The iPad that a three-year-old boy with nonverbal autism uses to communicate with his family is missing, and police in Wellesley, Massachusetts, are asking for the public's help in trying to find it.
The "very special iPad" is black in a blue case and has the boy's name, Preston, written on it, according to a statement from the Wellesley Police Department. They want it returned to Preston and won't ask anyone who brings it to them how they got it.
His omther left it on the ground at the parking lot of 42 Washington Street in Wellesley's Lower Falls neighborhood Thursday afternoon about 4:45 p.m. She had been getting Preston into their vehicle, police said.
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She only realized what had happened when she got home, and the Find My iPhone app didn't work because the iPad was turned off. Police "checked the area extensively but the iPad was unfortunately gone," officers wrote.
And the device is crucial for the family, whom police did not identify, since it's how Preston talks to his parents and others.
"Preston has autism, and is unable to communicate verbally. Preston is able to use a special app called 'GoTalk' that enables…and empowers…him to be connected to his family in a much easier manner," police wrote.
The search for Preston's iPad comes a week after another boy with nonverbal autism had his stolen from a playground in Marshfield. A police officer searching for that device found it while rummaging through a dumpster.
"I like to describe it like if you had a person that didn't have a leg, like if you took their ... prosthetic leg," said that boy's mother, Patricia Glynn. "He can't talk, so it's hard."