SNEAK's Peeks #4: Hands-on Interactive Play with Sifteo Cubes

 Sifteo Interactive Game Cubes were one of the coolest tools I saw at ATIA 2012 this past weekend! Check out this quick demo  the rep from EnableMart gave me of this awesome new learning modality!

These high-tech "manipulatives" interact with desktop software on your computer to display and play fun and educational games! You can create your own games using the Sifteo Creativity Kit, or play a variety of games from the Sifteo Game Studios, suited for a variety of ages and interests!
I had a blast playing with the cubes and saw so much potential for use with kids with special needs. The cubes have a high color display, are extremely lightweight and easy to push along th table or grasp, and easily connect and interact with each other to give feedback to the player.  What a fun way to incorporate manipulatives into simple counting, math, colors, or matching game!  The rep assured me that they re pretty durable too. Can't wait to see where this technology goes!  Check out Sifteo Interactive Game Cubes on Amazon!


ATIA Update! Adapted Learning for Kids with CVI

 I have been dieing to attend a workshop with Linda Burkhart since graduate school, but I just haven't had a chance to make it happen. Today, I FINALLY got a taste of her wisdom and on, of all things, one of my favorite topics-CVI (cortical visual impairment).  A bit of what I took from today's mini-session with Linda Burkhart:

  • All kids with CVI are different and even skills within each child with CVI may vary
  • Don't judge a book by its cover: not all children with CVI have the same level of,m If any, significant cognitive impairment.  
  • Successful intervention for children with CVI isn't just facilitating opportunities for sight, but also providing meaningful contexts for associative learning.  
  • Adapting materials and the environment is not a one size fits all solution for kids with CVI: try these strategies and measure how they improve or hinder visual and leaning progress

                   -Add light via use of flashlight and other focused light sources to draw visual attention to symbols and objects for children with CVI who "light gaze" 

                   -Reduc glare which interferes with "flashlight  highlighting".  One way to do so, avoid high gloss laminating film and go for low-gloss or no- gloss options.  An alternative way to protect visual supports without lamination is a waterproof paper called iGage, sold at www.trailexplorers.com

                  -Establish visual attention by incorporating movement with objects or symbols, which taps into the "fight or flight" area of the visual brain.  Move objects and symbols by shaking them in the  periphery for establishment of visual attention, and then stilling them centrally for children o establish visual focus.  Use animation in computer programs and realize tthat some kids see better when they move-bounce on therapy balls, swing, or learn while moving in other ways. 

                  -Visual complexity is a significant problem for many kids with CVI so simplify visual materials by presenting pictures and text separately, reducing detail in symbols, reducing color array, and reducing symbol array (in situations of AAC).  

                 -Mask visual complexity by using simple techniques like covering extra visual info (e.g.,  extraneous objects, busy prints on clothing or confusing work surfaces, like clear lap trays) with dark fabrics in navy or black.  

                  -Use software programs that reduce visual complexity by keeping graphics and colors simple, such as those by Inclusive Technology.  Also, incorporate additional visual and auditory info via screen highlights, sounds assigned to different functions within games and AAC layouts, and verbal auditory cues. To AAC devices  

                  -Test software for kids with CVI to meeT these guidelines and do so with your eyes literally closed so you can experience what the feedback is like.  

                    - Keep in mind that kids with CVI may have difficulty processing sensory info together.  So they may not be able to look and listen or look and physically activate at the same time.  

I love the twist that Linda Burkhart gives to the field of working with kids with severe challenges and it was so awesome to hear her share her experience in person.  She also mentioned that Mayer -Johnson is due to release a high contrast version of PCS symbols as an addendum library to BoardmKer, very exciting for the application of visuals in the learning environments of children with CVI. Goodnightbfir now, more info from ATIA tomorrow, including extra focus on apps and other great gadgets in the exhibit hall!  

Gain more insight from Linda Burkhart at her site!






