Sunrise Rotary assists in purchase of iPads for special needs students

The special education staff in the Sequim School District would like to thank Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club members for their recent donation to help purchase iPads and accessories for use with students with special needs. Jacque Schaafsma, occupational therapist/assistive technology specialist who spearheaded this project, was present at the breakfast meeting on April 15 to receive a check for $3,500. The club’s contribution, in addition to previous private donations from individuals within the Sequim community, made the installation of this project possible. To learn more  about this project or the advantages of using an iPad in special education, contact Schaafsma at, or visit


Here is a thank you note from one of the school district’s speech pathologists:


“I wish to thank all the generous folks who donated funds to help us purchase the iPads and application programs for our students with special needs. Since receiving the iPad, nearly all of my students have used it for some or all of their lessons. I wish there was some way for me to share the joy I have had observing incredible results with these children! I use the iPad with the students who say their speech sounds incorrectly and with students who stutter. They love performing their lessons with the iPad applications.


One young boy with autism had never spoken until we used an iPad app that caught his fascination. He began to speak a few words to the ‘Talking Cat’ and is now speaking much more throughout his day. A fifth-grade boy who resisted most of our attempts to improve his written language skills is now using a predictive keyboarding program with amazing results. He’s so motivated that he comes and asks to do lessons even on the days he is not scheduled for special services. Another student, one who is hearing-impaired, is using the iPad to learn sign language and express his emotions.



I also have a small group of boys who are using the iPad for social stories instruction. These are little stories that tell about how to act in certain social situations, for example, how to stand in line. Even one of our most severely impacted students uses the cause-and-effect programs, which involve motivating a child to touch the screen because something fun happens. The child is stimulated and wants to engage more. He smiles and laughs whenever he sees me with the iPad.


I have taught for 30 years and this is the most remarkable tool I have ever used. Thank you for your generosity, from the bottom of my heart. Please know that you have enabled many children to have a richer, more successful life.”


— Deneen Pond, speech pathologist, Sequim School District

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