or outdated iPhones, iPhones and iPod Touches
- Drop-Off: Front office at San Jose Elementary
- When: Anytime during school hours. Donations accepted on a continuous basis.
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