ATIA Update! AAC Institute & Developing Language Competence in AAC Users

A great session with Katya Hill, SLP of the University of Pittsburgh/AAC Institute, stressing the importance of helping families, professionals, and kids move forward, beyond core words, beyond requesting and social phrases, to full language competence with AAC Systems, including grammar and literacy. We forget sometimes that we need to follow normal developmental norms for Language acquisition with nonverbal or limited verbal kids and that we need to set their systems up with this evolution in mind!  Check out the great links below to learn more from the AAC Institute!  

 AAC Institute on Facebook 

AAC Institute Main Site 

Gail Van Tatenove, Pixon Project, & Core Words 

AAC Language Lab, Materails and Teaching/Implementation Materials 


I hope to find more Webinars and trainings on this topic for pros and parents in the future!



ATIA 2012 Update: Drool Resistant Switch Toys?


Check out the switch adapted Fijit from !  Super fun and cool cause-effect toy, but even better, it isn't plush!  Easy to clean, more cootie-proof, and great, bright colors for kids with sensory involvement (e.eg, CVI). Fijit toys are also available on Amazon in non-switch form so you could use your DIY switch adapting skills to adapt these toys with Ablenet adapters or other materials. 


ATIA Update #1: Improving Access for Kids with High Tone

I just got out of this incredible, high energy, totally innovative session on access for kids with high muscle tone!  I wish this session was longer because I left feeling totally charged and ready to overhaul everything I thought I knew about positioning, switch use, and more, and totally inspired to try new things-but I need more info!! Here are some bullet points that I will revisit in more detail when I get back home and have time to process and use these amazing tips!

  • Access is gained through experience, not something that kids just have!  This learning process is driven by keeping a child engaged in the activity, not the outcome-in other words, not the switch, not the computer, not being "good" at something, but learning through self-driven, motivating exploration.  
  • Children engage and attend through self-driven intention and motivation, by visualizing themselves doing motor activities, and by having models of these activities in their environment.  We help them by creating these opportunities, not using hand over hand or adult driven "trials".  
  • Access is rooted in positioning and many of our kids are positioned to relax, not to act!
  • Consider the movements required for mechanical switches and the mismatch that often occurs between the skill sets of our kids and those required for graded, effortful "hitting" of a mechanical switch.  Could we explore how electronic switches could be a better choice for kids with tone?
  • Hand control is driven by head control, which is driven by pelvic stability and a relationship with gravity through feet connecting with floor.  We really need to understand physiological and physical ( as in physics) framework to get our kids ready to engage in activities for access and learning. 
Karen Kangas, OTR/L, out of Pennsylvania was the speaker and I highly recommend  fnding her publications and Webinars on Google. I plan to attend a full training on these principles very soon, will update you when I find a listing! :) Off to another session!


Stay Tuned to SNEAK for ATIA 2012 Coverage!

 How amazing is technology?  As I write this, I am 35,000 feet in the air, wedged in the middle seat of a very full airplane, on my way to Orlando! And what waits for me there?  More amazing technology!  While I may not be a reporter, I'm going to take a stab at it this weekend to bring all of you on-the-spot coverage of the great resources at ATIA.  Most of you know about ATIA, some of you may not, but in short, it is an amazing conference that brings together great minds in education, innovation, therapy, advocacy, and so much more!  AT for mobility, low vision, special education, hearing impairment- you name it and it is at ATIA!  And to back up these amazing products, fresh and innovative perspectives from experts in the supporting fields that bring ability to children and adults with special needs.   Stay tuned through SNEAK email updates, my Twitter feed (@sneakotb), RSS feed, and Facebook so you won't miss a thing tomorrow through Sunday!! :) 



My Wishlist for iPad 3: Are You Listening, Apple?

So depending on which rumor-mill you follow, you may have recently heard chatter about the upcoming iPad 3. Most sources agree that Apple recently began production of this much anticipated follow-up to the current iPad 2.  So when can we hope to hold this treasure? Possibly early next year.  So in the meantime, I have entertained my imagination by reading up on speculations of the new and improved features we can expect to see on this new gem.  Some reports include a thinner, sleeker design, higher screen resolution and camera quality, and even an anti-fingerprint/ Schmutz-proof coating for the screen!  all are very cool, indeed.  But I want to know where the cool, innovative accessibility features are!! We count on Apple to answer our pleas, don't we?  Here are a few things I would like to see realized in the iPad 3!  Pay attention, Apple!

