2015 Winner - Elliott Conecker

Elliott was born with vision impairments and developmental delays that impact his capacity to interact with his family and peers.  His parents had Elliott's first speech/hearing evaluation when he was not yet two, in hopes of getting a jump on determining which adaptive devices could help him thrive in his toddler years and hit the ground running in pre-school.  It was determined Elliott engaged well with speech generating devices and cause/effect switches to explore his environment.  The Eric Fund provided colorful toys and adaptive switches to help him learn to communicate and interact with is family. 

2014 Winner - Kayla Mallory

2014 Winner - Kayla Mallory

Kayla Mallory is an 8-year-old girl who lives with her parents and brother in Washington, D.C. Kayla is a person with autism and complex behavioral issues. Kayla received an Eric Fund grant for multi-sensory equipment that will turn a room in her home into a multi-sensory room to provide Kayla a place to receive sensory therapy. Cheri, Kayla’s mother, was excited to learn of her daughter’s grant award from The Eric Fund. Cheri explained that one of Kayla’s primary sensory activities she enjoys is spending time on her swing outside. “Since winter time is coming, it will be so great to have this equipment in the house,” Cheri said. The equipment package includes various lights, switches, sound devices, projectors and even a bubble machine. Cheri said the equipment will help not only Kayla, but also her brother who experiences sensory challenges. “We are so excited!” Cheri said.

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2014 Winner - Steven Moshuris

2014 Winner - Steven Moshuris

Steven Moshuris is a 10-year-old, energetic kid who lives with his family, including two siblings, in Alexandria, Virginia. He has autism and has challenges expressing himself verbally. After Steven broke the screen on the iPad his school provided, he was no longer allowed to bring it home. According to his dad, Demetrious, Steven’s communication suffered, and because his lack of communication frustrates him, he’s had a tough time with other behaviors.

The iPad2® and Proloquo2go software provided by The Eric Fund will enable Steven to communicate at a much higher level with his family. His dad told us, “The first and second order effects of that cannot be overstated. His difficult behaviors will be tempered; he will be able to articulate his wants and needs to everyone he encounters, and he will be able to communicate with his brother and sister. Steven’s quality of life is going to increase. We know from experience that breaking the communication hurdle is crucial to Steven’s development.”

 

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2014 Winner - Manuel Perez Medellin

2014 Winner - Manuel Perez Medellin

Manuel Perez Medellin is a 38-year-old man who, before the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS), worked as a home remodeler. He lives with his family in College Park, Maryland. Due to his physical disabilities as a result of MS, Manuel is no longer able to work and has difficulty standing for long periods of time or walking any distance. He has been seeking treatment and physical therapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital where it was determined that the Bioness L300 Foot Drop System would be of great help to Manuel. This system will allow him to regain his freedom and independence by helping him walk with greater speed, stability and confidence. The physical therapy sessions at Johns Hopkins also included training classes on how to operate and maintain the Bioness L300 Foot Drop System, so Manuel is ready and able to make the best possible use of this medical device awarded to him by The Eric Fund. Manuel was very happy to be notified of this award and he said that it would help him immeasurably in his daily activities.

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2014 Winner - Marisa Laios

2014 Winner - Marisa Laios

Marisa Laios is a young woman living with cerebral palsy who is determined to take part in community life as independently as possible. She uses a power wheelchair to navigate her home and community and, with the help of a care companion, is able to successfully tend to activities of daily living.

Like many people her age, Marisa loves going to the beach and enjoys it even more when she is able to sit in the sand, like her peers. However, due to her mobility limitations, Marisa often encounters many barriers when trying to access recreational and social activities that her friends and peers take for granted. Going to the beach – and transferring to the sand – is an example of one such activity that Marisa has challenges accessing, made all the more frustrating by the fact that she loves it so much.

When Marisa contacted The Eric Fund to request an adaptive beach chair that would allow her to sit upright and be supported in the sand, she had already been denied funding by a variety of different sources on the grounds that it wasn’t “medically necessary.” While perhaps it is not, the beach chair is just the sort of adaptive device that The Eric Fund loves to provide to enable Marisa to access – and fully experience – going to the beach. In turn, this will enable Marisa to more thoroughly interact with her friends and enjoy the types of experiences that are essential to a good quality of life. Bring on the sand!

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2014 Winner - James Hyman

2014 Winner - James Hyman

A bright 7-year-old boy from Damascus, Maryland, James Hyman has Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia and ADHD. He is looking forward to an assistive technology grant from The Eric Fund to help him expand learning opportunities at school and communicate more easily with family and friends. His parents’ request to The Eric Fund for electronic aids such as an iPad, plus a special adaptive chair and desk, is an outgrowth of recommendations from his school and Children’s Hospital where he works with therapists. James has access to some of the equipment that assists him in learning and improving his communication skills at these locations, but needed the supports at home as well.

The school James attends focuses on supporting children with disabilities; however, the technology that is available to him at school and in his occupational therapy is not provided for his use away from the school or hospital environment. Because he experiences social and academic challenges, his teachers and doctors recommend that he use technology to enhance his education program and better communicate his thoughts by writing his assignments on a computer. According to James’s mother, Catherine, the family is hopeful that The Eric Fund award of an iPad Air2® will help build his confidence and allow James to develop life-long strategies he will use in school and once he graduates.

