Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For the Love of Asiedya

This is an article from the Chapel Hill News about a foundation being set up by her parents to supply iPads to other children with autism in her honor.  The foundation name is 'For the Love of Asiedya' and details are below.   

chapel hill news  
Published: Aug 17, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Aug 15, 2011 09:54 PM

New foundation to honor Asiedya
Parents of Chapel Hill girl killed in fire want to help other children with autism


To donate to The FLOA foundation, checks can be sent to Wachovia Bank in care of the FLOA Foundation/Sheryl Williams-Clement. For more information on the foundation or to help the family, call Pastor Veryl Howard at 910-644-1824

CHAPEL HILL - She was waiting for Christmas.She had already written Santa with her request: a Lalaloopsy doll, the modern rag doll with the matching personality and outfit. It came, early, laid with 7-year-old Asiedya Elizabeth Clement in the coffin she was buried in Saturday.
Asiedya was killed Aug. 6 when she became trapped in her family's condominium off Weaver Dairy Road as it caught fire and burned.
Now her parents, Gary C. Clement and Sheryl Williams-Clement, are starting a foundation in memory of their daughter, who was diagnosed with autism when she was 2.
The FLOA Foundation, an acronym of "For The Love of Asiedya," will raise money to buy iPads for children with autism.
"That is my passion now," said Williams-Clement. "Initially it was just an idea, but I think it's very befitting for her life, to expand it."
Asiedya got an iPad from First in Families of North Carolina, a Durham-based organization that helps children with disabilities and their families. The tablet opened new learning opportunities for Asiedya; she was always on it, speeding through applications and watching movies, her parents said.
She downloaded dozens of applications. Some taught her about exotic animals; others taught her reading and math through puzzles and games. She mastered the device in weeks.
"She took off with the iPad ... it was very interactive for her," said Gary Clement, who is a writer, photographer and television producer in the gospel music entertainment community. "We'd do writing, arithmetic ... she'd have to get through building a sentence with one app."
The second grader at Ephesus Elementary School was curious, energetic and ever alert. She loved to learn.
"She was very inquisitive about everything; she wanted to see how everything worked," said Williams-Clement.
Asiedya liked it best when the TV was on, a DVD was playing and she was scrolling through her iPad all at once. She especially enjoyed TV commercials; she turned up the volume whenever they came on.
"She was very high functioning, but we never knew where she was developmentally," Williams-Clement said.
The Clements want to use their foundation to give children iPads, but also to educate people about the importance of diagnosing autism early. It is rare to find autism in black females, but early diagnosis can make a big difference in the effectiveness of therapy, said Williams-Clement.
To raise money for their foundation, Gary Clement plans to tap his network of contacts, actors, athletes and artists from the film and television industry. He currently produces the show "North Carolina Backstage," which discusses political and religious issues around the world and airs on cable stations throughout the Triangle.
The morning of the fire, the Clements awoke to the sound of crashing glass in their living room and went downstairs to investigate.
When they tried to get back upstairs to get Asiedya, black smoke had overtaken the condominium in the Kensington Trace complex in northern Chapel Hill.
"She was just overtaken by smoke," said Williams-Clement, who is a health unit coordinator at UNC Hospitals. "We were screaming for her. ... She was just overtaken by smoke."
Fire department officials say the fire was caused by the mechanical malfunction of a freezer on the back porch.
Talking about their only child is still hard, but remembering Asiedya by helping other children with autism makes it a bit easier, Williams-Clement said.
"The iPad opened up a whole new world for her," she said. "I want to give other kids with autism the same opportunities [she] had." or 919-932-8746
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