LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Twelve local kids with various forms of autism got a new tool to help with their therapy Tuesday.
The La Crosse Kiwanis Club teamed up with the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation and raised about $5200, enough to buy a dozen kids iPads, cases and software geared toward kids with autism. One of the kids who received an iPad is Josh Seefeldt
It's been five years since doctors diagnosed Josh with Aspergers, an autism spectrum disorder.
"All the quirkiness he was displaying in his behaviors, we knew," said Tina Seefeldt, Josh's mom. "Everything had to be a certain way, like his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches had to be cut a certain way or he'd have tantrums."
Now almost 10 years old, Josh has come a long way, learning to control behaviors through various therapies. But like many kids on the autism spectrum, a lot of things don't come easily to Josh. He requires more help in at home and in school.
"Sundays are really hard for him," Tina said. "He's told us that. It doesn't matter what we do on a Sunday, for school, he will usually have a really bad day and it's like how can we help you and he's like well Mondays are really hard for me because it all starts over again."
The latest tool in Josh's therapy is an iPad. Believe it or not there's more than one 'app' for autism. But Josh's mom says it's about how the technology caters to her son's needs.
"Josh, he struggles with reading and writing, his fine motor, writing's really hard for him, like spatial awareness and stuff and for him to take notes is very difficult," Tina said.
"I can't write that good," Josh said. "And when I type stuff in on the iPad, it just looks like a regular writing."
Josh can also plan out his day with the iPad, using picture calendars, and Tina hopes this gadget accelerates Josh's independence.
"It's hard for him to remember what you asked him to do," Tina said. "So I'm thinking if I could set up a schedule too like, you know, did you feed your rat? Did you walk to the dog?"
Josh says starting fifth grade in the fall will now be a little easier.
"You can learn from it and read and do a lot of stuff on there," Josh said. "It's going to help me a lot in school."
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