A VGo for Andrew

Andrew is a 4th grade student at Bow Elementary School, who has cerebral palsy. He has been unable to attend in-school classes in over a year for related medical reasons.  He is a bright boy with a GREAT sense of humor, who enjoys life, but just can't do as much as he wants due to limitations of his body. He does enjoy doing crafts, baking, adaptive skiing, spending time at the lake with his family and when ever possible, spending time with his peers.

Through much of his 3rd Grade year and all of his 4th Grade year he has completed his studies with a tutor who goes to his home during the school day. He also has home-based OT, PT and Speech, with all therapists traveling to his home just a couple miles from the school. His tutor works with him on his academics, which are guided by his teacher, Mrs. Bennert, and three to four times a day, Andrew "hangs out" with his fourth grade class via Google Hangouts. This web-based connection has allowed Andrew to participate in Science/Social Studies lessons, Guided Reading, snack time for chatting with his classmates and Read Aloud. He has also been able to 'attend' the Grade 4 Meetings and Math Congresses via Google Hangouts. It has been challenging at times but he as been able to keep some friendships alive within the classroom and able to make new friends because he can 'chat' with them in real time via the web.

As wonderful as the digital age is, there have been a few drawbacks that limit Andrew and his ability to connect and enjoy the full gamut of his school day. He is dependent on computer set up and whether not a professional can pause the class lesson to establish the connection when he is ready. His current classroom has been trained on how to use Google Hangouts and are lucky enough to have 2 computers to use for the task, one for Andrew to see his classmates and one for Andrew to see the lesson on the Interactive Whiteboard. Also, his 4th Grade class with the exceptions of Music, Art, Gym, Recess and Lunch are confined to one room.

Next year Andrew and his class will be moving up Bow Memorial Middle School and it will become increasing difficult to stay connected. His class will be changing every 45 minutes up to 8 times a day. Not every teacher or classroom will have the accommodations or ability to do a Google Hangout so his academic life will be drastically changed and he will become more isolated.

Last Fall his teacher was viewing NH Chronicle and watched a segment on the VGo, built by a company based in Nashua NH. It is being used in schools, hospitals and business across the Country (although Andrew would be the first student in NH)!! The VGo is a robot that replicates a person in a distant location. It can see, hear, talk and move around as if you were there. With VGo, you are completely independent of the people in the distant location "“ it's 100% remote controlled. His teacher immediately though of Andrew and how this robot could be a physical extension so that he could travel the same path every other child his age would take during the course of an academic school day.

Imagine what this could do for Andrew! The VGo could move around to classes with his peers, he could enjoy lunchroom chats, go to Art, Music, Home Economics and participate at the highest level available to him. The VGo could open up the social and academic environment which has previously been inaccessible to him and give him back more independent control of his academic future.

Across the Country, school budgets are very tight, and Bow is no exception. Program materials, and staff are being cut in order to keep the budget at a reasonable level for tax payers. There is no possibility to find money in the BSD budget to purchase this wonderful invention for a boy who could really benefit from it.

As a result we are appealing to you and others like you to help raise the money to purchase a VGo for Andrew. The cost of the VGo is not high in comparison to the long term benefits that it will provide. The model that would be appropriate for Andrew would be $5,695.25 and we are hoping to raise additional funds to pay for the annual licensing fee to get him through the next couple of years.

Please consider helping Andrew. Thank you for time and consideration of such a worthy project. Community support for this very special person could change the quality of his life and education.

Donations

  • gail bickford 
    • $25 
    • 73 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 73 mos
  • Adam Boynton 
    • $25 
    • 73 mos
  • Kathi Moody 
    • $25 
    • 73 mos
  • Heather Frye 
    • $50 
    • 74 mos
See all

Organizer

Ann Couture-White O'Brien 
Organizer
Bow, NH
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