  • The ability to adjust access method and touch screen sensitivity: I want to see touch exit, scanning, and (because I am a big dreamer) eye gaze!  I want to be able to change my touch screen settings to be feather light or elephant firm because my kids need these options!  Hey, Dynavox and PRC can do it, why can't you?
  • An iOS update that allows me to access my tablet with a switch:  Now I know this is tricky with you keep the iOS components under warps.  And I know that the whole point of an iQPad (according to Apple) is its touch screen technology.  And I know that things should look pretty and tightly organized and blah blah blah.  BUT, the fact is, our kids use switches, our kids use iPads, and right now, they need an iPad that can step up to the challenge!  Android is getting there, but Apple (shaking head), you're letting' me down...
  • App folder icons that I can customize and subdivide:  Now maybe this is just because I am visually impaired and a bit OCD at the same time, but on my behalf, and I believe, to the benefit of many of my kids, I would really like it if I could assign different folder icons to my App folders when I organize them on the iPad desktop.  The little black boxes with smudgey colored boxes inside of them don't help me navigate!  To be honest, they just irk me.  Doesn't it make more sense to be able to assign a meaningful, representational symbol to my folders so that I can navigate more quickly?  And I would really love it if I could create folders within folders to further organize my Apps.  And let's not stop there, could I possibly password protect said folders to keep my kids out of certain Apps?  Seems easy enough for Windows, so not sure why it isn't on my iPad.
  • Ability to change font size, icon size, and contrast of home screen:  While we are on the topic on the desktop, the iPad 3 should let me change the font size, icon size, and color contrast of my home screen for easier navigation. I can make the print larger in some features but not others and the inconsistency doesn't cut it.  Yeah, yeah, I know about Zoom, but you try using it for sustained periods of time and you'll see what I mean.  :)
What do you want to see happen in the new iPad 3?


20 Great Android Apps for Kids with CVI/Low Vision

iPad hogs the spotlight these days, but considering the switch accessibility features of Android devices, and the up and coming market of Android tablets that strongly compete with iPad, I plan on spending a bit more time focusing on this alternate technology.  To start, here are a list of 20 great Apps for Android that posses certain characteristics that I find helpful for kids with cortical visual impairment and other forms of low vision.  This is by no means a complete list, but it's a great start, especially if you're looking for Apps for kids in the early developmental stages.  I picked these Apps for their visual properties and ease of use, making them great Apps to try with kids with CVI and LV.  However, many if not ALL of these Apps are great for kids with a variety of special needs. 
When you link to Amazon's Android App Store through SNEAK, you support our blog and get cool Apps with no extra cost to you!
1.  Knee Bouncers Big Little Games: Vol. 1 (5 games in 1) has bright, contrasting colors, is visually simplistic but engaging, and requires simple interaction for cause-effect and engagement.  Games included are: 1)  Choo-Choo: Your baby or toddlers will love this bubble blowing train.; 2).  The Alphabet game: Introduce your baby or toddler to the letters of the alphabet in this fun interactive game.; 3).  Pop-A-lot: It's a bubble bursting bonanza. ; 4)  It's Colorific: Your baby or toddler will begin to learn all the basic colors with this big, bright and colorful game.; and 5)  The Big Top: A three ring circus comes to life as your baby or toddler taps the screen.

2.  My Baby Drum is designed for the development of your baby’s senses. This app provides various children's songs and authentic drumming.  Add drum sounds to children's songs to make exciting musical performance.  When touched, the program activates animations and vibration to stimulate children's curiosity. Bright drums in a rainbow of colors on a white background make them easier to see with large surface area for each drum allowing for easier interaction.

3.  Kids Xylophone encourages interaction through music and a  bright, simple, visual display.   Play  your own songs or play along with favorites, this App encourages cause-effect, imitation of sound and rhythm, and visual attention.
4.  Little Piano is a  high-contrast, black and white toy piano that encourages exploration and touch screen interaction.  

