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Gift of communication changes woman's life

Editor’s note: Light One Candle is an annual series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency who could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need.

Hand gestures and sounds were this 62-year-old woman’s only means of communication before “assistive technology.” Developmentally disabled, the woman can’t make herself understood in the way that most people take for granted.

She purchased an Apple iPad to help her communicate, but the device’s price took most of her savings. Gift cards for Apple iTunes would allow her to purchase the apps needed to complete the system that she’s been learning with assistance from staff at Living Opportunities in Medford.

The nonprofit group researched technology that would benefit this client and trained her to push buttons on the tablet screen to communicate, particularly with people who don’t know her. The new system has been life-changing for the Medford woman, said Living Opportunities’ Baylee LaVoie, as caseworkers have seen her connect with people at local businesses and build deeper relationships with friends. Previously, frequent frustration accompanied this woman’s efforts to express her basic needs and desires.

Living Opportunities supports people with developmental disabilities endeavoring to live in the same neighborhoods, work for the same employers and experience life in ways to which everyone aspires. Apps that would advance this woman’s progress cost about $200.

To help: Call Rachel Rawlins at 541-772-1503.

Gift of communication changes woman's life