Picture Prompt Timer

Picture Prompt Timer is a simple, but highly useful, app from Look to Learn.  It follows an “If-then” format, which is really helpful for kids who have a difficult time understanding the concept of completing one activity before beginning another. It’s very simple to set up, with a variety of options which can be used individually, two or three at a time, or all together. The instructions are intuitive, even for someone like me who loves have everything spelled out in detail. Here’s a description of the app from the developer: The same group that brought you Look2Learn, Stories2Learn, and Video Scheduler, brings you an innovative visual support for individuals with autism and other disabilities! The Picture Prompt Timer (PPT) allows you to display two photographs in a first/then format (First you do this, then you get this) with a corresponding bar that shows the individual how much time is left on task. While such a visual tool is helpful, the PPT adds a new dimension – an auditory prompt that allows you to customize a message that will play at intervals you set up! For example, if you want Johnny to stay on task and he needs to be reminded every 30 seconds, just simply set up an audio reminder and tell it how frequently to play. The end result is Johnny has a constant reminder of what he needs to do. With the Picture Prompt Timer you are able to add your own photos and auditory reminder. In addition, you are able to add customized feedback at the completion of the task. This can be effective when...

New Service Option: Virtual Tutoring

For the past three months, I’ve been tutoring a student in Chicago–from Fresno!  Isn’t technology wonderful??  We each have a magnetic white board.  I put magnets on the backs of the Barton Reading & Spelling tiles for both of us.  I email PDFs of any necessary worksheets prior to lessons.    If we are reading a book, she downloads a copy on her Kindle, and/or listens to it on Audible.com.  I’m checking out using SuperTintin (thanks, Joanne Kaminski of The Skyping Reading Tutor, for gifting me the license in your contest). With SuperTintin,  I can record the lessons for her mom to review.  I send a summary of each lesson with an invoice, and her mom pays via the paypal button I have on my website. No muss, no fuss! If you are interested in trying virtual tutoring, I have a five lesson special: Five 30 minute lessons for $50, a 43% discount! Check it...

Pictello Contest!

Check it out!  Normally $12.99, the app is 30% off until January 1st. From the Pictello People: The Pictello “Picture All the Ways to Use Pictello” contest began Dec. 18th and will run until January 13th. We also have Pictello on a 30% discount until January 1st! We are seeking people’s creative, creative, entertaining and inspiring stories! Add your Pictello story now and .. win!  The audience will choose the winner by voting on their favorite stories on our website, Each week the two stories with the most votes will receive an iTunes gift card of 30 dollars/euros (or the equivalent of that in your currency) and a small surprise! At the end, there will be a grand prize of a free copy of one of our software at choice. That can thus be Pictello, Proloquo2Go or one of our Mac products. Winners may request to have their software prize donated to a user, professional, or an organization that provides therapy or evaluation services, if they wish! For more information about the contest, your readers can click here:http://www.assistiveware.com/picture-all-ways-use-pictello Also, we have been posting tips and winners info and more on our FB...

A Bed of Roses Bed & Breakfast

I was looking for a relaxing get-away close to Fresno, and randomly picked A Bed of Roses in Oakhurst.  It turned out to be fortunate choice. As you round the curve, a brass bed greets you.   Never fear, the actual rooms are much more comfortable! The Inn kittens like to play…Treaty pretends to be a mountain lion. and Tricky plays hide and seek… The innkeepers welcome you with coffee and conversation by the pool. The views from the deck and the rooms are magnificent. So, if you find yourself on the way to Yosemite, or are just looking for a quick getaway from home, be sure to stay at A Bed of Roses Bed & Breakfast in Oakhurst!! You’ll remember your hosts and your visit with...

It’s Tense Out There!

  Mobile Education Store has added another great tool to their language development toolbox, with their latest app, Tense Builder.  As with the other apps, Kyle Tomson did extensive field testing with speech therapists and their students.  This shows in the attention to detail in the animated videos, student directions, short and long lesson explanations, and the various options in the settings menu. There is a comprehensive video tutorial on the settings screen that is a very clear introduction to Tense Builder. Check out this sneak preview. Also on the settings page, you can set the level of play, choose to study regular and/or irregular verbs, and past, present, and/or future tenses.  An additional feature is the option to select which verbs you want to target.  You can choose the long lesson (good for introducing a new verb or tense) or the short lesson (good for review of previously introduced verbs/tenses).  Audio instructions can be turned on or off, as can correct answer reinforcement, and the option to record the correct answer or not. You can save information for more than one student, which is a great option. As with other Mobile Education apps, the student can record a sentence to practice the verb.  My nephew, who is 22 and autistic, is sometimes reluctant to record his voice.  However, he likes to try out different voices for fun and practice and then listen to them.  Recorded sentences can be saved. The student’s results can be emailed to their parents or classroom teacher. The following images show the verb “Finish.” The student taps play and a short lesson about the...

The Biggest Story Problem

Are you concerned about math education in the United States?  The creator of Ko’s Journey has developed a film, The Biggest Story Problem, about the teaching of math, primarily at the middle school level, in the US. From a description of the documentary:  “The documentary interweaves the story of New Mexico’s teacher-turned-game designer, Scott Laidlaw, creator of Ko’s Journey, an innovative online story-based math game; the stories of teachers and schools taking part in a pilot program using Ko’s Journey to increase student engagement in math; and the broad-based story of math education in the United States, contrasting it to countries, such as Finland, that consistently score in the top tier of the OECD.” If you like what you see in the trailer, you can donate a copy of the full DVD to your local middle...

Check Out My Guest Post on the iBallz Blog!

