Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 9, 2013

Denver Foundation helps Mercer family communicate

PRINCETON — By

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— The Little Buddy Radio studio was filled with love Friday afternoon as the Denver Foundation opened its hearts to help a 24-year-old autistic man communicate with his mother.

“This is real good for Matt,” Donna Weis said after Dreama Denver presented her son, Matt Weis with a new iPad that is equipped with an app that will enable him to communicate.

“Sometimes, it’s a little tough,” Donna Weis said. She paused and looked away for a few moments before continuing. “If he wants something, he’ll write one word, but he doesn’t spell it right. I can usually figure it out, though.”

“It’s hard to never hear your child say mommy,” Dreama Denver said as she met with Matt and Donna Weis at Denver’s home near Princeton. “The Denver Foundation is extremely proud to present your very own iPad to you.

“So, are you excited?” Denver asked as she helped Matt remove the iPad from its packaging. After the two removed the iPad from its packaging, Matt Weis clutched it close to his chest and smiled.

“He and my Colin have the same nurse, Monique,” Denver said. “I think both of them like Monique a lot. She’s a great nurse.”

Denver and Charlie Thomas, her co-host on Little Buddy Radio’s morning show, “Sunny Side Up with Charlie and Dreama,” took Matt on a tour of the WGAG 93.1 broadcast studio. Weis watched Thomas at the broadcast console for a few minutes, but soon walked to another corner of the room, picked up one of Thomas’ guitars and started strumming.

Denver steadied the guitar briefly, but in a few moments, Thomas took the neck of the guitar and switched chords from G to C and D, then back to G again. Weis smiled as he played.

“This is the first time that he has played a guitar,” Carol Quesenberry said. Quesenberry is a social worker with Res-Care who assists Weis.

“He sure has the fingers for it,” Thomas said as Weis continued strumming the guitar.

Dreama and her late husband, Bob Denver established the Denver Foundation to help children and young adults with autism as well as their families deal with the challenges they face. Colin Denver, also autistic, is a little older than Weis and is also non-verbal.

“This is so rewarding to be able to help a mother and son communicate,” Denver said.

Denver showed Weis the photographs she had on her iPad. In a matter of minutes, Weis got the hang of moving the photographs and enlarging them. Matt Weis smiled and nodded his head several times during the iPad presentation, the guitar lesson and the visit. Donna Weis smiled as well.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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