They need your help…

This year has been anything but predictable for so many of us. The pandemic has left its mark on each of us in so many ways.

Virtual work. New school routines. Shifting how we interact with the world around us. 

We are all playing roles we weren’t last year. And for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the pressure of the pandemic keeps growing. Take Sonya, for example. For this single mother, the pandemic has meant tighter finances as well as playing the role of both mom and teacher. Sonya is just barely getting by. Her boys, Aiden and Rylee, are attending first and second grade virtually. Both boys have developmental delays, sensory issues, and are struggling to keep up in school. 

She’s struggling to provide them with the technology they need to be successful. The boys are using a hand-me-down computer from a neighbor and Sonya’s work laptop to attend daily virtual classes and virtual telehealth appointments. With the boys using her laptop, Sonya isn’t able to work during the day – and is feeling the financial stress.

Sonya needs your help! Read more to hear her story.

Like so many local families, Sonya is barely getting by. The pandemic has meant tighter finances, as well as playing the role of both mom and teacher.

“By the time I go to bed at night, I am exhausted. Just completely worn out,” she said.

Her boys, Aiden and Rylee, are attending first and second grade virtually. Both boys have developmental delays, sensory issues, and are struggling to keep up in school.

“Aiden needs quiet,” Sonya said. “He just gets frustrated that there is constant noise. You can’t turn it off.”

With a grant from the Family Fund, Sonya was able to buy wireless headsets to make e-learning easier.

“Aiden definitely struggles when the wires or cords touch him, so the wireless headsets are a Godsend,” she said.

But, she’s struggling to provide them with the rest of the technology they need to be successful. The boys are using a hand-me-down computer from a neighbor and Sonya’s work laptop to attend daily virtual classes.

They tried a Chromebook from the school, but found the smaller computers couldn’t handle the additional assistive technology devises Rylee needs in order to learn.

“Rylee has several plugins that he needs to keep up in school,” she said. “He has a screen-reader and text to speech software, among other things.”

Early in the pandemic, Sonya was planning to buy a 15″ Dell with an i5 core and BlueTooth technology – a machine that would be able to accommodate the assistive devices for her boys.

But before she could purchase the computer – it went up in price. And then it went up again. “It’s almost $300 more expensive now than it was in May,” she said.

Now, Sonya is spending part of every day with each of her boys handling IT issues, and searching for deals on a new or refurbished computer.

With the boys using her work laptop for school, Sonya isn’t able to work during the day – and her budget is feeling the stress.

“I’m running out of funds,” she said. “Every dollar I have goes to therapies and specialty diets and just keeping us indoors.”

Both Aiden and Rylee have significant food allergies and require diets that are completely dairy, soy, and gluten-free.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, when all the regular food was gone, people started buying up all the gluten-free options,” she said. Suddenly, that meant she couldn’t get the store brand items she needed to stay on budget. “My food budget has really gone through the roof because the boys have to eat this way. And I can only find name brand items.”

Sonya’s is not the only family struggling to get by. Many local families are grappling with food insecurity, and lack the technology resources they so desperately need to keep up in a virtual world.

With no end to the pandemic in view, Sonya worries about how she will continue to make it through.

“I know that if we could just get a functioning computer, things would turn around,” she said. “Those headsets made a world of difference – I know a new computer would too.”

 

 

Yes, I want to help kids like Aiden and Rylee!