Assistive Technology often plays a vital role in the lives of people with disabilities. We are pleased to award Aiden with the Elsie S. Bellows Fellows Grant for Assistive Technology, which is available only through affiliates of United Cerebral Palsy Association.

Aiden is a Cheetos® loving 6-year-old who, like other children his age, enjoys watching his favorite shows on TV and being swung around in the air by his family.

He does not communicate verbally but was doing well using a picture-based speech-generating system that allowed him to express his wants and needs. The system was helping him move beyond simple “yes” and “no” responses, to include requests such as “eat” and “change TV channel”, empowering Aiden with a way to independently communicate with his family.

A Temporary Tool

However, the device Aiden was using was limited in its available vocabulary and was difficult for him to use on his own. It also didn’t belong to him. It was on loan from the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and would have to be returned, removing from Aiden his only method for verbal communication

His speech-language pathologist at Hoʻomana Complex Rehabilitation Technology Clinic through Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children recognized the need for Aiden to have a device of his own that could be adapted to meet his needs.

Aiden’s family applied for and was awarded the Bellows Fellows Grant for Assistive Technology through United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaiʻi. The grant helped Aiden acquire an Augmentative Communication Device, an iPad with specialized communication software that will allow his world of language to expand exponentially through multiple pages of vocabulary and the ability to promote sentence building.

More Than Words

Aiden makes progress every day in his ability to communicate through the Augmentative Communication Device. The device also supports his social emotional growth. He now can tell his mother “I love you” and “good night” at bedtime – his mother’s personal favorite!

Thanks to the grant and the Augmentive Communication Device, Aiden “is able to communicate with us more. Every time he is able to make a selection independently is a big win in our book!” says his mother, Erica.

“Nothing is sweeter to hear or see than his laugh or cheeky grin. He is our sweet Aiden boy and we love him to pieces. We are blessed with every day we have together as a family. Every moment is precious to us.”

About the Elsie S. Bellows Fellows Grant for Assistive Technology

The Elsie S. Bellows Fund was established in 1995 to provide assistive technology equipment to individuals with disabilities. Assistive technology can play a major role in increasing and maintaining the independence of individuals with disabilities.

The Bellows Fellows Grant helps individuals with disabilities with acquiring Assistive Technology that will increase their independence and improve their quality of life. The federal definition of assistive technology is: “Any piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

Common Assistive Technology includes:

  • Wheelchairs (manual and electric)
  • Augmentative Communication Devices
  • Environmental Controls
  • Computer Equipment
  • Lifts in the nominee’s parent’s or nominee’s own van or home
  • Hearing Aids

We are now accepting applications for the Bellows Fellows Grant for 2021.

If you or a loved one need assistance acquiring Assistive Technology, email Kathy Tamanaha, Social & Community Services Program Manager or reach her at 808- 532-674 with questions or apply now through the button below. The application deadline is Friday, September 24, 2021.

Learn more about applying for the Bellows Fellows Grant for Assistive Technology