Meet 5-year old Liam.
He has autism as well as apraxia, and he was featured on KDKA this week (see link below). He and more than 150 other children in our service area have been unable to receive their communication devices at presentations because of the current pandemic.
Liam’s mom, Mary Kate said, “Kids like Liam fall through the cracks in the best of times… It’s even worse now. His needs do not change because of a pandemic. My son still needs this device. He needs extra support to help him be heard. He needs the device more than ever to keep making progress with his speech.”
Liam’s Speech Language Pathologist, Kira (from Easter Seals), and many other SLP’s throughout our 71 counties have been reaching out to Variety to see if we can make an exception to get the devices to their kids.
As a result, Variety listened intensely and re-invented our presentation process, and we’re in the midst of sending out nearly 60 devices to SLP’s to customize for each individual child, and then safely exchange the device with the family.
The SLP’s told us something that I wasn’t expecting. They said that because of the pandemic, many parents are at home. So, the SLP saw this as a “window of opportunity” to work virtually with, not only the child, but with child and his/her parent(s) together.
By working with both together, it could make a dramatic difference in the child’s growth and communication.
KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen profiled Liam and his mom Wednesday to highlight our re-invented process and the critical need for these devices, now.
Mary Kate talked further to us about what the device meant,
“Liam just turned 5 and receiving ‘his voice’… I cannot think of anything better. This device gives me hope for my son, and I want other families to know there is hope, too.”
It is exciting to see that, in the midst of something as terrible as this pandemic, we are still able to make a dramatic difference for the kids and their families.