iPhone App is Raising Money and Awareness for Students with Autism

[prMac.com] Traverse City, Michigan – Brandy Wheeler is on a mission to place iPads in the hands of every local student with Autism. To meet this lofty goal she partnered with Traverse City Area Public Schools to expand their iPads for Autism program. While planning the upcoming fundraiser, the Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism, Apple finally released the latest edition of their iPad tablet leaving consumers faced with the difficult decision: What to do with their iPad2? Wheeler has the solution: Donate it to TCAPS to support the iPads for Autism program. “We took a creative approach to fundraising by using social media for social good. Breathing new life into old technology fits right in with our goals.”

Brandy Wheeler, creator of the Traverse Traveler app, a handy mobile guide to the Traverse City region, became a Partner in Education with Traverse City Area Public Schools with the goal of growing a small pilot program providing iPads and apps to TCAPS students with autism.

The inaugural event for this fundraising effort is the Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism presented by Lucky Jacks. On April 14th from 1-3pm, downtown Traverse City will be filled with teams on a mission to use Social Media for Social Good. Participants will utilize the Traverse Traveler smartphone app (Free to download) to ‘check in’ at downtown businesses, complete tasks and collect prize tickets along the way. Instructions for each activity and clues to the next location are supplied by the app. As title sponsor, Lucky Jacks will support the fundraising efforts by pledging to pay-per-checkin, whereby increasing the monies raised with every person and every stop.

To support the iPads for Autism program, here’s what you can do:

  • Register a team to participate in the Scavenger Hunt for Autism. With tracks geared towards families with young children, as well as a challenge track for teens and adults, there is something for everyone. Cost is $20 for a team of up to 5 people.
  • Make a cash donation to TCAPS iPads for Autism Program. $500 will purchase an iPad. $150 will purchase a suite of apps. Donations are welcome online.

*Donate your gently used iPad2 to TCAPS. The original iPads no longer support the latest communication and learning apps in use within the district. But the more recent iPad2 can be refurbished and reused for a student in need.

  • List your business on Traverse Traveler now through April 30th and Brandy will make a $10 donation to the iPads program for each new listing.

Brandy Wheeler designed this unique event to increase community awareness about Autism, a disorder that affects 1 in 88 children – including her 9-year-old son.

There are approximately 120 students in TCAPS with Autism. It’s a neurological disorder that can impair an individual’s ability to communicate and develop social skills. The severity of the disorder and the symptoms vary dramatically. Some children are unable to develop speech, some experience sensory issues, and others, diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, are highly intelligent but lack basic social skills most people take for granted.

In early 2011 Wheeler discovered a pilot program launched by TCAPS to place iPads with 9 students within the district who receive special education services for autism. Each device was loaded with a set of apps chosen to meet the specific needs of that child. Autism apps range from touch-screen visual schedules, to social skills practice, to full-scale communication aids.

Jame McCall, Executive Director of Special Education & Early Childhood Programs for TCAPS explains, “Our goal with using the iPads – or any other assistive technology – is to remove the barriers to education. To be able to put a device in the hands of a child that’s socially acceptable, that aids in communication, will help them in their learning.”

Traverse Traveler approached TCAPS last fall about designing a fundraiser to help grow the iPads for Autism program at TCAPS. “I was thrilled that Brandy contacted me and told me about her plans to do a scavenger hunt and her thoughts about raising money for TCAPS students to put more iPads in the hands of our children that needed them. TCAPS is proud to be a partner with the Traverse Traveler.”

Brandy Wheeler reached out to business owners, community members, educators and parents to bring this event to life. “Children with autism are naturally drawn to technology,” she said, “With this event we have the opportunity to showcase the power of technology, to help students with autism communicate, interact, and learn.”

All proceeds from the event will go toward the purchase of iPads and apps for TCAPS students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome.

Register your team to participate in the first annual Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism. For more information visit their website. To make a cash donation for the iPads for Autism program visit TCAPS.net/autism. Donations of used iPads can be delivered to City Mac in Traverse City. Donors will receive a receipt from TCAPS as a tax deduction. The Traverse Traveler App is being promoted by Westwind Communications iPhone App Publicity.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iOS 3.1 or later
  • 2.3 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Traverse Traveler 1.4 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Travel category.

Traverse Traveler 1.4
Download from iTunes
YouTube Video
Scavenger Hunt for Autism
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Brandy Wheeler is the owner of Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas(R), a 10-year-old Traverse City marketing service with “little card displays” in over 70 locations throughout Grand Traverse, Benzie and Leelanau County. In 2010 she launched the Traverse Traveler app, a handy mobile guide for the Traverse area visitor. Copyright (C) 2012 Brandy Wheeler. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.