Where do you turn when the right solution doesn't yet exist?
This was the exact question that sparked two dads, Glen Dobbs and Cedar Vandergon, then strangers, to start adapting and creating new devices and accessories for their children with disabilities. Each was frustrated with the progress — or in this case, lack of progress their child was making. Despite having access to the best and brightest therapists and teachers in the country, their progress remained stagnant.
Glen’s son, Logan, has severe autism. He’s non-verbal and can be violent. The frustration from not being able to communicate his feelings and wants compounded that. He wasn’t capable of using an iPad, and the lite-tech devices that were available at the time simply didn't suit his needs.
Logan had mastered communication using a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) Binder but was having a great deal of difficulty transitioning from that system into a dynamic AAC device.
Logan's parents knew he was capable of more if they could just find the right way to teach him. Then, out of the blue, Glen’s wife, Kristi said “Wouldn’t it be great if these PECS could talk?” and the wheels in her engineer-husband’s mind began to turn.
Several months later, Dobbs presented Logan and his SLP with a prototype of his new invention, the Logan® Proxtalker® — A modular AAC system that brings speech and tactile button activation to a PECS-inspired methodology. It was also completely customizable so his family could add photos and record his siblings' voices to go with them.
Several states away, that very same year, Julie and Cedar Vandergon were sitting at their kitchen table in Saint Paul, Minnesota brainstorming solutions for their daughter Brea. Brea has cerebral palsy and was facing some communication hurdles of her own. They were exploring iPad-based communication apps but Brea was unable to accurately control her hands and couldn’t use the iPad without someone holding it for her.
The iPad was still very new at the time, and there weren’t any out-of-the-box solutions that would give Brea the independence she needed. Her dad was able to find a few products that came close but still didn’t completely meet her needs. So he began piecing the best parts of each into a custom-made mounting arm, cradle and keyguard for Brea’s iPad.
Pretty soon, Brea's teachers and therapists started asking Cedar if he could make more of these accessories for their other clients, and a new company was born. Vandergon set the wheels in motion, creating Beyond Adaptive, a company specializing in assistive accessories for iPads.
As fate would have it, these two kindred spirits crossed paths several times over the next few years, and became friends and colleagues. In 2016 they brought their brands under one roof with Beyond Adaptive joining the LoganTech family of brands. The rest, as they say, is history.
Two dads, two kids with disabilities, and a healthy dose of ingenuity became the recipe for creating "the right tool for the job" for these two families — and now, 1,000's of other families as well.