Apr 7, 2013

Cookies for iPads by Melissa of Cookies for iPads

Today I have a very special guest poster for you! Melissa from Cookies for iPads!  If you are not familuar with Cookies for iPads,well...you must not read my blog every much, but that is ok.....Melissa and I will tell you all you need to know about them!

I have written about them several times, you can read about them Here, Here, and HereCookies for iPads, is very near and dear to our hearts, and we do all we can to support them.  If you are looking for a organization to support, because you want to offer your support to Autism, I highly recommend this one.  They are moms...moms who love their kid...and every penny they raise go the purchase of iPad for Autistic children.

So....settle in...and I hope you enjoy reading the story of Melissa of Cookies for iPads!

Take it away Melissa!


 I used to keep cookie jars all over my kitchen, because this girl loves some sugar! My grandma used to say a house full of sugar never runs out of sweetness! Baking was in my blood, so the sweetness in my house never ran on empty and neither did my Cooke jars!

I didn't realize that my grandmother was storing up hope for my future at that point, but she was. I heard the word Autism for the first time when I was around 22 years old. I, like so many of you, only heard that label in a fleeting moment of someone describing another person's child. Little did I know that 12 years later that word would take root in my own child. Little did I know that word would flip my world in ways I didn't know it could be flipped.

On July 3, 2006 my little fire cracker, Chase, entered the world and stole every one's heart instantly. He was just like every other baby in hitting most of his milestones and he filled my heart with that sweetness my grandmother always spoke of. One week after Chase's first birthday we had an episode of fever and rash that landed him in ICU for two days. It was truly the scariest moment of my life. Nobody could really tell us what was wrong. All we knew was that he had a high grade fever that wasn't willing to break, a severe rash, refused to verbalize, and a child who suddenly looked through you like you were glass. Any little sound would send him over the edge in what we now know as a "meltdown." For those of you who are unfamiliar with Autism, meltdowns are a common occurrence, at least in our household. Where a tantrum is goal driven, a meltdown is a reactive process to sensory overload or stimulation reactivity. There are several levels that can occur with a meltdown and they can occur before, during, or after a neurological response to something that is occurring in the individuals daily process. For us, it took several years to learn and create a strategic intervention program that would help our son through these moments. In the beginning he would have a melt down that would repel me straight into a temper tantrum at the feet of God. His was reactive and mine was goal driven. He didn't like where we were or what was on TV or a sound that he heard and well, I just wanted God to make Autism go away.

At around the age of 2, my heart broke in two again and my "cookie jar" started to run on empty. People started noticing that he wasn't speaking yet and I was smothering inside. Smothering because I didn't know why. The word Autism hadn't entered our world yet. By age 2 1/2, I created a fairly good con of keeping his verbal issue at bay. When someone would ask him a question, I would immediately jump in and answer for him or make an excuse for him. What some mothers rejoiced over, I dreaded. You know...the little waitress who would say, "Well, your just cute as a bug! What is your name sweetheart?" He would stare a hole through her and I would appease myself by jumping in and saying, "Say chase." This would immediately bring giggles from him which had to be a way for God to ease my pain. This went on for quite a while until my family finally pushed me to see our doctor. She immediately put him in speech therapy and by age 3, we met our angel. Her name was Leah and she was his speech pathologist. She was the first person who really looked me in the eye and said autism. She said it in such a way that my heart finally listened without the embarrassment, fear, and anger. I made an appointment at what I now reference the saddest place on Earth, Nationwide Children's ASD Center. We were scheduled for 3 appointments; an evaluation and focus group, a psychiatric evaluation, and a family briefing. Our first appointment consisted of several therapists, a CNP, and a psychiatrist. For 3 hours they observed my child doing everything from interacting with me to playing with toys. At the end of the observation, a doctor walked in and spoke the word "autism" over my child. My cookie jar was empty. The last thing I remember that doctor saying to me was a list of things he would never do and then it faded to the sound of nothing.....nothing....nothing. I could finally define oppression. That word carried so much weight with it that I could barely pick it up and carry it out the door. The only thing I remember was picking up my new baby, taking the hand of that beautiful little boy and walking to my car in pure silence. As soon as I sat down in my car, the tears began to pour. They poured for weeks. I could barely crawl out of bed. I was lost...lost in a world called autism and I couldn't find my way back to the surface. Then came God. After a few weeks of walking in and out of my bedroom like an old hag in curlers and a bathrobe, my husband came in and simply spoke, "Melissa, your going to have to get yourself together for our kids. He is still our son. Nothing has changed." That struck me to the core. The next morning I sat up out of bed and put my feet on the floor with a goal to make a difference. His doctor doesn't think he will ever ride a bike? Watch him. She said he will never talk? Wanna make a bet! She says he will never understand faith or things like God? Wrong. I was a momma on a mission. Suddenly I was at another level of autism PTSD! I was still in my curlers and bathrobe, its just now I was on my computer and in books instead of rolling around in a black oblivion in my bed! Then it happened. I found it. The Apple iPad. There were more articles and stories of people finally helping their children speak than I had time to read! He needed one, I had to get him one, but they were $599!!

