‘Hope Restored’: a Letter of Thanks

“Hope restored. That’s how I felt when my son brought home his ‘communication device’ for the first time. Communication, a basic need, a human right, was out of reach for our son for too many years. When presenting him with a choice, he would repeat the last word I said or select an item that was closest to him. We struggled with minimal speech for years. We knew we had to try something new but weren’t quite sure what that would be, until the day the Autism Support Center newsletter landed in my email box. Lo and behold there was our answer; an article that described what great success families were having with the iPad app called Touch Chat. For many families, it was the first time that their child had a voice or was able to make a reliable choice.

Shane Waldron

Shane Waldron using the TouchChat app

I immediately thought to myself, wow this could be the novel approach and tool that can help my son progress. My stomach leaped in anticipation. With the help of our school district, my son was assessed and we started a trial. Shortly thereafter, ASC came to our rescue once again, when I was able to attend an ASC daylong Touch Chat training that was available to parents and professionals.

Today my son carries his device everywhere to communicate. We are so grateful to Gloria Ricardi Castillo and the ASC staff and its supporters who made this possible. It’s amazing how far a little seed money can stretch to offer such life-changing resources to our families and how many doors this will open for my son and others like him in their journey ahead.

Traditional methods of language acquisition were unsuccessful for my son. This application harnessed his ability to attend and derive automatic, meaningful reinforcement. It was for us a reawakening, a renewed sense of ‘imagining the possibilities,’ a gift from the Northeast Arc and the village that made it possible, and for that we are eternally grateful.”

—Helen Waldron

Want to learn more about Northeast Arc’s Touch to Talk program, featuring the TouchChat app? Call our Autism Support Center at 978-777-9135 or email us at asc@ne-arc.org.