Local Teen Helps Families Of Autistic Children In Va. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Local Teen Helps Families Of Autistic Children In Va.

Play associated audio
Priya Krishnan, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax, is behind Project Touch and the effort to get iPod's to needy autistic children.
Jonathan Wilson
Priya Krishnan, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax, is behind Project Touch and the effort to get iPod's to needy autistic children.

High school junior Priya Krishnan gave her autistic cousin Abinav the gift of a touchscreen mp3 player -- an iPod touch -- simply because she thought he would enjoy playing music and games on it.

But pretty quickly it became clear that Abinav, who was in fifth grade at the time, could use the device to better connect with the world around him.

Krishnan says that there is one program, for example, that displays cartoon faces, which express different feelings.

"This one's for happy," she says as a pink cartoon smiley-face pops up on the screen, and the device emits the sound of laughter.

"After seeing the impact it had on his life, I got the idea to use technology to have an impact on people's live," she says.

But Krishnan also knew many families of autistic children couldn't afford a state of the art smartphone or mp3 player.

So she started her own non-profit, Project Touch, and reached out to the regional chapter of Autism Speaks. Ann Gibbons is the chapter's executive director.

"Human beings are noisy, and unpredictable, and they react in myriad ways, and sometimes you don't know how to get them to do what you want when you have autism," Gibbons says.

She says computers have long been used to bridge the communication gap in the autism world, but it's never been this easy or this portable.

Through an essay contest, Project Touch and Autism Speaks will be giving the devices to 50 needy families of autistic children later this spring.

The next step? Getting technology companies to give them the devices for free, and taking the contest national.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Dec. 18

You can attend a season step show then get yourself “on the right track” with a Broadway musical.

NPR

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has lead to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.
WAMU 88.5

Maryland Lawmakers Played Role In Release Of Alan Gross From Cuba

State lawmakers say they had a hand in the release of Maryland resident Alan Gross from Cuba yesterday.

NPR

With Sony Hack, Nation-State Attacks Go From Quiet To Overt

U.S. intelligence officials claim that North Korea was centrally involved in the hack against Sony. That's major news in the world of cyberwarfare, where nation-states typically make covert attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.