There will be a handful of people that you will meet that will change your life forever. Gary James is one of them.
I honestly don’t even remember how I came across him online. I keep trying to remember so I can share it with you all, but I just draw a complete blank. One minute I’m sitting there, all excited about us finally getting Bryce an iPad, feeling overwhelmed and consumed by all the apps out there and not knowing which apps to add to our wish list, and the next minute, BAM, I found this guy and his amazing website!
This man is the founder of Apps for Children with Special Needs (a4cwsn), a website dedicated to producing unbiased videos that demonstrate some of the best apps available for children with special needs.
He is a loving father to 6 children, 2 of which have special needs. If those weren’t good enough reasons in itself to admire this guy, he is also the man behind that App Party I attended, giving away well over $10,000 worth of special needs and educational apps from some of the best app developers in the world to thousands of families, caregivers, and educators. I know, amazing, right?
So who is this guy? I had to find out for myself. Meet Gary James.
Tell us about yourself.
I am originally from England and my wife is Hungarian, I came to the states about 20 years ago to pursue my Athletic career. I represented my Country in the Decathlon and held the Double Decathlon British record for 10 Years, from 1990 to 2000. I have 6 children Leigh being my eldest at 18 all the way down to Dominic who is 2 months old. What do I do for a living, well I think everyone knows the answer to that as you see me online 24 hours a day. In the Past I have worked with Companies such as Rolling Stone, Arista Records, and many other celebrities around the world in many different countries.
My favorite kind of movie is Suspense / Drama / Action / Horror and of course really good kids movies. I am a huge fan of Manchester United football team and watch them play whenever I have a chance.
Being a father to 6, 2 of which have special needs (one with autism), you must have “mastered” being a dad, let alone a parent. What advice do you give to a parent whose child has just been diagnosed with autism? Or any advice or words of wisdom you can offer to help families who have multiple children balance their life with “non-typical” and “typical” children?
It is hard to give advice as we all have our own opinions, one reason why I don’t give my opinion on the web-site [www.a4cwsn.com] is because it’s just my opinion. If I had to say anything about this subject it would be, trust your heart and your gut feelings, talk openly about the issues and talk often with friends and strangers about what they went or are going through. Express your emotions and don’t ever feel embarrassed.
You obviously have a lot of love in you and are a very giving, and compassionate person, often wearing your heart on your sleeve. Where did a4cwsn come from? What inspired you to make it? What does a4cwsn mean to you? What do you hope a4cwsn accomplishes/goals, both present and future?
A4cwsn was inspired by my children. I was looking for Apps to help and could not believe there were apps for $200 + that people expected you to buy without some real hands on explanation by someone other than the developer. This seemed crazy and still is! So I decided to make videos just to hopefully save people like myself time and money. I decided not to rate them, but will say that if they made the site [www.a4cwsn.com] then I considered them worth looking at.
Where is a4cwsn going? Well I hope it becomes known Worldwide for doing the right things, as many parents know, having a Child with Special Needs involves a lot of paperwork. I know this first hand, what I want to do is build a community based on Trust and advice that does not require paperwork and questions, just people trying to do the right thing for their families.
Speaking of trying to do the right thing for families, how did the whole app party idea come about? Will there be more?
The App Party just happened. I was on the computer and had some codes to give away (300) so I decided to post them on Facebook, well this was in May when I had about 400 people on the page and they were very excited about the codes. Within 1 day I think we passed 1,000 people and were viewed almost 700,000 times. The last App Party we had was viewed over 7 million times, that all happened within 1 month of each other. There will be more, many more. The next one [App Party] is in October .
You have a couple of campaigns to help provide iPads for children with special needs. Can you tell us a little about that, and your thoughts about the iPad?
I can’t say it any better than this. The iPad will change the way your child looks at the world and the way they learn and develop. I know this as I have not only seen it with my own children but have obviously spoken with thousands of others who agree with me. The campaigns I have launched are for one purpose only and that is to change lives and help children reach their potential by all means possible. 50 iPads across 50 States for 50 Children with Special Needs is the first one and I intend to deliver each and every iPad my self to the hands of the child, this is important to me because it is about friendship and caring and life experiences. Who cares if I send one in the mail? Not too many people remember that. The second campaign coming very soon is to put 500 iPads into the hands of 100 Schools in all 50 States to help children with Special Needs.
The iPad is changing lives for children with special needs, especially for children with autism, opening doors that may of never been opened and granting the ability to communicate. What are the top 5 apps that you think every person who loves someone with autism should look into.
Coming soon... Apps of Distinction.
You have the media’s attention. The camera is on you. They are all listening to you. There is no time limit. There will be no commercial break. What do you want the world to know about our children?
I don’t particularly want the world to know any thing specific other than, “They are all our Children and we all have a voice that should be heard.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to all the Parents and professionals that actually value what I am trying to do and to all developers out there, SPECIAL NEEDS APPS are the future of the APP World, get on board now, we are ready to be heard and we hope you are ready to listen.
BubblesMakeHimSmile.com is a proud supporter of a4cwsn.
We’d like to dedicate this Father’s Day blog to Mr. Gary James and his family. Happy Father’s Day!
Thanks for reading,