By Sonya Davidson
A little over a year ago Samsung successfully launched the "Look At Me" app designed for families with children living on the Autism spectrum. This week the tech company, along side Autism Speaks Canada, announced further expansion of the project raising awareness and sharing real stories from families first-hand in the #WhoEyeAm campaign.
We were introduced to 13 year old Niam Jain and his family this week to see just how this app has incorporated into their daily lives. "He has a lot of the same interests as other boys his age," said his mom. "But he also has minimal speech ability and this technology has helped him, and our family, tremendously."
Mother went onto explain that Niam uses the Samsung technology for facial recognition and a way to express himself. She applauds the company for progressively working with Autism families and calling them a role model for the corporate world. She mentioned that the family has comes to the reality of understanding that Niam will never go to university or gain the education like most kids do. But what they have discovered that Niam has a natural talent in abstract contemporary art and uses the medium as a form of communication.
She tells us that his love for art came out of the blue last summer when she was looking for something to do with him. She purchased paintbrushes and canvases for him and was posting photos of his paintings on Facebook but soon friends were inquiring and buying his paintings. Word spread and Niam's work was requested by a few private art collectors. Mom noted that she would find Niam using that same Samsung tablet to research famous artists and their techniques. "He's obsessed with YouTube videos and learning from artists and applying the techniques to his own art," she said with a laugh.
With Niam's inspiring #WhoEyeAm story, Samsung in partnership with Autism Speaks Canada will be donating 500 of its newest, family-ready tablets, the GALAXY Tab A 9.7" preloaded with the Look At Me Autism App designed to help children make eye contact, to families and organizations across Canada living and working with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Canadians are invited to visit samsung.com/whoeyeam and autismpeaks.ca before April 30, 2016 to apply for a chance to receive one of the tablets. Three hundred of those tablets will go to families who may otherwise not have access to Samsung technology - the remainder will go to schools, hospitals and organization working with ASD.
Torontonians are also invited to check out Niam's artwork and learn about his story at a special one-day #WhoEyeAm event at Yonge-Dundas Square. The event will be held on Friday, April 1, 2016 (5 pm to 9 pm) that will kick off April's Autism Awareness Month.
On Saturday, April 2, there will be 19,000 landmarks around the world that will "Light It Up Blue" in support of Autism Awareness. An estimated 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with Autism each year.
Check out Niam's story at the link here.