Yesterday was finally the day for me to host a panel brainstorm at SXSW in Austin, TX. Thanks to your support and the love of many, Kate Canterbury (also known as @guavalicious) and Robert Rummel-Hudson (who wrote the book Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey with his Wordless Daughter) joined me to discuss what can be done in the tech community to help better unify and support the special needs parenting community.
The conversation was intimate in size but huge in its scope. Leading up to the session, Kate and I decided we should launch a website called Special Need Tech. Our vision is to create a place where we can share therapeutic and advocacy information for all special needs parents – no silos welcomed. We want to offer information that can help any an all parents. Therapeutic videos? Sure! Information on applications, software and devices? Heck yeah!
And then something magical happened during our brainstorm session. We had discussed in the room about how so many great consumer-grade technologies can help kids, but healthcare won’t pay for these tools. My friend, Jill Krause from Baby Rabies asked a fabulous question: So many of us are upgrading our iPhones. What could happen if iPhone owners donated their old devices to distribute to families who have kids who could benefit from the awesome iPhone/iPad apps that encourage learning and therapy?
We loved the idea. So after the session, we went into the SXSW expo floor to learn about all kinds of new stuff. We kept talking about our brainstorm to every person we met. That’s when a piece of magic happened. A person I bumped into many times during this conference, Gerald Rich, offered his old iPhone 3GS. He just happened to have it with him and he gave it to me… This is happening before we’ve even been able to officially launch this idea. Incredible. I have another friend who says they may be able to give me two more. I haven’t even figured out how we’ll make this happen but I know we have some steps that need to be taken:
- It’s time to create a foundation. I’ve talked about it but I haven’t made the jump. Now is the time.
I need to encourage any and everyone to join in this effort to unify the special needs parenting world with tech tools. If you are interested, please share your thoughts at http://specialneedtech.com
I need to rest for a few days. With the emotional loss of my mother-in-law followed by this intense conference, I need a few days to regroup. Please bear with me for a little bit while I try to catch up.
This is exciting and I hope we really can make this vision a reality.