Please note - all of the computers for the 2012 Laurie Flutie Computer Initiative have been granted. Check back here for information on the 2013 program as it becomes available.
When facing the challenges of improving America's schools, there is one point that everyone can agree on: the role of technology in the classroom is a key part of this country's educational future. It can be especially helpful in the education of children with autism. The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation has long recognized this fact and in 2000 the Laurie Flutie Initiative was created for the purpose of donating computers systems to underprivileged families of individuals with autism as well as to schools with autism-specific classrooms.
In 2003, the Flutie Foundation formed a partnership with Compaq/HP. Through this partnership the foundation has been able to increase the number of computers donated. To date the foundation has distributed close to 500 computers to families and schools in New York and New England. Since coming on board as a sponsor of the Initiative, Hewlett Packard has donated over 250 computers to the Foundation.
Computers are given to families of children with autism who could not otherwise afford to pay for them and to autism-specific classrooms for the sole use of children with autism and their teachers. In order for a family to apply for a computer, they must provide a reference from an outside non-profit organization or school system that will be asked to confirm the family's need and sign off on the donation.
Due to the increased cost in shipping, the Laurie Flutie Computer Initiative is limited to individuals and schools in New England, New York and New Jersey.
For more information about the Computer Initiative, please contact Chris Chirco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arc of Bristol County Press Release - January 2012
Flutie Foundation Donates Computer to New Bedford Youth
Thanks to the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation, TJ DeCosta now has a computer. TJ is a young man diagnosed with autism who receives services through The Arc of Greater New Bedford (a division of The Arc of Bristol County). He communicates through pictures, gestures, and has minimal verbal ability. TJ is in a special education classroom with ABA specialists in the New Bedford School System.
The free computer comes as part of the Laurie Flutie Computer Initiative, which was founded in 2000 as part of the Flutie Foundation's annual grant cycle. The program has given more than 500 computers directly to underprivileged families of children with autism and their school districts in New England, New York, and New Jersey. The Arc applied for the computer on TJ's behalf to help him attain educational and personal goals.
TJ's personal care assistant has helped to get the computer up and running so he can use it for information, education, and communication. This technology will give TJ the opportunity to carry over what he has learned at school and create a continuum of services.
TJ's mom is extremely touched by the generosity of the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation that helps children with autism have access to technology. It opens windows and doors to helping them achieve. So many things in life are so very difficult for TJ, having a new computer to help him brings happiness to both he and his mom.
About The Arc: Founded in 1959, The Arc of Bristol County provides a variety of services for over 2,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities, and their families, including an array of educational, social, and life enrichment activities for children and adults with developmental disabilities. The Arc also provides a wide array of individualized services, including family support, respite, individual supports, shared living, recreation, guardianship, representative payee services, and more. We partner with the United Way and many local organizations to expand opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities. For more information, call 508-226-1445 or visit www.arcnbc.org.
The following is a progress report submitted to the Flutie Foundation on behalf of a family that received a laptop through the Foundation's 2011 Laurie Flutie Computer Initiative*. The child's mother expressed to the Foundation that the computer donated to her adopted daughter has "changed my life."
Sharon is a single mother living on a very limited disability income. She has had uterine cancer. Yet despite her own challenges, this courageous, caring, and resourceful woman has successfully parented 13 foster children. Sharon adopted her youngest, who has Asperger's Syndrome, after Olivia's mother lost custody due to drug problems.
Olivia struggles with math, with slow processing speed, and with executive function issues. She has been teased and bullied at her school, on the bus, and in her neighborhood.
Prior to receiving the computer, Sharon did not know how to use a computer and did not have email. The family was extremely isolated. The computer has served as a means of strengthening family bonds and the self-esteem of both mother and daughter. One of Sharon's older daughters helped her set up and learn to use the computer. Olivia has also been teaching her mother computer skills.
Olivia is "thrilled" with her new laptop. She takes it to school, and uses it to work on her school assignments. She also uses it to have fun-both by herself and with her mother. Socially isolated, spending a lot of her time at home, Olivia considers the computer her friend. She likes watching YouTube videos and showing Sharon her favorites. She learns jokes to tell her mother. She finds riddles online, and asks Sharon to guess the answers. Mother and daughter spend a lot of time sitting together in front of the computer, learning and playing together.
*Names have been changed at the request of the family. To read the entire progress report, please follow this link.
Past recipients of computers include:
Asperger's Association of New England
As well as several individual families in New England, New Jersey and New York