5. BalloonMaker is a simple but engaging App with a bright, high-contrast display.  This fun App encourages interaction through sound and movement.  It's  simple visual display and easy activiAtion make it great for kids with CVI and other challenges.  
 6.  Balloonimals is a favorite for iPad users now on Android!  This great, cause-effect game lets children use different touch screen gestures to blow up balloons, create a balloon figure, interact with the figure, and then pop it!  Great selection of balloons to choose from and easy gestures for interaction.  High contrast with bright balloons on simple white background, great animation, and sounds!

7.  Pop Goes the Bubble Every kid loves bubbles but these are easier to see and therefore, easier to track!  The app has 4 game modes, each offering different skills to target.  You can expand on language skills by talking to your child while they play, improve tracking and hand-eye coordination, and foster independence as this App is a great one to let your child play alone or with support.  

8.  Sound Touch was designed to help expand vocabulary knowledge through sound and picture associations.  Thiss visually simple, easy to use App will encourage sound imitation, visual attention, touch screen interaction, and case-effect.
9.  My First Race for Babies is a colorful App that resembles a toycar on a race track.  Drive the car with the touch of a finger! This App helps children with sensory and motor involvement interact with pretend play schemes more easily!

10., 11., & 12.   Kids Doodle - Movie Kids Drawing, Neon Draw, & Picasso-Kids Paint Magic are three great drawing Apps with high-contrast, neon on black displays.  Kids Doodle records doodles to playback as a movie!  These Apps are great for early touch screen skills, exploratory play, and for use as a learning tool like an interactive whiteboard (but black).  
13.  Peek-a-Boo Barn is an old favorite for iPad users, now on Android.  Visually simple pictures and interaction allow users with vosual limitations learn animal names and sounds, cause-effect and early toich screen skills in a fun, motivating way!
14.  Mazeball is not as simple as some of the others but it offers a great, high-contrast black, white and red display where you lead a red ball through a black and white maze.  There are different levels of difficulty within the App that you can adjust.  Mazeball is great for tracking for higher level kids and for practicing more advanced touch screen skills

15., 16., & 17.  Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, and Five Little Monkeys are creative expansion of these favorite children's songs.  These Apps are  very interactive to build language and cause effect.  Highly engaging movement, colors, and simple visual display make them more accessible to kids with visual limitations.   These Apps encourage imitation of sounds and song, as well as visual attention skills. 

18.  Lightbox (Premium) turns your Android device into a Lightbox! 

Need to Kid Proof Your Android Debice?  Here are two apps that do just that! 

19.  Kids Place with Child Lock  Childproof any app just by adding the ones kids use on your device to Kids Place. The custom launcher will display only parent-authorized apps. Use the Child Lock feature to protect your data and the Toddler Lock setting to enforce locking for apps launched from Kids Place. Other settings let you disable wireless signals as well as block or allow incoming calls while the Kids Place app is running.

20.  KinderTube is a kid-friendly video app that embeds links to over 100 per-screened You Tube videos for kids, so you don't have to worry about them seeing inappropriate content if left to explore unsupervised.  

When you link to Amazon's Android App Store through SNEAK, you support our blog and get cool Apps with no extra cost to you!

What cool Android Apps are you using with your child?


The Trabasack Helps Your iPad Stay Put!

Buy the Trabasack Curve Connect on Amazon!
This is a clever product and when I saw it, I immediately thought of the many wheelchair lap trays I have outfitted with tons of Velcro strips to get toys and tech to stay put!  I think this smart little lap desk/carrying case is a great alternative for some kids who need their materials anchored for access!  The Trabasack (sometimes referred to as a "buggy tray") comes in four versions: Trabasack Curve,  Trabasack Curve ConnectTrabasack Mini , and Trabasack Mini Connect .  "Connect" versions are covered with a material that feels and acts like the soft side of Velcro. To anchor toys, games, tech, or anything else, you would simply put the hook side of a Velcro tab on the item.  You may need more Velcro on the item depending on its size and weight.  The Trabasack also acts as a carrying case so yo can ensure it is always with the child, toting anything he needs to work and play!  The Trabasack has great potential as a communication board as well, with handy storage for all your PCS right inside your Trabasack,  Thanks to Viviane on Thinking Outside the Light-box for mentioning this cool new tool!  if you buy your Trabasack through this link, you can support our blog at the same time, with no extra cost to you!  Thanks for your support and I welcome your input on this product!

