Monday, September 24, 2012

Iph One Wants To Make A Difference

It was about 1997 when I finally decided that I needed my own pc (as we called them then - personal computer). I'd survived two years of a Masters degree course by writing all my essays out in longhand but the dissertation was looming and there were strict rules and regulations about presentation.

A friend's father was upgrading his computer and offered to give me his old one. I couldn't believe my luck as I certainly couldn't afford to buy one. I was overwhelmed by his generosity. LOL, whilst it was very kind of him to pass on the unwanted dinosaur, I now realise that he was probably just as happy to have it go to a good home as I was to receive it. I used it as a glorified word processor and fax machine for a couple of years. It saw me through my dissertation and then died.

My next computer was built for me by a geeky friend (in the nicest possible way) who had a spare  motherboard lying around (as one does). I bought, with his guidance, a box, a monitor, a keyboard and one of those new amazing devices called a mouse (with its own little mouse pad). It cost me very little and...wait for it....I could get internet on it. Of course I couldn't use the phone whilst I was on the internet and my emails took an age to download. If anyone sent me a picture I cursed them and sent a very rude email back asking them not to as it cost me an hour in phone calls to receive it. 

I already had my eye on a laptop and, by working overtime in a second job for months, I eventually paid 12,000 shekels for it (2,000 pounds for Windows 3 point something and dial-up internet connection). The custom-made job eventually went to someone who just wanted the monitor. He kindly took the whole thing to save me the trouble of finding a home for it. I had tried donating it but I was laughed off the phone every time I described it. 

I loved my little laptop and used it from 2001 until 2010. After 10 years even I had to admit that it was obsolete. Reader, call me sentimental but I kept it. I may have still been traumatised by trying to give away my previous computer. 

I couldn't believe how much less I had to pay 10 years later for upgrading to my current machine. I was half inclined to wait until the price dropped to the extent that someone would knock on my door and say: Here's your new laptop and some cash we owe you for taking it. 

I've been so grateful for the circumstances that got me each of my computers. I should be talking about iphones but my mobile only makes calls. It doesn't even have a camera, I'm that much of a luddite. Why iphones? read on...

Iphones are updated regularly it seems. Companies with hundreds of employees might overhaul their entire collection. Even individuals upgrade themselves every couple of years. Not to is the equivalent of wearing flares in 1980 or shoulder pads in 1990. If you're not passing your old iphones on to your children, what happens to them? 

Iphones4autism run by my friend Val O'Donovan in Dublin, accepts your old iphones and gives them to children with autism. On the website is an incredible and moving story about a 5yo boy, Cahir, who doesn't speak and had no way of communicating anything to anyone - even his mother. He now uses his donated iphone with a special app (called the Grace App For Autism - read about it here) and his family have finally got to know him as a person. Before the iphone his mother didn't even believe he'd be able to handle the thing let alone communicate with her for the first time in his life.  

Cahir with his donated iphone

Please visit iphones4autism if you or anyone you know has an old iphone they can donate. Please tweet this post and send it to your facebook page. It could make a big difference to a child's life. 
Thank you. 



18 comments:

  1. Thank goodness for technology. When you read a story like Cahir's you truly appreciate how technological advances have changed lives, particularly those with learning disabilities and developmental delays.This is really inspiring. Thank you for bringing Val O'Donavan's amazing work to our attention.
    Gilly

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    1. I know it's amazing isn't it. I had no idea until I looked at the website. Thanks for commenting Gilly.

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  2. iphones4autism is fantastic isn't it? And I've seen at first hand the difference that an iphone or iPad can make to a child with autism. Hopefully this charity will really take off now x

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  3. I hope so too. In the (almost) words of Dory from Finding Nemo: Keep tweeting, just keep tweeting...

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  4. Wow - that'e a brilliant idea by your friend, and a wonderful story behind it. Ps. maybe I'm showing my years, but sometimes I just don't get all this mobile techy hoo haa. Surely a phone is simply for phoning?

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    1. LOL - apparently phone calls are the least used function of a smart phone. Mine's washing my kitchen floor as we speak. ;)

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  5. Thank you SO much for this R, much appreciated. It would be great if even 1% of the people upgrading to iPhone 5 donated their old one in my country it would make such an amazing difference. Maybe other countries would follow our lead?

    @Older Mum: it's the Apps on the iphone/iTouch/iPad that are MAGIC for children with Autism and other Special needs ;-)

    Oh, and it was approx 1997 when we got our first PC, no flat screen either! We still have it and it's still working...barely!

    xx Jazzy (Val O'Donovan)

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    1. Jazzy - I assume people can send iphones to you from all over the world meantime. Good luck with this important programme and please feel free to reply to any comments on this post. xx

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  6. I feel so fortunate that we can afford tech devices: an ipod and an ipad for our autistic son; and a replacement laptop for the one that died so our teenage girls can do their schoolwork (and ok, their facebook) without killing each other...

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    1. Have you heard of/used the Grace app? I find it fascinating that tech devices have given these children a life they could never have attained even 20 years ago.

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    2. My son uses the app Proloquo2go which is expensive, but not compared to specialized speech devices that are basically medical equipment and cost thousands...

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    3. Interesting. This is a whole new area for me I had no idea these apps existed until this week.

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  7. Great idea... I can't believe how quickly these things become obsolete. I kept the same phone for so long that when I went in to the shop to complain that the battery only lasted for about an hour, the guy called in everyone from the back to look at it as apparently it was now 'a museum piece'. I have an iPhone now but it's pretty old... so if and when I update, I'll certainly donate. :)

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    1. Thanks Jane. I eventually had to buy a new mobile phone when they stopped making the battery for my old one.

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  8. excellent and at a time when people might be dumping 4's in favour of 5's (which isn't something I understand but I know people do it).

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    1. I am amazed that everyone seems to want the new device before it's been tried and tested, and before the teething troubles have been fixed.

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