2011 Winner - Emily Scott

Emily Scott is a funny, engaging 14-year-old girl who was born with a rare chromosomal syndrome called Partial Trisomy 13.

Following up with Emily’s mom Judith to hear how Emily was adjusting to her new device was both interesting and inspiring.
Although Emily’s disability affects her in many ways -- the way she walks, talks, interacts with others, and learns -- her biggest daily hurdle is communication. 

“Emily is vocal, but not intelligible,” Judith said, and went on to explain that this leads many people to very wrongly assume that she is not intelligent. Emily has been frustrated for much of her life, and more so now that she is a teenager, by her inability to talk to those around her. “The iPad,” Judith explained, “is giving Emily the ability to talk like a regular teenager.”

Emily has access to, and skillfully uses a Vantage communication device at school, but as is frequently the case, the device belongs to the school which means Emily cannot use it at home or to socialize outside
of school. When she leaves the school, she will lose access to her “voice.”

When her parents learned how the iPad was being used as a communication tool for people with disabilities, they were intrigued. In addition to being more user-friendly than the Vantage, it is also lighter and less clunky for Emily to transport. 

And besides ... it’s “cool!” Emily is learning to use the Touch Chat application (or “app”), also funded by The Eric Fund, to speak for her both inside and outside of school. Her mother explained that just like all young people seem to quickly and fearlessly learn to use iPad apps, Touch Chat is no different for Emily. 

“She is picking it up remarkably quickly and easily,” Judith said. “Probably easier than we are simply because she is not intimidated by it or afraid that she will break it.” She went on to explain that TouchChat is a comprehensive, expressive application that has a wide variety of uses for people with communication disabilities.

“We foresee a time when Emily as an adult may be able to live semi-independently. She may perhaps even be able to hold down a job and will certainly be able to engage with others socially,” Judith said. “Emily loves the iPad and we couldn’t be more pleased. 

The day is coming soon when the iPad and its accessibility apps will be what all people with communication disabilities turn to meet their needs.”

The Eric Fund is thrilled to be able to make Emily Scott a pioneer in this groundbreaking effort!