Tuesday, 27 March 2012

An Amazing Surprise - Thank You

This morning I went and cleared the RDA mail box, I hadn't been for a while and expected lots of bills. There were a few bills and two parcel notices. I popped straight in to the post office to collect the parcels thinking nothing of it. One parcel had to be scanned and signed for and again I thought nothing of it, even when the woman checked what my name was and matched it to the parcel. As I started the car my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to open the parcel which had required my signature to collect.

It was a small parcel with an electronically printed label. I didn't even read the label just opened the end and slid my hand in to then pull out a white box. I was puzzled and slid the white cover along the box to reveal this ......

I sat in the car stunned. I was holding an iPod in my hand. Why was someone sending the Riding Centre an iPod? Then I read the label on the parcel and realized that the parcel was addressed to Cameron and Jane - this was private mail, then as I read further I discovered that it had been sent from Big W in NSW and the sender had asked to remain anonymous because the parcel was a gift to us. Someone had sent Cameron an iPod. (I know it's a presumption but I really don't think anybody would be sending me an iPod.)

My mind spun. I just sat there staring at the iPod in disbelief. Finally I turned off the car and phoned MMM to tell him. He was equally stunned at the other end of the phone. I had to get moving so I put the iPod back in the package and placed it into my handbag for safety. I drove off questioning if what had just happened really happened.

This afternoon Cameron came home from Stagedoor with Grannie and I told him something amazing happened today. I got the parcel, told the story and opened it up for him. He took the box from my hands with a smile and immediately tried to move the pictures of the apps, he knew what was in his hands.

As soon as dinner was finished MMM opened the box and set up the iPod and of course loaded iCommunicate. I showed Cameron the wallpapers and he chose his wallpaper saying 'paper paper'. Then we gave Cameron his iPod ........

Cameron was so delighted and very at ease, holding his iPod very carefully. Tomorrow we will find a screen protector and cover for his iPod to keep it safe and then we can relax a little. I also have to remember to phone his Speech Therapist and let her know the news.

Even as I am typing this and looking at the photos this all feels totally unreal. Nothing like this has ever happened to us and I am feeling very emotional that someone would care so much to help Cameron communicate his wishes. We respect Cameron's secret benefactors wish to remain anonymous so my blog is the only way we can say Thank you.

Your gift will give Cameron a new found freedom and a way for him to control his own life. He has shown us that he has preferences and opinions and now we can give him choice no matter where we are. His iPod will go to school with him so when they leave the school Cameron will have a voice. It will go with him to Stagedoor with Grannie and swimming with Grandad. It will go out with us whenever we go out so if we stop for a drink, an ice cream or any situation where we would make a choice we will be able to give Cameron a choice and we will no longer stand there making decisions for Cameron. There may even be situations at Riding for the Disabled that Cameron can use his iPod.

Whoever you are - Thank You. Imagine the hug I am giving you and the enormous smiles on everyone's faces this evening. We raised our glasses to you this evening at dinner and I know if Cameron understood what you did for him he would give you the biggest smile, the biggest 'Taaaaaaaa' and the biggest hug.

Thank You.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Special Saturday - Technology

This week for Special Saturday we are discussing the impact of technology on our family members with Special Needs.

Initially I only thought about the here and now, what technology Cameron is using now. That is easy to answer - Television, DVD player, iPad, iPod, CD player, electronic games, electronic books.

Life would be very different if Cameron didn't have his DVD's to watch The Wiggles and his CD player to listen to his music. He really enjoys his books that make sounds and talk to him and then there are all the fabulous Leap Frog electronic toys which he falls in and out of love with constantly.

The modern technology which has made the biggest impact on Cameron's life is definitely his iPad. He uses it so much the 10 hour battery sometimes doesn't get him through the day. It has opened up his world, given him new fine motor skills, new responsibilities, filled his empty hours, made him popular, made others envious of him, introduced him to another world where he is learning about shapes, colours, numbers and letters. He's discovered books, games, music and fun. He has even learned to share and show. He will come and show me what he has found and he will let me share an app with him. He has discovered a whole new world.

Over the last month Cameron has been trialing an ipod. This trial has shown us as a family that Cameron doesn't need an electronic gadget to communicate with us what he needs and wants around our home but he does need a way to communicate his choices when he is out in the big wide world. Our next family mission is to get Cameron an iPod so he can use the iCommunicate app to make choices and then he can eat and drink what he chooses instead of what we guess he might like. Hopefully that will stretch to making choices about activities and other things we can't even imagine at the moment.

After thinking about the obvious answers I then reflected on Cameron's life and realized that he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for technology. Technology has saved and kept Cameron alive more than once. Of course technology at this level is no good unless it is in the hands of a trained technician and that is what our doctors in hospitals are these days. The hospital is full of technology from the front door to the back, so are the ambulances. And considering the fact that my Uncle died of Meningitis as a young child in the same hospital that Cameron survived Meningitis I think technology probably had a lot to do with it.

Life has changed dramatically over the last 60 years and technology has been one of the biggest changes. It's saved Cameron's life and continues to support him now. I think we are incredibly lucky to be raising a child now and not 60 years ago when there wasn't the same level of technology to help save lives and then support those who survive.

Thank goodness for Technology.

This blog post is part of the awareness raising campaign - Special Saturday - raising awareness of people living with special needs around the world.

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