Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gary James

Autism Light #55 is Gary James.

Gary James is from England and in 1992 moved to the United States. He now lives in Connecticut. He is the parent of two children with autism. He is also the founder of two companies that specialize in helping families with children with special needs. Gary James is an Autism Light because of his commitment to help families with children with autism, whether it be with Nanny needs or to utilize App resources of the iPad.

Gary James left his job working for Rolling Stone Magazine after his son Benjamin was diagnosed with autism, in order to dedicate his time to helping families with special needs children.  He first formed a company that located and screened Nannies for families with special needs children. Nannies for Children with Special Needs is a free service of Connecticut Domestics.

Then after seeing what the iPad did to change the life of his own children, he started A4CWSN, which stands for Apps for Children With Special Needs. Through A4CWSN Gary James has quickly become an expert on iPad apps for special needs children and his website had over a million visitors in the span of a year. Gary James says this about the iPad, "from one father to all the Fathers and Mothers out there, if you can afford to get an iPad, get one. It's going to change your life (Source)."

The following video is Gary James being interviewed by Craig Evans at Autism Hangout. Craig Evans was Autism Light #178.  In the interview, Gary James reveals that he feels the tablet technology is the future of education, especially for special needs children.

This quote by Gary James is a practical explanation of why he is so invested in Apps for Children with Special Needs.
Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum (ASD) particularly need to be taught in a way where they can literally touch the words and watch what the characters do when under their control. Apps on an iPad provide a huge benefit, allowing a match to be made between the pace of reading and interacting that works for an ASD child's unique style and needs (Source).
A4WCSN has had many programs over the years to help families that need an iPad or information on Apps. Some initiatives have been completed and some are ongoing. They including the following:
  • 40 iPads in 40 Days was announced by Gary James on his Facebook page on June 3, 2012. You need to subscribe to his Family email list to be eligible for free codes and opportunities to win an iPad in this current campaign.
  • Demonstrations of Apps for children with special needs, so that parents and educators can see how they work before purchasing them. Excellent video demonstrations about the most common Apps are featured on his website or YouTube Channel. Gary James does not rate Apps because he realizes that every App could be good for someone, so he just explains how they work and positive aspects of them. Gary James writes on his website, "Our aim is that these videos, along with relevant information and advice from an independent source you can trust, provides valuable insight into whether a product is suitable for its intended purpose or not, enabling sensible buying decisions to be made."
  • App Parties where Gary James makes available codes from App companies that allow them to be acquired either for free or at discounts. These are normally conducted via the A4CWSN Facebook page.  App Parties take place often and the best way to find out when the next one is taking place is to stay in touch with the A4CWSN website or follow their status on Facebook
  • IPads 4 U Campaign to offer subsidized iPads to needy families. Families pay $199 and Gary James is securing donors for the rest of the cost.  iPads are being subsidized as money is available and their is a waiting list of people set to receive future iPads.
  • 50 States/50 iPads Campaign where Gary James is raising money to give away 50 iPads (one in each state in the United States). Gary James is personally delivering each iPad to a needy family as funds are available to do this. The following is a news story on Gary James program to deliver 50 iPads to special needs children in 50 States.

Social Media: The following are ways to follow Gary James on Social Media or other online areas.
Support: There are many ways too support A4CWSN.  One can give direct donations or purchase products through the links on the A4CWSN page.

Contact: I personally contacted Gary James via his email at regarding a technical question before I purchased the first iPad for my son with autism. Gary provided a very quick and helpful response. I had asked him what size of an iPad to purchase and he indicated the entry level with 16G memory will work because one can upload programs to the iPad from the computer as needed, but he said the more memory one can get will make it more convenient.

Special thanks to Gary James for helping special needs children and their families secure the right Apps for their iPad and for helping some of the most needy to receive a free iPad for their child.  

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Photo: Photo in this post used with permission of Gary James.

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