Norton Public Schools is pleased to announce it has received a $2,667 grant from the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. These funds will be used to expand practice around augmentative alternative communication (AAC), particularly Speech generating devices, for young students with Autism.
The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, based in Framingham, MA, awards grants annually through a competitive application and review process. The Allison Keller Technology Education Grants that the Flutie Foundation distributed this year filled the financial gap in meeting technology needs of schools and organizations to help people and families with autism live life to the fullest.
Through this funding, Norton Public Schools will be able to provide 3 Ipads with communication programs (TouchChat). The speech generating devices (SGD) will ultimately provide students with an endless avenue to vocabulary and language learning while giving them the means to communicate the necessities of daily living to familiar and unfamiliar listeners. Currently, students are limited to one-word messages not clearly understood to the unfamiliar listener and/or communication through picture exchange communication (PECs).
"We are not only thankful to the Flutie Foundation for the support and opportunity, but how this will support and enhance outcomes for students," said Superintendent Dr. Baeta. "The Flutie Foundation has a well established history of supporting young students with autism. We strive daily to do the same and this grant will support our continued efforts to do great things for our students."
Maria Shreenan, mother of Shane who attends Norton Middle School's STEP program, shared "My son is now 11 and the only reason we are now able to share life experiences with him is because he has an Ipad with a program that allows him to speak to us. My son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Cerebral Dysfunction at the age of 4. He is non-verbal and has gross and fine motor issues. He was evaluated at the L.G. Nourse school by a wonderful group of teachers and therapists. Through their guidance we were able to get him tested for an augmentative device that has the Touch Chat program loaded so he can communicate and participate in class. Now my son can tell us if he needs something. Now my son can tell us when he is not feeling well. Now my son can show us the pride he has when he completes a task from school. We can now hear my son... From the simplest request for an Oreo cookie, to asking to go to his grandparents house or the park.. or to participate in the classroom and answer questions...WE CAN HEAR HIM!!!"