I Found An App, Now What?

Wordle: apps for special needs There are so many great websites and blogs out there to guide parents and professionals in their quest for the BEST apps to support children with special needs. But finding a great educational app is only the first step! What happens next?

First, allow me to climb onto my best practice soap box for a moment... 

My Opinion (and it is just that)
An iPad in the hands of a child is useless without the guided support of a knowledgable play partner! Don’t get me wrong, all children need free time to “explore”, whether with Mr. Potato Head, everyday objects around the home, or on YouTube. But, if we want to scaffold learning, moving our kids toward their developmental goals, we have to be present in the interaction (at least part of the time, if not most of the time!). Apps are great, but they can’t do all of the work for us. :)

What does this mean, generally speaking?
1) As special needs professionals, we need to assure that in addition to app recommendations, we are supporting our families with appropriate home programming strategies around these apps, just as we would with more traditional home practice materials.

2) As parents, we need to assure that we are involved with our children during iPad play, providing the modeling, support, and interaction learned from our therapeutic and educational teams to promote the development of vital social and academic skills within our kids.

Ok, climbing off of the soap box now...

What next?

I love apps, and I love how eager my families are to use them with their kids at home! To bridge my love of apps with a need for valuable parent coaching resources, I have decided to embark on a journey. Over the next few months, I plan to post several “how to’s” to support parents in using popular special needs apps at home. But I need your help!

How you can help SNEAK’s project:

1) If you are a parent/therapist/educator that would like guidance on a specific app, post in the comments below.
If you are an app developer that would like to find out how your app can be used to target specific skills for children with special needs, post in the comments below.
If you are a blogger/AT professional who has valuable resources to guide the use of specific special needs apps, post in the comments below.

Thank you for contributing and keep checking SNEAK for app “how to’s”! :)


5 Great Summer AT/AAC Online Trainings!

Looking for some continuing education opportunities to learn more about assistive technology and AAC while you are wrapping up your "lazy" summer? :)  Check out some of these great online webinars to stay in the AT loop!

ATIA is offering some great topics over the next month, including "Challenges to Using Apps as Assistive Technology"

PRC always hosts some great AAC trainings to support not only their products, but the AAC evaluation and treatment process as a whole.  They have a few nice online trainings coming up, including one on successful AAC report writing.

Offers a nice, comprehensive listing of CE opportunities in the areas of AT and AAC, including online/webinar trainings.  

Although not a live webinar or a course offering CE credits, this site has some amazing online resources to help new professionals in the field of AT get their bearings.  

Although they have not posted any new, live webinars since May, you can access all of their archived webinars for some really great information.

I will update this as I come across new opportunities.

Have a training, online course, or webinar you'd like to share?


Online Resources for AAC from Say It With Symbols!

I just came across this site (I know, a bit slow since it has been in business for a few years!) and I love it!  Great low tech, AAC products and a wonderful resource list for parent friendly AAC info all over the web!  They also sell adorable shirts and gift items, including greeting cards, that display messages with picture communication symbols.  Love it :)

If you are a parent or professional looking for AAC tips to support your special kids, definitely check this out (Giving Greetings/Say It With Symbols!).

You might also want to check out SNEAK's previous post on SNEAK's Top 5 Web Resources for Teaching Language to Kids who Use AAC

What AAC resources do you find helpful?


Connect: New Switch Interface for iPad

Updated information on Connect (previously called Keynote), set to be released this Fall!
Adapted form a post seen on Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs
Ablenet is set to release Keynote in September of this year.  From what I can tell (and I could be wrong), it seems like Keynote is a switch interface, sound amplification system and protective case in one, very similar to the iAdapter with the added feature of a switch interface.  The switch interface in Keynote will enable users to control functions of the iPad that allow Voice Over controls, such as switching between screens on the iPad, and navigating to and opening apps.  Keynote's switch interface will also enable users to operate apps that support Voice Over controls by using a single switch.  This is a step above where our current switch interface options are (e.g., Blue2, Therapy Box).  Pretty cool, can't wait to try it out for myself!