Some Other Great Links About the Trabasack:
Switch Mounting with The Trabasack
YouTube Videos about The Trabasack


The Debate Over BPA & Some Cool Products to Keep Kids Safe



The National Children's Study , addressing the debate over the potential health hazards of BPA  and other factors in our environment on childhood development, is officially underway!  This study will focus on correlations between childhood developmental delays, behavioral issues, and disease, and the presence of toxins in our environment.  Many believe that toxins, such as BPA, found in many products that our children consume daily, can lead to negative developmental and health impacts.  The goal of this study is to lean further insight into this issue as it pertains to humans (not animals, as in previous studies).  Visit The National Children's Study for detailed information about the study, and to receive email updates.  

ESP  (Essential Safe Products)is a great source of BPA-free products for babies and kids of all ages. Each product is tested before it is placed on their site, assuring no traces of BPA or other toxins.  Check out the products on their site! I use many of these myself, and I have found a few products at The Container Store.  Not high-tech but still great technology!

You can stay informed on this issue and the results of this study by subscribing to  email updates from The National Children's Study.  


iBooks 2 Now Available To Download -- AppAdvice

What amazing applications for our kids with special needs! I see tons of possibilities in this from parent handouts and guides to adapted books!  So exciting!

iBooks 2 Now Available To Download -- AppAdvice

iTunes U App Announced — For Both Students and Teachers

So cool!  I wish they would have had this when I was in high school and college! Would have made reading the tiny print materials a lot easier!

iTunes U App Announced — For Both Students and Teachers


Check Out the New Pages on SNEAK!

I recently added two new, simple starter pages to SNEAK that I wanted to let everyone know about!  The first, "Submit Your App", is a contact page where I hope developers will contact me about showcasing new apps and tech on SNEAK.  The second, "SNEAK Freestyle", is a section where I hope my readers will spark up a conversation of their own by asking me questions, starting debates, or just venting.  I hope these new features are helpful and that you are all patient with me as I explore this new realm of web design and aim to improve on them little by little!

One Place for Special Needs: App List & More

I love this site so much that I had to share it!  One Place for Special Needs not only hosts an extensive, frequently updated list of apps related to special needs, all organized into detailed categories, but also shares tons of other relevant info for families and professionals!  You can view most of the content without registering, but when you register (free and easy), you can get targeted email updates on special needs events in your area, participate in discussions, and more!  Keeping up with special needs related info can be challenging for parents and pros alike!  I think that this site is a GREAT first step to introducing parents and new professionals to how they can stay in the know on great info to help their kids!  I can't wait to explore this site more!


More Great Webinars on Apps and the iPad!

Closing the Gap is offering some great, entry level Webinars on the iPad and Apps for special needs.  I think these would be awesome for therapists just getting onto the iPad scene, and also parents looking for some structured, therapeutically relevant information.  They do cost some money, but it isn't much, and pros can get continuing education credit for participating!  Closing the Gap offers new Webinars often so check back regularly.  :)


Funding Resources to Get iPads to Kids with Special Needs

Money doesn't grow on trees, but it certainly grows from the hearts of people who care about kids with special needs!  Know a child with special needs who would benefit from an iPad or iPhone but the family just can't work it into the budget?  Here is a list of some great places to look for financial assistance for these kids and their families. 

I will update this list as I come across new links.  Do you know of a resource I missed? Feel free to add it in the comments section below this post! :)

Different Iz Good  is a great site and a great blog for many reasons!  They not on,y offer their own grants for iPads and iPhones, but also provide links to other sources who do.!

