ABOUT SOPHIE'S RUN & FOUNDATION
Sophie’s Run @ Lake Waukomis is a 501c3, organized to honor the life of Sophie Edwards, a citizen of Lake Waukomis and student of the Park Hill School District, who passed away April 29, 2010.
The fundraising we do benefits children in surrounding communities to assist them in obtaining technology that will help them in school and in life. Our goal is to provide children who have special needs with the means to more effectively communicate. Park Hill School District has documented the work being done in the classrooms with Assistive Technology Devices donated to the Assistive Tech Library in the District.
We had searched for a communication device that Sophie could access all her life. It was a challenge given that her limbs were affected by tone from spasticity and her body was challenged by the energy metabolism disorder that was the basis of her health issues. Sophie communicated with us through her eyes and in 2008, we found an eye gaze computer that Sophie could operate. It took 14 months to meet requirements to fund the $17,000 device, only to have it delivered 1 week to the day after Sophie's funeral. We decided at that time that we never wanted to see children have to wait to communicate, thus began our partnership with Park Hill School District.
In addition to trial devices we purchased for the school district's library, we have purchased communication devices for students & their families since May of 2014. Since communication doesn't stop when children leave their school, we hope to assist families who would like a device to create seamless communication from home to school and back again. Families avoid the red tape they encounter with insurance companies and avoid delays in getting the devices.
We would love to have other families and school districts benefit from this model. If you are interested please contact us and let's see if we can help!
Jim & Theresa Edwards (Sophie's Parents)
The efforts and accomplishments of the Sophie's Run & Foundation have assisted the Park Hill School District by creating an Assistive Technology library so that trial devices are used in the classrooms to determine the needs of Augmentative Communication for students with special needs. Alternative augmentative communication provides students with expressive communication, increasing literacy, improvements in curriculum, social communication, social interaction and development, and most importantly, independence. Our goal through the foundation is to decrease the amount of time students wait on accessing a personal communication device and to assist the student’s parents/guardians with training so that the augmentative communication is carried through at home, in school, and in the community.
AUGMENTATIVE ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION (AAC)
Augmentative refers to something that adds to or enhances someone's verbal speech.
Alternative refers to using instead of verbal speech.
AAC can include gestures, facial expressions, writing, drawing, spelling, pictures, sign language, single button switches and high tech devices. AAC works because it makes language visual. Language is fleeting. When you say it, it is gone.
AAC pairs a visual with the word allowing for better comprehension and processing time.
AAC can be accessed through touching, using a stylus or through eye gaze.
"COMMUNICATION IS THE ESSENCE OF HUMAN LIFE."
AAC's primary purpose is to enhance social communication skills. It is also used to facilitate both receptive and expressive language skills. It can also be used as a tool for academic support especially in reading and writing.
Sophie’s Run has changed the lives of students and teachers in the Park Hill School District forever ...
Their gifts of communication devices have opened a new and essential component in the world of education for students with disabilities. With the generosity of Sophie’s Run, students and their families are able to access life-changing technology, in a timely manner, avoiding insurance delays and coverage limitations. Oftentimes, there is a limit of one device from age 4 to 21 years of age. Technology and communication are essential to the educational and social development of students.
Sophie’s Run’s communication devices allow students from preschool to high school to have a voice about their preferences, wants, and dislikes. In addition, students have had the opportunity to increase their participation in the classroom and community, as well as, demonstrate the knowledge they possess. Without Sophie’s Run, student’s educational literacy and social development would not have developed to its fullest potential.
Sophie’s Run has also expanded the Park Hill School Districts loan library. This library makes it possible for the assistive technology team to conduct evaluations to determine the best devices for students. We are forever grateful for the opportunity to work and serve with Jim and Theresa Edwards on Sophie’s Run.
Assistive Technology Facilitator
Sophie’s Run is a true blessing to my students who have received their very own voice now! It is empowering to each of them to be able to speak clearly to those around them! Thank you! Thank you!
Essential Skills Teacher, Chinn Elementary