That was where my mission was founded. I knew he needed an iPad, but I didn't know how to get him one due to my husband just coming off of a very long layoff and my being on maternity leave. Then it hit me....cookies. People love my cookies. Ill bake! That night I was lying in bed trying to figure out a plan for my cookies and his iPad when it hit me like a ton of bricks that I wasn't the only mom in this place of desperation. Tears began to burn down my cheeks as God began to lay all of these other mothers on my heart. Mothers just like myself, desperate to hear their child say those words "I love you." So, I called my mom, and started emailing friends about my idea of baking cookies. I was blown away at the response I received. All of my friends were willing to help me bake cookies in hopes of raising enough funds for 2 iPads! That night Cookies for iPads was born!

Our very first dollar made!

Our very first weekend we raised enough money to give out 3 iPads. He received his iPad! 7 days later Chase said his first sentence, and soon followed up with the words i longed to hear, "I love you mommy!" My cookie jar was finally full again. I was blessed to have such an amazing team join me in Chases's programming through a school named Spectrum Behavior Solutions. he has another autism angel there by the name of Becca who has helped C4 i reach a whole new level by providing therapy and apps to children in our area with ipad access.

The word began to spread pretty quickly about our little group that consisted of me, my mom, my best friend Angie, Chase's speech therapist Leah, and her cousin Liz and grandma. Before we knew it, we had mothers from all over the state contacting us in hopes of getting an iPad for their child. Cookies started to arrive in droves. Fast forward a year later and we are now a worldwide group who sells cookies that are home baked from all over the world. I have met so many other mothers who have children on the spectrum, but believe in the power of a puzzle cookie! A year and half later after that first cookie sale, we have presented 53 children on the spectrum with an iPad! 100% have made accomplishments because of their device. More than 3/4 of them have began to verbalize. I need another cookie jar!


Now I fill my cookie jars with hope. With every cookie I bake, I bake in a little bit of hope. Hope that one day that 1:88 will only be a number associated with my cookie jar and no longer the children I love. Some of these children I am blessed to see daily, some I won't meet until the future, and others I'll never meet in person, but one thing is for sure...as long as God keeps creating these special gifts, ill keep baking! Can't let the sweetness or the hope jar ever run on empty! Thank you to every baker, mom, grandma, dad, grandpa, and family who has helped make Cookies for iPads a possibility. Turn your ovens on 350 and help us bake up some hope!




  1. My tears are flowing and now "my cookie jar" is full. I am so touched by your story and your mission. Although I am not directly affected by autism, your organization is very dear to me. GOD is truly amazing, and you have been such a blessing to so many families. Angels do walk this earth and you are one of them.

  2. Your story has truly touched my heart. They say that God never gives us more than we can handle. He knew that you were capable of being a voice for so many that don't have one. Your organization is making such a difference in so many families lives. I wish you continued success and may your cookie jar always be full.

  3. Love this post. Melissa, your story is amazing. I love that you need more cookie jars now. I hope to be able to help your organization again in the future. It feels good to help get these children something that will make their world a better place for them and their families. Thank you for all that you do.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Your organization is doing such wonderful work for children and family. YOU are an inspiration!


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