by Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
HERMON — It was Easter Sunday. Erin and Joshua McPherson did what most families do on that day. They packed up their three children, Brody Quinn, 7; Abigail, 3; and Chloe, 5 months, for a family outing. One of the most vital pieces of gear they made certain they had with them was the iPad son Brody, a child with autism, and a student at Hermon Elementary School, uses to communicate and to help him stay focused. “It’s always an event when we go out,” Erin McPherson laughed.
Then the family headed to the Oriental Jade Restaurant in Bangor where they joined family members to enjoy time together.
But when they got home, McPherson said, Brody’s iPad was nowhere to be found. Assuming that the device had been left behind in the flurry of good-byes among family members, McPherson called the restaurant to ask if it had been found. It hadn’t, but restaurant personnel made a search of the premises, took her phone number and said they would call if the item was turned in.
So far, the iPad hasn’t been turned in.
Joshua McPherson called Apple in hopes of tracking the iPad only to be told that if the iPad has been wiped clean of its content there is no way to track it. And to compound the dilemma, the McPherson’s could not locate the paperwork that came with the iPad when they purchased it three years ago.
Erin McPherson said she and her husband purchased the iPad for Brody when he was much less verbal than he is now as a way to help him communicate his needs. But now that he has mastered enough language to say what he wants, the device is used for educational purposes and for fun. One of his favorite fun things to do on the iPad watch vintage “Sesame Street” episodes on YouTube while he eats Cheerieos. The iPad also is loaded with apps for math, social studies and reading.
“He also needs the iPad as a coping device,” his mother said. “We take it everywhere. It keeps him focused, calm and comfortable. He can’t understand where the iPad has gone. He’s been very emotional the last few days. It’s very sad.”
McPherson said Brody is normally a happy, sweet, cuddly child who loves to swim at the Lura Hoit pool in Hampden and the University of Maine pool, but he has been angry since the loss of the iPad. “This has been a curve ball for him,” she said.
The loss of the iPad right before April vacation adds to the difficulty for Brody because he will be out of his regular routine and will need the device even more to help him feel calm, his mother said.
McPherson said the iPad cost more than $800 at the time of its purchase, including many apps to aid Brody’s education. Currently, there is no leeway in the family’s budget to replace it. She and her husband have reported the loss to the Bangor Police Department in hopes that the iPad can be recovered through police channels.
“Whoever picked it up doesn’t know what the iPad means to this little boy,” McPherson said. “If who ever has it would return it there would be no questions asked.”
If anyone has information about the device, McPherson asks that they call her at 951-7462 or drop it off at the Oriental Jade restaurant.