Because of his disabilities, Anselmo Aviles, 49, is unable to speak or walk. He was using a simple picture book to communicate when Easter Seals Speech-Language Pathologist Samantha Oxton met him at the Bay Cove Day Habilitation Program in Charlestown.
“It became evident to me that Anselmo had a lot more to say than what he could say with his picture book,” Samantha said.
Samantha and her Easter Seals Assistive Technology colleagues worked together to find a new way for Anselmo to communicate. After an evaluation, Easter Seals provided him with an iPad. And, after consulting with the Bay Cove staff, Samantha programmed in words and phrases Anselmo could use in conversations.
Samantha also worked with his Easter Seals occupational therapist and physical therapist to set up a Bluetooth speaker and a mount to attach the iPad to Anselmo’s wheelchair.
The sleek iPad is a perfect fit for Anselmo. Once he began using it, everyone could see what a cool, funny guy – and what a huge Boston sports fan – he is. He also loves gossip. One of his favorite iPad features is its camera – because he can refer to the photos in conversations.
With the iPad, Anselmo’s independence has grown. Now he can go into a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts by himself and order his own coffee. He even made a new friend there – a staff member named Eddie.
Anselmo’s iPad also helps him relate to his friends in the Day Habilitation program. When one man who has autism is going through a difficult time, Anselmo is able to speak key phrases that help calm him.
As a result of Anselmo’s success, other Day Habilitation participants now have iPads, new opportunities to communicate and new independence.
Day Habilitation Director Kristen Letourneau is grateful for the part Easter Seals therapists and technology specialists have played in making that happen.
“The Easter Seals staff is so creative. They’ve found solutions where others weren’t able to,” she said. “I just want to say thank you. We really do appreciate what you do,” Kristen added. “Thank you, Easter Seals. Your program is amazing, as are your employees.”
The Easter Seals services Anselmo receives are made possible by a partnership with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.