iPad stolen from autistic boy in Sheboygan returned

CREATED Oct 12, 2012

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SHEBOYGAN- A crime that upset a family prompted a community to take action.

When a Sheboygan mom and dad learned their son had autism, they gave him the tools he needed to learn and grow.  The challenges of parenting magnified when someone stole one of those tools.

Jaden Wick is a playful four-year-old living with autism.

Dad Travis became an autism therapist after his son was diagnosed around two years ago.  Soon after that, he and his wife, Krystal, bought their son an iPad.

"It's his way of communicating his needs and wants to us," says Travis Wick.

That communication broke down when someone stole the device out of Wick's car.  Jaden's parents didn't know what to do.

"It was extremely frustrating because I knew that the person who took it didn't know what it meant to my son," says Travis Wick.

So Wick wrote an article in the local paper, educating the public about autism and asking for someone to return the iPad.  Soon after, calls from the community flooded his phone lines.

"My phone battery died, it was just one phone call after another of people trying to help," says Travis Wick.

Donations and letters poured in, and eventually Jaden's iPad mysteriously reappeared in the family mailbox.

"It was difficult to understand that it didn't have a charge in it when it was returned. He was so excited to see it!" says Krystal Wick.

The theft put a face on autism, and the Wicks, forever thankful, now have the means to make a difference.

"This is a great community, it really is, and the people that helped that helped us out, I can't thank them enough," says Travis Wick.

Now, Jaden's family is working to use those donations to help others, even becoming part of a program that delivers the devices to other families dealing with autism.