Emotions were high June 30 at Community Living’s Technology Fund ceremony. There was excitement and there were tears. “Everyone in my family knows I’m the cry baby,” Rosetta Hodges, Caleb’s mom, said.
The tears from Rosetta were of pure joy, especially after watching her son, Caleb, open the iPad Pro and Otterbox, which he received at the ceremony. “Our family doesn’t always have the resources to do and get some of the things Caleb needs,” Rosetta said. “For me to see how excited he was, it comes from a grateful heart. Everything Community Living does as a whole has opened so many doors for him that he would never have had access to otherwise.”
Caleb, a participant of the Social Opportunities and Recreation (SOAR) program, was one of 24 individuals who received technology through the Technology Fund. Individuals who participate in one of Community Living’s direct support services programs were given the opportunity to apply for technology devices. “When I saw the application, I decided to apply,” Rosetta said. “We weren’t sure what Caleb would receive, but when he saw the iPad he was so excited.”
Now Caleb has his very own iPad, which his brother says he makes sure everyone knows. “When I brought it home, I immediately charged it and got it set up,” Caleb said. Currently, his favorite thing is playing “Flight Pilot” where he can build his own plan and fly it. While he plays the game, he talks about it and communicates with his family.
Communication doesn’t come easy for Caleb. But while holding the iPad, he becomes quite a communicator. “He won’t always tell you how he’s feeling, but when he’s holding the iPad it calms him, and he talks while utilizing the iPad because he has something to occupy him,” Rosetta said. “He will share more about his day and how he is feeling when he uses the iPad. Otherwise he keeps it all bottled inside.”
When he goes back to school in August, both Caleb and Rosetta know the iPad will be utilized for learning. “The school will be able to download applications, so I can have access to learning tools and assignments,” Caleb, who enjoys math and science, said. “I like my iPad and I also like the people who gave to the fund,” Caleb said. “They are so nice.”
The family hopes the iPad will help open doors for Caleb that otherwise wouldn’t be open for him. “He has a hard time with the social side of life,” Rosetta said. “The iPad is already helping him interact and we hope that only continues.”