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How Fund it Forward helped my autistic son get the Nexus 7 tablet he needed

Updated on September 7, 2015

My son is autistic. Big time. Not "a little odd" autistic. Autistic like can't put his shoes on the correct feet, Autistic. He puts his pants on backwards, shirt inside out on a good day. On a bad day, he might strip down and try to run around the neighborhood. Oh, and he is going to be 10, so it isn't like "hey look at the baby" cute.

I have to be frank, and try to laugh about this, because if I think of all the opportunities he won't get, all the things he might never do, I may break down. I hope you can laugh or smile with me.

Parents with autistic kids, you understand where I am coming from.

Fund it Forward Logo
Fund it Forward Logo

Tablet motivation

We first started learning the motivational power of a tablet at occupational therapy. Devin started playing Monkey Preschool lunchbox on an iPad. He loved every minute. Devin would work for "iPad time." And work hard!

The monkey laughed, Devin smiled(this is big!) and actually did the activities and learned quite a bit. His focus was amazing on that tablet. After a few weeks, we knew this was something that we needed to implement at home.

We imagined we could use the tablet to both calm Devin down when he was upset, as well as educate him.

Our life was about to change much more than that.

Tablet Apps

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

This was the app that started it all for Devin.

Early Photo of Devin
Early Photo of Devin

So we got a tablet...

We were finally able to save up and purchase a tablet. Not an iPad, as even a new 1st generation iPad is over $200. We purchased a Google Nexus 7 tablet for $199. It also came with some credit at Google Play, which allowed us to purchase the apps Devin was using at therapy.

Devin really loved those apps. They kept him calm, and busy, instead of tearing another 2 foot hole in our bathroom wall, or tearing up all the carpet in his room, revealing Terrazzo floor from the 1960s.

His focus on the Nexus 7 was amazing. Devin paid very close attention to what was going on that screen. Devin gets distracted while trying to Velcro his shoes, so any sort of attention to what is going on is really good for him.

The tablet was teaching him how to react to events occurring in real time. It was teaching him to count, to make decisions, colors, shapes. Monkey math was teaching addition and subtraction. Devin was even learning to read sight words.

Devin was now able to sit quietly, tapping on his tablet. We dared trying to go "out."

Devin and Connor, going for a "Train Ride"
Devin and Connor, going for a "Train Ride"

Going out!

Our first time at out went really well!

Our first attempt was church. The tablet alternated between Jake, Connor, and Devin. We brought small snacks that they loved. We brought coloring books.

Between these three things, we were able to keep the 3 kids (relatively) quiet. Devin wasn't yelling or screaming.

We could go out to restaurants. Not McDonald's or Steak n Shake. Sit-down restaurants, with real silverware and glasses. Cloth Napkins!

For once, we weren't the family everyone looked at disgustingly. "Why can't they keep those kids quiet?"

Disaster Strikes!

Devin's tablet was charging, while connected to a USB port on the computer. He was seated on a chair, tablet in hand, playing Monkey Math. His little brother, Jacob, ran between the computer and the chair he was seated. He didn't see the cord. The tablet was thrown to the ground.

The screen was shattered. The tablet would turn on, but the touch capabilities no longer functioned. Worse, broken glass could injure Devin, or someone else in the family.

Repairing the Nexus 7 would cost almost as much as a new one, and we just don't have the funds.

Fund it Forward Saves the Day!

I was provided information during Devin's therapy sessions about getting assistance in funding for assistance devices. I looked over the list, checked out a few sites. Most of them were confusing.

Kristin Hasley from FiF contacted me by phone. I felt great after talking to her, and I know we can work together and help Devin and help FiF provide for more children.

Fund it Forward is a volunteer run non-profit organization that specializes in funding things for children. If your child needs an iPad, they can help. If your child needs an above ground pool, wheelchair accessible van, specialized safety bed, or bicycle, Fund it Forward can help.

Contact information for Fund it Forward


P.O. Box 457

Wexford, PA 15090

Phone: 303 - 619 - 3514


A final note

I am happy to announce that Fund it Forward has been accepted as a Squidoo partner and will now receive all profits from this page.

If you want to donate, you can donate to Fund it Forward directly via paypal.

Here is a link to donate at the Fund it Forward website.

Even if you can't donate, visiting this page daily helps get it ranked higher. A higher rank means advertisement revenue that goes to charity.

Sharing this page on facebook so the page gets more traffic helps tremendously!

Google Nexus 7 Tablet (16 GB)
Google Nexus 7 Tablet (16 GB)

This is the Nexus tablet we had. There is a 32 GB version as well, but 16 was enough for us.


Nexus tablets

These are similar to iPads, but much less expensive. I've seen Devin using both iPads and Nexus 7 tablets. Nexus 7 worked just as well as iPad, and was much less expensive.

