By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- On Thursday, a Philadelphia police officer gave five public schools a gift they could never have afforded on their own-- iPads that will help non-verbal students communicate in class.
It was the culmination of a mission inspired by the officer's own son.
Officer Sammy Sanchez gave out the iPads at a special event, where the kids who'll use them played on gym mats and ate pizza. They didn't exactly understand what the gifts would mean, but speech pathologist Robin Perri-Hoyt says they could be life-changing for these students, who might otherwise not have access to them.
"We don't have money for things like iPads, so we were thrilled."
Officer Sanchez was inspired by his own son, who has autism, and was non-verbal until he started using the software.
"I instantly saw everything changing. He could tell me he was hungry, he could tell me he wanted a snack."
Sanchez raised $8,000 through a series of fundraisers. And through careful shopping, he bought 36 iPads and the software for them.
He says this is just the beginning.
"My son changed my life. Autism changed my life. I see things differently, and now it's just a matter of how many kids can I help like my son."
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