Unique, Touching Video Brings Testimonials of Parents of Teens with Special Needs (Including Autism) Using iPad to Communicate with Their Surroundings
Tel Aviv, Israel, July 27, 2017. Israel’s Athena Fund, a nonprofit organization empowering teachers, has produced a unique video to raise awareness of the incredible ability of teens with special needs (including autism) to communicate with their families and friends with the help of an iPad.
This exciting, touching video features testimonials of parents to teens with special needs, describing how the iPad enables their children to express themselves in various subjects and communicate with them and their surroundings. “For me, it was 19 years of absolute darkness, an agonizing gloom,” says a mother to a teen with autism, describing what life with her child was like, when communication with him seemed impossible. “I got a square key in the shape of an iPad that opens for me not a window, not a door – a huge gate – into the depths of my son’s soul.”
Another mother of a teen with special needs, named Yair, says: “The moment Yair started working on and using the iPad, he suddenly discovered entire worlds. He saw all types of things that can be done, and from this place he just moved ahead and developed.”
The video can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slYKlN5-zUo, on the Athena Fund’s website at http://www.athenafund.org/?categoryId=8570&itemId=272814 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AthenaFund/videos/1376657785721657/?autoplay_reason=all_page_organic_allowed&video_container_type=0&video_creator_product_type=2&app_id=2392950137&live_video_guests=0
“This unique video is soul-stirring, and brings tears to the eyes of the toughest people,” said Uri Ben-Ari, Athena Fund’s founder and president. “Children and teens, who for years were considered to be completely incapable of making contact with those around them, are now able to communicate and express themselves in many and varied ways.”
There are more than 190,000 special education students in Israel – 16% in kindergartens, 50% in elementary schools, and 34% in post-elementary schools. Through Athena Fund’s “iPad for Every Special Education Teacher in Israel” program, about 10,000 special education teachers in Israel will receive iPads with specialized software and applications for students with special needs and various disabilities. The program is designed to empower special education teachers by enabling them to communicate better with their students, gain access to a wider range of teaching materials, and expose their students to the world of advanced technology.
The iPad is especially important in special education. In addition to being an extremely effective tool for the teacher in the classroom, studies have shown that the iPad allows children with special needs to communicate better and more effectively with their environment. For example, the iPad enables children with autism, even those who had never before communicated with their parents and their environment, to interact with their surroundings in a most exciting manner. Many parents have expressed how the iPad has helped them open a window into the soul of their special needs children, and enabled them to talk with the children about current and high-level subjects. This has led to a dramatic improvement in the lives of special needs children and their families.
About the Athena Fund
Established in 2006, the Athena Fund is a nonprofit organization working to promote the empowerment of teachers in Israel by providing them with tools for self-fulfillment and professional advancement. The Fund was founded by several prominent business leaders under the direction of President Uri Ben-Ari (CEO of UBA Ventures and former Executive VP of Ness Technologies). The Fund's programs are Laptop Computer for Every Teacher in Israel (launched in 2007), Laptop Computer for Every Kindergarten Teacher (2012), Tablet for Every Science Teacher (2014), and iPad for Every Special Education Teacher (2015). So far, the Athena Fund, together with its partners, has provided laptops, tablets and iPads to approximately 15,000 teachers across Israel, in 1,240 schools and kindergartens in 123 local authorities (municipalities, local and regional councils), according to the Fund’s various programs. Each teacher also receives 120 hours of techno-pedagogical training from professional instructors, with support from the Ministry of Education. For more information please visit http://www.athenafund.org/index.php?categoryId=8561