When Jacob landed among us we scattered like pigeons at the arrival of a fairly tame looking kitten. Confusion, fear blah blah, you know all the rest of it. One of the corners I ran to was Rollercoaster.ie. Their Special Needs forum kept me sane and gave us comfort from some kind people who were further down the line from us and not nearly so freaked out. It’s Irish oriented, but it’s helpful for anyone who speaks English. It was my first real introduction to online forums, and more importantly it was my first meeting with Hammie.
She has become someone important to me, and to a lot of other people with special needs kids. She’s direct, driven relentlessly to help her kids (both have autism), clever, blunt, foul mouthed with delightful frequency and always, always willing to have a go at it. ‘It’ can be absolutely anything at all. Hammie, in other words, is the most clichéd Australian you could hope to imagine if you were asked to invent an Aussie based on every stereotype you’ve ever heard. Ok, I’ve never even heard her talk about barbies, but she does have a troop of kangaroos and a pet croc at home. Would I lie? To you of all people?
The point I’m successfully avoiding here is that H has done it on a big scale this time, by grabbing technology by the throat and putting a team together to invent a new means of communication for non-verbal children. That’s all. No biggie. It involves iPhone technology and is a potential lifeline in communications for a whole stratum of kids in Ireland and worldwide. Kids whose development is essentially mothballed through an ineffective, unwilling or non-comprehending health service.
I’d encourage you to see some recent posts on the issue here at Hammie’s blog, and below is a national news feature on the development of the application. If you think you know someone who might benefit from this fantastic new communications tool, then talk to Hammie. I’ve no doubt she’ll tell you something you don’t know. She’ll probably offer you a few shrimp before taking you surfing too.