A 10-year-old autistic boy who relies on an iPad to communicate had heartbreak quickly turn to happiness last week due to the generous good deed of a fellow Portland, Oregon resident.
The boy, Corbin Murr, who sometimes uses a wheelchair to get around, had his custom-app–packed iPad stolen off his chair last week while he was up and about, playing with his older cousin and caregiver, James Freeman, at a local playground.
“I felt really bad, you know, because that is his world,” Freeman explained in a local KGW TV news story about the theft. “That’s his toy he communicates [with], it’s always glued to his hand, he doesn’t like sharing it with other people, and it just keeps him in his own calmness.”
Luckily, Portlander Charles Turner was watching the news that night. The real estate agent and father of one was so moved by the report that, after a quick discussion with his wife Jenny and their understanding 6-year-old son, he decided to donate one of the family’s three iPads to Murr.
“For me, an iPad is largely a toy and occasionally a business convenience,” Turner told Yahoo! Shine. “To Corbin, it’s a thing of comfort, and a communication tool.”
Turner then contacted the news station and was put in touch with the boy’s mom, Gillian, who was thrilled to have a replacement for the tablet, a new one of which would have cost her upwards of $399. Luckily, Corbin was able to sync the new machine from Turner with computer downloads of his apps, some of which cost as much as $50 each.
For many severely autistic individuals like Corbin, iPad apps — like those including AAC Speech Buddy, Articulate It!, MetaTouch, and Scene and Heard, according to the website Autism Speaks — can be life-changing communication tools.