Spotlight on Columbus School

Learning Support Assistant, Fiona Oxley-Goody, at Columbus School and College in Chelmsford (a Special Needs School who cater for children aged from Nursery to Year 14 who have a variety of learning difficulties and autism) approached us to see if we were willing to supply iPads for those children attending the school.

Two of our committe members, Lawrence Conroy (Project Co-ordinator) and Dave Poole (a founder member of KIN), visited to the school to meet Fiona and Virginia Bellard, the Deputy Head, to see how the iPads would benefit the children first hand. Within minutes it was very apparent that the children's communication and learning skills would be enhanced considerably and as a consequence the purchase of 10 iPads was recommended to the whole Kids in Need Committe. 

Lawrence and Dave visited the School again in March and handed out the iPads to the various children.

Click the link to read the article that appeared in the Essex Chronicle: Essex Chronicle Article


Below are a few pictures and thank you messages from the children and their parents:


"Katie received her fantastic new i-pad last week. She has already benefitted from it. On Sunday she was able to access Lakeside with bribery of the i-pad and had lunch in the food hall there. Something Katie would usually find impossible.

It was also her brother's 18th Birthday and we took a photo of Katie "helping out" with the candle blowing on the i-pad. She was able to take this into class on Monday to show her class mates. Katie can also look at the photo and re-live the moment again. We hope to make Katie a photo album on the i-pad so she will have access to memories.

I think the i-pad will definitely enhance Katie's life.

So a huge thank you to Kids In Need. Their generosity is much appreciated."


Below are some pictures of Daniel using his new iPad.

 daniel krampahdaniel krampah2


"Thank you very much for the iPad that Kids in Need have donated to my daughter Ellie.

This will assist her with her learning as we can use visual aids which will help everyone including Ellie with communication difficulties.  It will ease her frustration as we will be able to show her images of anywhere new we are visiting as well as store photographs of people and  places we have visited.

It will also be great for Ellie to play her games and watch her favourite episodes of childrens programmes using You Tube when we are out and about.

Many thanks once again."

Ellie Hartellie hart-2


Tristan - Autistic - Age 6

The message below from Mum and Dad says it all:  

“Thank you so very much for the iPad that you recently sent through for Tristan. He is still getting used to it and we are playing with it with him to try to encourage him to touch it - he is not your typical autistic child! Mind you, his big brother Arthur (8 years) can't leave it alone and we have to keep reminding him that it is Tristans! 

It really is a super piece of equipment and I am amazed at the amount of things that it does. Tristan is still getting used to it and needs full supervision while using it as he has a tendency to bang it at the moment. Tristan has always been a watcher rather than a do-er, but hopefully with the wide range of aps that are available we will be able to find things that he is able to cope with and then expand on.

Here is a bit more information on how we hope the iPad will assist Tristan: 

Tristan is nearly 7. He is completely non verbal and does not have the ability to sign either. He was born with insufficient brain matter, he is epileptic and severely autistic. He has sensory processing disorder and has a gastrostomy for his medication and feeds as necessary. Tristan goes to Columbus School in Chelmsford and at school he uses a touch screen to play simple games on. We are hoping that this will now merge onto the Ipad to give him more skills and the ability to entertain himself while learning cause and effect. Tristan does not understand playing with toys and would spend all his time doing row, row, row the boat with you or watching the same few dvds over and over again. We hope that the introduction of the Ipad will unlock some new skills for Tristan and hopefully encourage some self motivating skills and pleasure. 

This is what I wrote for Tristan’s IEP for school, it is a good and simple summary of a very complex little boy! 

Hello, my name is Tristan and I am 6 years old. I live at home, in Cressing with my Mummy, Daddy, brother Arthur who is nearly 7, and baby brother Rupert who was born in July 10! We share our home with lots of pets from dogs and cats to snakes and owls. Angus is my favourite, he is a Brittany Spaniel. 

I am a cuddly little boy, but when I snuggle in for a cuddle I may bite you or pull your hair, but only if I really like you! I love doing Row, Row, Row the Boat, but the second verse has to be Rock, Rock, Rock the Boat as I love to sway sideways for this bit. 

When Mummy tells people the things that are different about me, it all sounds very worrying - but actually, I am a very happy and easy to care for little boy. I am very small for my age (my school trousers are for aged 3-4) so people often think that I am younger than I am. Sometimes it is better for people not to know too much of the technical stuff about me as it just worries them and can put them off wanting to care for me without my mummy being around. 

Maybe I should tell you some of the boring stuff about me, but don’t let that stop you getting to know ME! 

I was born with a Malrotation of my intestines and was poorly until they operated when I was just 7 days. I developed very slowly and at 6 months Mummy and Daddy were told that I was blind and would never see, but by 13 months I had sight (ha, ha, ha). I was given an MRI scan which showed that my brain was not made properly and that I did not have my full allocation of white brain matter. This means that I am severely, globally developmentally delayed. 

At 15 months old I had my first big epileptic fit. I have only had about 5 big ones, as the medicines I am on suit me well, but I constantly have small seizures which you can see if you watch my eyes closely. Sometimes my eyes flicker, but mainly I do a longer blink. Sometimes, if it lasts too long I will lose my balance and fall over. My balance is not very good, and although I can now walk, I need a lot of help and support as I do not judge steps, slopes or any other strange terrain. Mummy has been told that I only see in 2D, which would explain this. Some days my balance is really bad and then I need even more help, the doctors wonder if I have Episodic Ataxia? I have no stranger or danger awareness so need constant support in all I do. 

I had not even reached 2, when I was diagnosed as Autistic, Mummy did not believe this to start, but as I have got older I have developed quite a few Autistic traits. I am very sensory! I rub my hands together frantically and flick my tongue with my hands constantly. I do this when I’m happy or excited. I love to lick hard objects like radiators, windows, shopping trolleys (so many different flavours on those) and metal hand rails.  

I will get as close as I can to televisions and computers, and I love loud speakers, washing machines and hoovers. They are best enjoyed with your head laying on them! I also really like watching animated DVD’s which I would do all day and night! 

I do not speak or sign (yet), but I let you know what I want with noises or by indicating - I bang the microwave when I want my milk or hit the telly if I want it on. I do not like putting anything in my mouth except for my bottle which I drink my special milk from (Paedisure). I now will eat smooth, sweet foods like yoghurts, but I am very fussy. I have a Gastrostomy fitted and all my medicines for my epilepsy and reflux are given to me via this twice a day. Also, if I do not drink enough of my milk, that can also go into my tummy through it. I will not drink anything else yet, so water is also given to me this way. 

I enjoy going on the bus to school and love Bob and Lyn who take me. I am always really excited to go to school and I do things there that I won’t do at home! Jackie and the other teachers know how to get the best out of me! 

I am unique. I’m Autistic, Epileptic, Globally Developmentally Delayed, Sensory Challenged, Gastrostomy Fed & Medicated and Non Verbal. 


I am Tristan. I’m 6, a son, a little brother, a big brother, a cousin,

a nephew, a grandson, a great grandson, a godson, a friend.

 A Happy Little Boy!


Tristan Thaintristan thain-2