You can find other tablets even less expensive, but I haven't used them, so I don't feel comfortable recommending them.

Say something about Autism, Charities, Fund it Forward, or just say "Hi"

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    • Grifts profile image

      Devin Gustus 4 years ago

      @norma-holt: Thanks!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      Great story and nice happy ending. Congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very well written! Love this and so very informative!

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Fantastic information for parents of children with autism. Hopefully they will discover why so many children are developing this disability so they can put a stop to it in future generations.

    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      This is a fantastic lens and well deserving of lens of the day. Congrats!

      I have worked with severely autistic children in the school system and I can only imagine what it would be like to be a parent of a child with autism, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It sounds like you handle it well and with grace...good on you.

    • profile image

      natureadventure 4 years ago

      It's great lens and great job in the meantime to support the kids with fund raising.Touching story.. congrats on Lotd!!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      Congrats on the success of your lens, it really deserves it! Your story was touching and informative. Thank you.

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image

      floppypoppygift1 4 years ago

      I already enjoy Kickstarter but this is another great idea for charity-minded folks!!! Best wishes with your family! Cheers~cb

    • ValerieJoy profile image

      Valerie Smith 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Congratulations on LotD, and thank you for sharing your story. It's great that the charity is there to assist.

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      I'm so glad it is helping him. My brother-in-law is severely autistic, but he is much older. Thanks for sharing this and congrats on LotD!

    • profile image

      yvonnewilly 4 years ago

      This was informative. These tables seem to be a good breakthrough for autism.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Hi! I volunteer at a school in China working with special ed kids. Tablets are wonderful. Sometimes noise reduction earphones work well too. How wonderful that the tablet helps so much! All the best to you and Devin too.

    • essayshub profile image

      essayshub 4 years ago

      I am with you. When it comes to case like this, one should stay strong for their kids.

    • kigenemmanuel profile image

      kigenemmanuel 4 years ago

      It is great that the tablet is really helping and that Fund it forward made it possible to get a replacement tablet. I wish your son a great future and thumbs up for your positive attitude and a great article.

    • profile image

      iamme89 4 years ago

      People with autism have issues with non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and activities that include an element of play and/or banter. Kids with this kind of conditions should really be taken care of.,

    • profile image

      iamme89 4 years ago

      wow., I so enjoyed reading this..

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am happy to announce that Fund it Forward has been accepted as a Squidoo partner and will now receive all profits from this page.

    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 4 years ago

      Thank You for the info on FIF I had never heard of the organization before. Great lens on a worthy cause. I hope you receive a new pad.

    • profile image

      krishankumar00102 4 years ago

      Wonderful story.. and wonderful tablet

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      This is wonderful news. Thank you for sharing your story and the information about the charity.

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this. My son was recently dx'd with autism and I had been wondering about iPads, apps, etc.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 4 years ago

      I think this is just awesome! Also, that Devin is certainly a handsome little guy!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your LoTD award. Thank you for sharing your story about your son and the Fund it Forward which can help others.

    • ColorPetGifts profile image

      ColorPetGifts 4 years ago

      Awesome, congrats on everything all around! :)

    • Dianna206 profile image

      Dianna206 4 years ago

      Congratulations! I too have an autistic son and write about autism on some of my lenses! I wish I would've known about this organization! How cool!

    • KentuckyGal LM profile image

      KentuckyGal LM 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LotD. Thank you for sharing the FiF site with those who are in need. My younger boy, now 15, has sensory integration issues and never liked to read. But when his Mamaw got him an e-reader he took OFF! I am amazed and so grateful!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      It's very cool of you to recognize this group and how they helped you family. Awesome lens.

    • ehomedesignidea1 profile image

      ehomedesignidea1 4 years ago

      I'm glad that there are charities like Fund It Forward. More power to everyone who is behind this and of course to your family. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is a terrific story. Glad Fund it Forward is around to help. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      Best wishes to you and your family! This is a wonderful lens. Glad you received LOTD and Purple Star. What's funny...I grew up near Wexford, PA and never knew this organization existed. I'm glad it does.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      I can hear the happiness, even in your writing voice! I smiled at your family getting to go out to a restaurant with real napkins, Bravo! I cringed reading the accident that caused the tablet breakage. But I smiled once again when I knew your son would get another. Fund it Forward sounds like a wonderful organization that will be a blessing to many. It's great to know they are now a part of the Squidoo Charity Program!

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 4 years ago

      How terrific and boy can I relate! It's almost a daily thing to get my son to turn his shirt around and have his shoes on properly and tied (he's 14)...though he's bipolar and ADHD not autistic. I finally had blood work done to rule out Asperger's through the neurologist and nothing. Nothing on the MRI either. But I laughed when you mentioned the pants - I still tell him every day to zip them up! lol Glad you got some help with Fund it Forward!