The Eric Fund is pleased to provide James with some of the assistance he needs to help him advance as he meets the challenges of each new level of school. A 2-year warranty will accompany the iPad.

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2014 Winner - Benjamin

2014 Winner - Benjamin

Benjamin is a 17-year-old student who attends public school in Fairfax, Virginia.

Despite a robust special needs program, the budgetary restrictions at Benjamin’s school makes access to technological devices difficult. Benjamin’s mom was thrilled to find out The Eric Fund helped fill the gaps in assistive technology funding and that the Eric Fund granted her son an iPad Air2®, a protective case, communication software and a two-year warranty for the device.

Benjamin’s mother is a single mom and has spent years working with the public school to maximize Benjamin’s potential. Benjamin has autism and has challenges communicating verbally. Upon hearing the news of the grant, she said, “I can’t believe it. Such wonderful news! There are so many things that Ben will now be able to do. The iPad will not only give him pleasure but will allow him to interact with those around him.” Benjamin’s iPad and new software will give him the means to communicate with his family, classmates and friends who will be able to follow Benjamin’s activities on the blog his parents created for him. His mom is also looking to Benjamin’s future needs when she is no longer able to support him. She feels his success will be greatly enhanced by his access and use of technology like the iPad and software Proloquo2go.

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2013 Winner - Brian Tran

2013 Winner - Brian Tran

Brian Tran, a 10-year-old from Fredericksburg, VA, has autism that results in speech delay and difficulty integrating with his environment. Brian attends a school that specializes in teaching kids with severe autism where his mother Christine has witnessed the profound effect that technology can have on kids like her son. Currently, Brian primarily echoes words he hears others say and only speaks about 4 words on his own.

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2013 Winner - Trayonne Robertson

Trayonne Robertson, a 21-year-old student at St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School is from Bowie, MD. Trayonne has multiple disabilities due to cerebral palsy and intellectual disability and he works daily to achieve his goals. Trayonne enthusiastically engages with staff and his peers when in school and his favorite activity is music and singing.

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2012 Winner - Enrique Oviedo

2012 Winner - Enrique Oviedo

Enrique Oviedo is a 12 year old from Bristow, VA who has Down syndrome. Enrique has intellectual disabilities and a very limited vocabulary. Enrique has had trouble responding to the available com- munication devices available at his school and has been mostly sedentary at home and shown little interest in academic activity. With the help of a therapist, Enrique has been introduced and learned to use an iPad. 

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2012 Winner - Alex Martin

2012 Winner - Alex Martin

Alex Martin, 19, of Rockville, MD is a talented young artist with autism who is unable to speak and reads at a first-grade level. Alex will use his new iPad in school to learn new design programs and improve his computer skills. The iPad will help him communicate and the Edmark Software II that The Eric Fund is providing will help him improve his reading. 

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2012 Winner - Vincent

2012 Winner - Vincent

Twenty six year-old Vincent of Woodbridge, VA had a life changing moment at his most recent assistive technology evaluation last winter when he was given an opportunity to use an iPad. Vincent, who has autism, intellectual disabilities and apraxia of speech, is difficult to understand when he speaks. “Vincent is a very loving and happy young man,” says his mom Theresa, “but he becomes frustrated and upset when people can’t understand him.”

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2012 Winner - Kelly Jones

2012 Winner - Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones is a 51 year-old man who is blind. A slight stroke resulted in some mobility issues for Kelly, who lives with his sister Sultana, who is his best friend and advocate. Despite his blindness, Sultana says Kelly has always strived to be independent. “He is willing to work with his hands,” she says, “he’s helpful and kind and will give you his best work.” 

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2012 Winner - Randolf Kendrick

2012 Winner - Randolf Kendrick

Randolph Kendrick, Jr., of Warrenton, VA is 22 years old and has multiple disabilities including autism, blindness, developmental disabilities and epileptic seizure disorder. His life took a downward turn when he finished school and no longer had access to the assistive technology that he used while he was there to communicate his wants and needs. His inability to communicate verbally greatly increases his stress and frustration.

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2012 Winner - Garret Smith

2012 Winner - Garret Smith

Garrett Smith, 7, of Alexandra, VA, has autism that contributes to his lack of focus and development of language and social skills. The iPad he is receiving from The Eric Fund along with several Apple applications will give Garrett access to programs that help with conversation, eye contact and simple social skills. Garrett’s Mom, Pamela is especially pleased with the mobility of the iPad that will allow him to travel with it from home to school and classroom-to- classroom.

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2012 Winner - Esme Farb

2012 Winner - Esme Farb

Esme Farb, 41, of Arlington, VA has an extraordinary story to tell. She grew up deaf and with mild cerebral palsy. While in secondary school she became an advocate for deaf issues and participated in overseas exchange programs. Her dream was to join the Peace Corps after college and serve deaf communities in developing countries. In her junior year at Gallaudet University she was in a terrible car accident causing traumatic brain injury and serious physical disabilities.

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