Autism foundation helps kids through therapy, technology

Harrisburg

April is Autism Awareness month and a local nonprofit that helps individuals with autism is hoping you will help it match a goal.

Andrew’s Gift is a foundation formed in Dauphin County in 2014. It’s designed to help those living with autism by providing technology and therapies, including iPad training sessions at Vista School in Harrisburg, which donates space for the one day, seven-hour session.

Instructors show invitees how to use the free iPad and app technology. In turn, they can share what they learn with loved ones or students.

A single mother and Carlisle resident, Rebecca Schreiber-Reis, has 4- and 7-year-old sons on the autism spectrum.

“Both my kids have had speech delays, so I’m hoping the iPad will be able to help with that a lot. Also, fine motor skills are delayed and I’m hoping we can do a lot with that, too,” Schreiber-Reis said.

Foundation co-founder Andrew Ward said results from using the iPads can happen within a short amount of time.

“To see individuals who have not spoken in three or five years and they come in, literally within a month of being with us, they can communicate using the device, but some are actually developing language for the first time in their life and it’s amazing to see the progress,” Ward said.

Andrew’s Gift is looking for donors to help the nonprofit grow and help more people.

“This is a big month for us,” Ward said. “This is National Autism Awareness Month, so we have a generous donor who is matching dollar for dollar the gifts that we get this month.”

Schreiber-Reis says she wouldn’t have been able to afford the iPads without the generous Andrew’s Gift donors. She hopes people will consider supporting the nonprofit and its fundraiser.

“It’s totally out of the realm for me without this kind of support. which is a difficult thing to face, but I’m just so grateful this type of nonprofit exists in the community to support parents,” she said.

Andrew’s Gift also offers grants to summer camp, horseback riding and other therapies. To help in it’s matching grant request or to get assistance, go to www.andrewsgift26.com.
 

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