Ogunquit business neighbors Peoples Insurance and Coastal General Construction recently teamed up for a holiday open house at which they raised funds for a purchase of iPads for Waban’s Fraser-Ford Child Development Center in Sanford. Generous clients of the two businesses made donations totaling over $4400, enough to purchase 11 iPads for the Center.

In early January, Lisa Coughlan, Account Executive at Peoples Insurance and Norm Clough, an owner at Coastal General Construction, visited the Center and observed children and teachers utilizing the donated iPads in the classroom. Coughlan said “It was amazing to see the kids interact with the iPads and their teachers. They are fearless with technology and jumped right into each application without hesitation, looking for guidance and encouragement, and then celebrating their successes with their teachers and those around them. It was nice to see first-hand the impact that these iPads will have on the classrooms.”

Sarah Mehlhorn, Director of Children’s Program Operations and Community Services, said, “We are so grateful to Peoples Insurance and Coastal General Construction for the iPads. They are a powerful tool in the classroom. We use this technology to help the students build new skills with educational apps, handwriting apps and communication. Our teachers also use them during circle time, listening to music, and as motivators.”

According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, the iPad is more accessible for children who have learning or coordination difficulties because it uses a touch screen. Most children who use the iPad find that tapping and sliding motions are much easier than typing. The world for an autistic child is full of imagery, rather than words. On an iPad, an autistic child can create a sentence or even story using a series of images, making communication more effective and less frustrating.

The Fraser-Ford Child Development Center, which serves more than 150 children ages birth to five annually, provides therapeutic preschool programs for children with Autism, Pervasive Developmental Delay (PDD), Down Syndrome, and other developmental/ intellectual disabilities. iPads will be included in all new learning centers in the planned addition of a new Autism Therapy Wing to add 6,000 square feet of classroom and therapy space to the center.