After my review of the iBallz iPad protection product, and the LID cover, they asked me to do a guest post for their education blog.  And here it is! iPads and Autism: My Experience and App Recommendations for Teaching Kids with Developmental Differences. Thank you for the opportunity to write a guest post!  Still love the iBallz and the LID....

Is It a Book? Is it an App? Is It Just Plain Amazing? Maybe Things Aren’t So Normal

  Maybe Things Aren’t So Normal is a feature-packed iBook from Pocket SLP.   Definition of NORMAL: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; average (dictionary.com)   Maybe Things Aren’t So Normal is definitely not standard, common, usual, or average, whether you think of it as an iBook or an IPad app.   As a tool for speech-language pathologists, it is jam-packed with features to support a comprehensive therapy program. Sentences for articulation, animations for speech production, wide-ranging comprehension activities, study guides and more are just the tip of the iceberg. As a book for kids, it is full of clever poems, astounding photos and videos, and icky and unusual facts about things such as spiders and ninjas. There are more than enough pages here to keep kids fascinated for hours. The book begins with “A Not-So-Normal Welcome” which highlights the special features of the book and how to make the most of them.  One of the coolest is being able to customize your book.  By pressing on a word or phrase, you can access the glossary, get a definition of the word, even search the internet. You can highlight or underline the word or phrase and create notes.  The notes are available in the Study Cards link. The notes page becomes part of your book and you can even email it yourself. There are also video tutorials on the introduction page.  I highly recommend viewing them in order to get a good understanding of the interactive features. The table of contents is organized by comprehension skills. Each chapter includes a clever poem, which has an audio link so...

iBallz! Funky Protection for Your iPad

This review on Autism Epicenter is what prompted me to suggest iBallz to my sister, Barbara Schilling. She needed a way to attach her new iPad to her harp desk.  She also wanted to protect the iPad in case it dropped on the hospital floor as she moved her harp from room to room.  In addition, she wanted to make sure the iPad would be protected if she dropped it on the concrete floor of the parking garage.  The iBallz do a wonderful job of keeping the iPad from hitting the ground in what could otherwise be a catastrophe. After my sister got her iBallz, and was thrilled with how well they suited her situation, I asked Lee, a co-owner of Friendly Integration, if I could have a set of iBallz and a Lid for purposes of review.  He kindly sent me complimentary products, which arrived in just two days (shipping is free in the US, by the way).  The picture above shows the iPad with the iBallz and Lid attached. In this view, you can see the small accessory pocket, which is perfect for a set of earphones. There’s also a slip-in pocket for your business card or other ID. When I first saw the iBallz, I thought they looked kind of silly.  I couldn’t imagine I would like them. However, iBallz not only look cool in person, they provide a comfy place to rest your hands as you hold the iPad.  My sister and I have brain-stormed all kinds of suggestions for future iBallz, including additional colors (purple is a popular suggestion from girls), baseball, basketball, and soccer ball...

Gerry the Giraffe

Do you love giraffes?  What about volleyball? Or colorful illustrations? Do you love stories of persistence and determination? Then you’ll love Gerry the Giraffe!  It covers all of these, and more.  Gerry the Giraffe is a sweet, interactive storybook from PicPocket Books, written by author Melissa Northway (of Penelope the Purple Pirate fame).  What Penelope did for pirates, Gerry does for giraffes. Gerry loves to play volleyball, but he’s too short to go with the team to volleyball summer camp. His mom acknowledges his disappointment, but rather than allowing him to dwell on that, she encourages him to think of what he can do to improve his skills. His dad also has wise words for Gerry: “Keep trying and don’t give up.” So, Gerry gets up early, practices running, bounces the volleyball off his head, passes it back and forth with friends (cute little animated volleyball flies through the air), and jumps over everything.  His hard work pays off and Gerry is invited to join the volleyball team. My favorite part, though? The very end, where Gerry passes on what he’s learned to younger giraffes. It’s fun to challenge children to find the words hidden in the illustrations (practice, try hard, boulder, pass to me, garden) and to notice the sparkling animations on various pages. Two features of Gerry the Giraffe particularly appeal to me as an educator and a grama.  I like the “Fun Facts” background information about giraffes and Africa at the end of the story.  Seeing photographs of giraffes and other wild animals will help kids make connections to the real world. I really appreciate the...

Are Squirrels Smart, or What?

Are Squirrels Smart, or What? follows in the path of the previous My Word! Reader stories, Are Bees Smart, or What? and Are Whales Smart, or What?  The book and activity apps are aimed at older students who struggle with reading. The iTunes store description of Are Squirrels Smart, or What? says: “My Word! Reader – Are Squirrels Smart, or What? is a ground-breaking app for the iPad based on sound educational and literacy theory that is designed to improve literacy skills in underachieving students. This app will be an essential tool for literacy learning for education and home markets. Simple to use, but sophisticated in design, it incorporates word analysis, phonics, writing skills, word recognition, comprehension and spelling in a series of dynamic, engaging, and delightful “word games” that are rooted in the high-interest, but easy-to-read story, Are Squirrels Smart, or What? Are Squirrels Smart, or What? is the third in the My Word! Reader series. Word games in this app include practice with rhyming words; short and long vowel sounds; spelling; writing exercises; vocabulary building. As students engage in the word games, they practice and review word analysis skills, thus building competence in learning the mysteries of decoding new words.” I think it’s especially fun that this story is based on a true one. As with the other stories, this one begins with a few questions to get the reader thinking: “Are squirrels smart? Do squirrels have brains? Do you believe that squirrels can think?”   This is important if students are using the app independently.  The story also provides background knowledge that will help with understanding the...