      Great job on your LoTD!

    • MCB2011 profile image

      MCB2011 4 years ago

      I love your attitude. Great that you have the support. I hope this helps many other families. Thanks for your input.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Helping others is a critical part of being a member of humanity. Thank you for publishing this wonderful lens. Wish you the best.

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 4 years ago

      Thanks or sharing your story, and congratulations on LOTD!

    • oddobjective profile image

      oddobjective 4 years ago

      It is so wonderful to know that there is an organization out there to help get children things that they need. It sounds like a blessing for your family and that is great.

    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 4 years ago from Ethiopia

      A well-recounted true-life story with a dramatic climax and a happy ending. Well done to Fund it Forward, and also congratulations to you on your LotD.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      I am glad to know that you were able to find a way to help your son and your entire family. Many blessings for Fund it Forward.

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 4 years ago from Canada

      I do donate to charities where I can actually see the results of where my money was spent. Fund It Forward would be something I would donate to.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 4 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Glad to hear that you were able to find a way to help your son and your entire family. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are lots of people who would love to help you if they can. Hurray for Fund it Forward for doing what they did to help.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      What an awesome story, I'm glad you were able to get help when you needed it. God bless you all and stay storng.

    • profile image

      RANADEEP 4 years ago

      Great contribution,very good lense!!Keep it up and we can realize the facts,thank you for sharing!!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Great story and glad that Fund It Forward helped you out! Well done on LOTD!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      What a wonderful story! I am thrilled you found an educational software program that your sweet son (little monkey ) loves! It is great that Fund it Forward is on the charity list.

    • profile image

      Haythem 4 years ago

      So happy for you

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      I'm so glad Fund it Forward was able to help your son. :-)

    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! At the school where I work we have iPads that were funded by the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and I've seen them works wonders with kids with challenges. I have a little friend who is 6 and autistic and he was able to learn how to write his letters from the left side of the page to the right by playing an app that had him help a penguin escape a polar bear. Fund It Forward sounds like a wonderful organization and I'm glad they were able to help Devin.

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      Fund It Forward sounds like a great organization! Congrats on LOTD, you deserve it! :)

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 4 years ago from State of Confussion

      Its always great that by creating a lens you are able to share what an organization has done for you. As a nonprofit any little bit helps them. And checking their website your lens is being shared in more ways then one. Great way to help each other. And as LOTD this will help both of you bring the word to more people than you could have imagined. Way to go.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 4 years ago

      A great Story and a great ending, I'm all for "real" charities, that do "real" good especially for our little and not so little ones. Congratulations of LofTD! you really do deserve it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow that's an awesome story! Thank you for sharing it, so glad FIF was able to help.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It always makes me so happy to know that there are organizations such as Fund it Forward.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for sharing your story. Congratulations on LotD!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Technology is a beautiful thing when it can help children tap into the power of their inner gifts. I'm thankful you have found something that makes a big difference in Devin's (and your family's) quality of life. With the diagnosis of autism dramatically on the rise, this is a very important topic. Kudos to Fund It Forward for all they are doing to help those who could greatly benefit from the right assistance device.

    • profile image

      Artsong8 4 years ago

      Thanks for providing encouragement and ideas for other parents dealing with the same challenges. Every kid deserves to live up to his/her own potential and enjoy life in unique ways. For too long autism isolated families due to lack of information and support. Hopefully that is changing in a big way. Keep up the great work!

    • Rosanna Grace profile image

      Rosanna Grace 4 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your story and am happy to hear you were able to broaden your son's horizons with the tablet. It is very uplifting to read of how awareness raising and resources (although still slim at times) have increased significantly over the years.

      My sister's diagnosis was missed until she left high school.That was many years ago now and my parents have done a wonderful job on their own, to help her reach her true potential. Asperger's Syndrome has touched many of my friends and some family members. My daughter (not AS as far as I can tell so far) attends a mainstream school that has been specially targeted (although not adequately resourced) for autistic children. There is a lot more hope for families now. Bless you and stay strong for your son. I wish you all the best.

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 4 years ago

      I hope Squidoo approves your request to add "Fund it Forward" to the list of charities. I heard that tablets work wonders when it comes to teaching kids with autism, so I am glad that you were able to get another tablet for your child.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

      How wonderful to hear about tech enriching your child's life (and easing your own!) in such a direct and measurable way! I think it's so great that you're working to get Fund it Forward added to the Squidoo charity options, too. "For once, we weren't the family..." oh, gosh. My boss has an autistic son, and he has also found the tablet to be a near-miraculous tool for helping Daniel grow, learn, and play while saving the sanity of other family members.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for this info. How helpful it is to parents.

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      Well done lens,

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 4 years ago

      Well done lens,

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Fund it Forward rules!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I did not know about Fund It Forward so am glad to know and am thankful that your son got another iPad.