Five more patients now have the technology they need to make their voices heard thanks, again, to the compassion and generosity of Joy and Scott Bennett.
The Bennetts began funding assistive communication devices for children and adults in need shortly after their 8-year-old daughter, Elli, died on October 19, 2008. Elli had cerebral palsy and was unable to walk, talk or fully express her feelings until receiving her own assistive communication device at age 4. The device unlocked Elli’s personality, said Joy and Scott, and changed all of their lives for the better.
In 2009 the Bennett family created Find A Voice: The Elli Bennett Memorial Fund at Cincinnati Children’s in partnership with the Aaron W. Perlman Center, where their daughter – along with other patients – learned how to use assistive communication devices. The fund is designed to support families who struggle to find the resources to afford a device for their child or aren’t covered under insurance or Medicaid.
Two of this year’s five recipients, Rachel (pictured above) and Ryan (pictured right), received their assistive communication devices from the Bennett family during a July ceremony in the Assistive Technology Lab at Burnet Campus. Speech pathologists at the Perlman Center will continue to work with recipients and teach them to use their new devices.
Rachel’s new technology, an integrative head pointer attached to the bridge of her glasses, allows her to interact hands-free with the communication device mounted to her wheel chair. Ryan’s new handheld ProSlate communication device is similar to an iPad and generates speech based on a user’s touch. Two wheel chair mounts and another ProSlate device were also funded for recipients this year.
The Find A Voice fund has benefitted from donations by friends, family, colleagues and strangers, said Joy and Scott, who’ve made contributions over the years through direct gifts to the Perlman Center. The Bennetts have maintained their commitment through organizing fundraisers and participating in the Cincinnati Walks for Kids. This year’s walk is Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Contact the Perlman Center to learn more, or to make a direct contribution to the Find A Voice fund, contact Michael Griffin at 513-636-1994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.