Loud Mommy Is another great blog that offers grants for iPads to children on the Autism Spectrum.  They are currently fundraising and will offer a new round of grantsstarting April, 2012. 

iTaalk.org spotlights funding sources on their Tuesday's Treasures Blog weekly, including sources of iPad grants. Although they recently closed their own iPad grant campaign, they offer a wide array of funding resource links on their site under Resources.  

Babbies with iPads also offers grants to qualified applicants and their site shares great tips and other resources!

The Kaufman Center in Michigan also posted a great PDF with some awesome sources of funding for kids with special needs.  This list is quite comprehensive and includes resources for many other equipment and service needs, including medicine, therapy, and technology.  

Check back often for updates!



Carly's Voice Provides Amazing Insight into Autism

 One of my therapy moms shared this amazing video (thanks Rebecca!)!  This is a must see for anyone who has been touched by a child with Autism or other devastating developmental challenges.

Click here to watch a video clip of Carly on 20/20's Medical Mysteries.  

This amazing young girl shares her thoughts with the world on her very own blog, Carly's Voice.


The GSF is Giving Away 50 iPads in 50 Weeks!

The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing global awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the #1 genetic killer of young children, accelerating research focused on ending this cruel disease, and supporting families impacted by SMA and other life-altering conditions. theGSF is an all volunteer organization, meaning 100% of your donation goes toward fulfilling our mission.

This awesome foundation is not only working hard on a free AAC App, "Say Hi", but they are also heading Project Mariposa to help get 50 iPads into the lives of 50 kids in need.   Check out Project Mariposa for your child, or a child you know that could benefit from this technology!  Keep up to date about theGSF's new App on the horizon, Say Hi, by visiting their site and checking with SNEAK regularly.  You can also help keep this cause and its foundation alive by making a donation to theGSF.  



Custom Boards App: Boardmaker for iPad? Well not exactly...

Get Custom Boards in the App Store!
Custom Boards- Premium - Smarty Ears

Most likely, all of you use or have used Boardmaker to create communication boards and other visual supports for your kids.  Mayer-Johnson and the community of Boardmaker users have even created platforms for sharing resources to help professionals and parents create materials with Boardmaker quickly and easily, such as Boardmaker Share and the Speaking of Speech Materials Exchange.  BUT, Mayer-Johnson has not yet released a mobile solution to fulfill our visual support making needs!  I like to think of Custom Boards as the cousin (twice removed I suppose) of Boardmaker.  While Custom Boards doesn’t yet offer the editing power we see in Boardmaker, it is a smart little App that makes creating visual supports on the fly a breeze.   

Things I Love About Custom Boards:
·       Simple, easy to use app design
·       An extensive library of Smarty Symbols and the ability to use photos from your iPad
·       Ability to save boards to user folders keeps you organized and makes finding saved boards easier
·       Printed boards are well formatted
·       Extensive template library that allows you to create tons of materials easily
·       A Lite version in the App Store, and tutorial and demo videos allow users to try before they buy
·       A cost effective solution (in comparison to Boardmaker) for parents to create boards at home

My Wish List for Custom Boards:
·       I hope they fix the Email function as it isn’t working on my version
·       Ability to change the font type, size, and color
·       Ability to resize and combine symbols within cells
·       Being able to search and add Google Images from within the App would be really cool J

Overall, I think this is a great App for creating visuals on the go and I really love the price in comparison with Boardmaker, making this a nice solution for families to create visuals at home.  It is important to note that you do need to have air printing abilities to print these boards from your iPad, otherwise, you will need to email them to yourself and print them from a computer.  I know that many professionals and parents who try this App may experience some longing for the PCS library found in Boardmaker products; however, I encourage everyone to open their symbol minds and try something new! J Download Custom Boards now to try it for yourself!

What do you think of Custom Boards and the Smarty Symbols Library?


Want the Skinny on Free Apps?


Here is a great FREE resource to help you stay in the loop about free apps!  It is updated daily and you can even have alerts emailed to your inbox!




iBallz: A Sleeker Way to Protect Your iPad

A quick follow up to a post I did on great rugged cases to kid-proof your techAppadvice recently posted a review of iBallz, a quirky, yet sleek and durable solution to protect your iPad from impact and liquids.  I have been holding off on buying a case of my own for my iPad because I split the use of my iPad between work and personal and I certainly didn't think a rugged case like the iAdapter would fit in my purse!  I think these quirky little spheres may just be my perfect solution!  Check out the AppAdvice review and get iBallz for your iPad on Amazon!



