Pontiac preschool class wins thousand dollar grant

By Anna Yee

April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 9:54 PM CDT

PONTIAC, Ill. -- Communication is key for Angie Pickett's Preschool class at Central Elementary School in Pontiac.

Her special needs students use a lot of pictures and interactive ipad games, but one major digital program her students need- let's just say there isn't an app for that.

That's why Mrs. Pickett wants to buy a touchscreen laptop for her students.

"They have sensory issues, so, you know, using a mouse is not always the easiest thing," said Pickett. "So, with the touch screen, it'll be a wonderful thing. They pick up stuff so fast, and it's just a matter of giving them another avenue to learn."

Five-year-old Jack was diagnosed with autism two and a half years ago.

He has been working to improve his speech delays.

Jack's mom, Abbie Hummel, was so impressed with his progress, she actually nominated Mrs. Pickett for the grant.

"Pontiac, being the smaller community, most people feel like they would have to go to a bigger community like Bloomington to get all the services that they need for their child with special needs, and I don't feel that," said Hummel.

"I feel like he gets everything he needs here in this classroom," she continued, "and I couldn't express how happy I was about it, so this was one way that I thought I could show that."

Mrs. Pickett says every contribution will fuel her students' futures.

"The more materials we can have," said Pickett, "and the more real life experiences, even at 3 years old, using technology that's out there, it gives them the best possible opportunity to be successful, whether we're looking at next year or 15 years from now."