These Teens Could Have Done 30 Different Things for a Class Project, but They Chose to Help Their Peers on the Spectrum

The students in the Human Rights and Law class at East Hartford High School in Hartford, Connecticut, didn’t have to look far when they were told to create a way to improve a local community.

Right there in their own high school, there were 19 students with autism, many of whom were nonverbal.

The class was already aware that iPads have proven highly successful in helping this type of student develop communication and life skills. However, the students were surprised to learn that East Hartford High School only had two iPads available for these students.

The class decided to take on this need as its community project.

students group working on school  project  together

The Human Rights and Law class had a list of 30 projects to choose from, but the iPad idea appealed to the students the most because it involved their own, local community where they could see its results.

They made up their minds after hearing one of the special education teachers describe how she successfully used the iPads with the special needs students.

pretty student girl doing homework on tablet with beautiful blond teacher

Special needs teacher Julia Rowland explained to the students that the iPads help nonverbal students communicate with others. Because anything on an iPad screen can be enlarged easily, students with visual problems have an easier time seeing the screen. Various apps help students learn to use money. The iPad’s portability and flexibility also make it an ideal tool for working with students with autism.


After completing their research, the class members swung into action. Not only did they raise money through bake sales and other conventional means, but they also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for their cause.

The class hopes to raise $1,500 by the end of April, which is Autism Awareness Month.

Special needs students can also be vital contributors to their communities. Read how one special ed teacher gets her students involved through a coffee cart.

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