Apple Safari "Reader" Button

Some of you savvy iOS users might have noticed something new hanging out in your URL box these days.  I'm a bit slow when it comes to things of the visual nature so it took me some time but a few weeks ago I noticed that every now and then, a small grey "Reader" button will pop up in the URL box of my Safari Browser and what happens when I click on it is music to my eyes!  

The Reader function translates the text of the open web page into a text only screen that pops up with options to change the text size.  It also creates a clean, text-only (i.e., no fancy web page backgrounds etc...) platform upon which to use the VoiceOver or Speak Selection feature to read the text aloud.  You can also share this text-only "article".

This tool is very useful for me as a visually impaired reader, however, most of my current students are unable to read so I have not been able to try it in the clinical setting.  This feature has great potential for literate students with visual impairments, and is also a nice way for professionals to create clean looking handouts to give to parents and colleagues in print or via email.

Your iPad Settings are Your Friends!

Using iPads with kids can be tricky, especially when it comes to keeping them out of functions where they can wreak havoc! At times, you may just need some safe-guards to keep kids away from unfiltered content (e.g., You Tube), or just keep them focused on the task at hand, rather than exploring other Apps and functions.  Advance recently shared a post on getting to know your iPad settings and how making a few easy changes can save you from disaster!  MacWorld also shared a post in October on the new accessibility settings on iOS5 (iPads with the most recent software update) which outline built in features that help children and adults with visual, hearing, and physical disabilities better access the iPad.

One setting change in the Accessibility settings of iOS5 that I have found handy is toggling the Zoom.  I noticed with my kids with motor challenges that they often lean on the iPad screen a bit with their hands or fingers, or some with better motor skills may double tap the screen.  These gestures make the screen zoom-by turning the Zoom off when working with these kids, I saved some redirection time.

Being visually impaired, I LOVE the Accessibility features of the iPad and I recently stumbled across one that I didn't notice before.  Check out my next post to learn about the Reader function in Safari :)  


ATIA 2012 Conference for Parents & Pros

I'm excited to attend the 2012 ATIA Conference in Orlando in a few weeks!  If any of you are going and would like to meet up, please let me know!  I would love to network, discuss, collaborate, and chat with friends, parents, colleagues, and strangers :) Shoot me an email, post a comment here, ,or Facebook me if you want to connect!

For those of you who aren't yet registered, it isn't too late!  And don't forget, you can always enjoy the exhibit hall, full of products, giveaways, demos, and more, free of charge.  Check out the link below for more info on ATIA and how to enjoy the exhibits for FREE!

ATIA Free Exhibit Hall and Conference Info

Speak for Yourself App, a Great Blog Post & Video from A Parent's Perspective

A few weeks ago I posted about a new AAC App called Speak for Yourself and I was thrilled to come across a blog post on Uncommon Sense showcasing how one mom is using this great App with her special needs child.  The post is insightful and informative and it also includes some great video!  You have to check it out! :)

Switch Accessible Apps from Inclusive Technology

Great News!  Inclusive Technology, the folks who brought us one of the best free, switch activity websites on the web, Help Kidz Learn, is now offering 5 Apps for download in the Apple App Store!  Even Better News!  4 of the 5 have switch access!  You heard me, there are finally some cause-effect, play-based apps with switch accessibility on the iPad!  I haven’t had a chance to check these out yet but I wanted to share them because I couldn’t’ contain my excitement! I will give each a closer look and follow-up in a later post, but for now, here are the fab 5 for your reviewing pleasure.  Let us know what you think!

Purchase these Apps in the App Store  through the links below to 
Support SNEAK OTB at the same time :)
Hidden Grid - Inclusive Technology Ltd

Hidden Grid
Peeping Musicians
Aunty Maggie's Recipe 
Five Sharks Swimming
Smarty Pants