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A Kansas City charity is giving children life-changing equipment that is allowing them to communicate with their families like never before.
For one mother, the equipment helped her son say, "I love you," for the first time.
Variety Children's Charity of Greater Kansas City gives children with developmental disabilities the equipment they need.
They helped one family get an app called Proloquo2Go, which gives a voice to those who cannot speak.
Like most Children, 10-year-old Ryan Jones loves his iPad, which has a special app that makes it much more than tech toy.
"It's been absolutely amazing. It has opened a whole new world of what we realized that Ryan knows," said Ryan's mother, Robyn Jones.
Ryan was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome. Because Ryan is predominately nonverbal, for about 10 years his family depended on grunts, pointing and minimal sign language to communicate with him.
"If we asked him if he wanted something, basically he shook his head and said, 'yes,' because he didn't feel like he had another option. With the iPad, it gives him choices. It is giving him opinions," Jones said.
The app has thousands of words with a picture associated with those words. Ryan can choose expressions to show how he feels, what he wants. He also uses it to crack jokes.
For the first time, Ryan can tell his family what he wants to eat.
"Now he can say, 'Mom, I want a waffle. Mom, I want oatmeal,'" Jones said.
And the app really helped after Ryan had major surgery on his legs.
"I wanted to be able to say, 'Are you in pain? What hurts?" Jones said.
The app allows families to add photos so Ryan can put pictures of his family on his iPad.
Variety Children's Charity helped Ryan's family get the iPad and the Proloquo2go app. The app alone costs about $200.
"They gave us the biggest gift they ever could. It was communication with my son," Jones said.
The charity even helped Jones hear a phrase that changed her world.
"Now he will on his own independently say, 'I love you.' He gets the biggest smile and it brings tears to my eyes. I say, 'I love you too, Ryan!" she said.
On Friday, March 28, Variety Children's Charity of Greater Kansas City is holding their huge annual fundraiser to raise money to put similar technology in the hands of children who need it.
The Variety Show will showcase a live auction and Sinbad the comedian will entertain guests.
Click here for information on how to buy a ticket. KCTV5's Dave Hall and Alexis DelCid are emceeing the event.
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