Student with cerebral palsy uses iPad to communicate

There’s an app for just about everything now. From social media to games, it’s changed the way we communicate. And that couldn’t be truer for this week’s Kylies Kid.

Joe has many friends at his middle school, a busy social life and is active in sports. His level of cerebral palsy means all four of his limbs are affected and he has difficulty speaking. He uses several tools to help with these issues including a power wheelchair and an alternative and augmentative communication device that runs on his iPad.

By Kylie Bearse, CBS Minnesota, October 16, 2017

Minneapolis (WCCO) – Joe uses an app on his iPad to talk to others. And what this 14-year-old has to say is pretty awesome.

It’s not unusual to see a teenager on their iPad, but for Joe, his iPad is his voice.

“Hi Kylie, I am Joe Carr,” said Joe, speaking through his iPad. “I go to Richfield high school and I am a freshman.”

“He can make phrases, words, type out things he can save,” said Kristi, Joe’s mom. “It is amazing, it really is.”

Joe is 14 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. It affects his speech and all four limbs, but not his spirit.

“Anyone that meets Joe always talks about his smile,” said Kristi. “He’s always happy.”

And like most high school freshman, his schedule is packed to the brim.

“I like to play adaptive soccer, hockey and softball through school,” said Joe.

He’s also been riding horses since he was two and goes downhill skiing in the winter.

“He sits in something called a bi-sled and he goes down the hill with two people,” said Kristi. “He’s in front of them and away they go.”

Plus, he’s been biking for years. “Thanks to Gillette, I have a new adaptive bike,” said Joe. “It’s amazing he goes so fast on his bike,” said Kristi.

Joe is no stranger to WCCO, we see him every year at the State Fair. “One of the things Joe loves to do is be there for the 10 pm broadcast and sit right in the front row and be on TV,” Kristi said. “He’ll tape it and when we get home late he watches himself on TV.”

What’s most remarkable about this freshman is somehow he still finds the time to help others.

Two years in a row now Joe has a lemonade stand and all the proceeds go to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. This year, he raised more than $400. “Because I want to help kids in need like my best friend Jeffrey,” said Joe. All that money goes to Gillette – to give gas cards so other families can get the same care he does.

“It’s just amazing to see how kind and giving he is,” said Kristi. Learn more about Joe here.

Source CBS Minnesota


A University of Michigan team of engineering students and rehabilitation engineers is building an app to help people whose impaired motor movements make it hard to manipulate touch-sensitive screens or press the small buttons on iPads and other mobile devices. University of Michigan Engineering. Youtube Nov 15, 2010

Also see
Friends, Fun and Floor Hockey: The Full Life of Joe Carr Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
The iPad as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Hardware Option Speak for Yourself AAC
4 Ways iPads Are Changing the Lives of People With Disabilities Mashable

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