Giving Your Toys a Makeover!

I just read a great blog post form Little Stories and it brought to mind something I stress often when working with families of children with special needs:  Don't underestimate the power of an organized play environment!

Don't get me wrong, unstructured play filled with creativity and freedom is crucial to the development of all children.  However, most of us don't work or play our best when we are surrounded by confusing clutter.  Reducing clutter, rotating toys often, and categorizing toys according to their purpose can help children in so many ways.  I have witnessed first-hand the type of magic a well-maintined play area can create!

  • Increased attention
  • Reduced hyperactivity
  • Improved interaction and social skills
  • Expanded language comprehension
  • More speech output
  • Improvements in pretend play

The list goes on!

Check out some details on the how's and why's of establishing a toy routine for your child with special needs at Little Stories.

How do you set up play time magic for your child with special needs?


Switch Adapted Wii Controller

Gimp Gear is bringing video games to kids (and adults) with special needs through their switch adapted, NintendoWii controller.  Check out more here, including demonstration videos!  This controller is mounted to a hat and controls the Wii through head movements.  For users who have some use of their arms, you can also holster this controller to the arm to activate games through large arms movements.  The Gimp Gear Switch adapted Wii controller is available for purchase through EnableMart.


Must Have Books for Parenting Special Needs

Don't get me wrong, I love the Internet. But sometimes, you just need a little more depth when you're trying to find important answers.  Even with this vast web of knowledge, I still look to books to help me in my practice and to give me resources for the families I serve.  I LOVE that many of the resource books that tackle common difficulties in parenting children with special needs come in electronic book format too!  Check out these great books and eBooks on a variety of topics, from dealing with the stress of parenting a special needs child to feeding a picky eater.  

Find Great Books for Special Needs Here

What books are you reading?

Check out SNEAK's Pinboards on Pinterest!

Want to find crafty ideas to make your own assistive technology solutions?  How about ways to adapt play for your child with special needs?  You can find these tips and more, shared by SNEAK, via the colorful, fun, and visually easy interface of Pinterest!  Here's how!

Check out SNEAK's Pinboards

Follow SNEAK on Pinterest
Follow Me on Pinterest

 and Repin your favorites!

Happy Pinning!


Apple iOS6 "guided access" allows parents to lock kids into apps

This was shared by Jordan Sadler slp, of iPad Apps and Info for Special Kids via The Verge

Apple just unveiled a new feature for the next iOS update (iOS6) which will let parents, teachers, and others "lock" kids into certain apps by disabling the home button.    Read more here!  Could be pretty handy for our little ones with special needs!

What do you guys think?

"Flux" & "Flick" Help Visually Impaired Kids Access Their Favorite Tunes

Clipart images by Mealonheadz Illustrating
Read Terms of Use Here
So you all know that I am visually impaired, one fact that makes me LOVE these two apps!  I am also a recreational runner (which you may not have known :), a second reason why I LOVE these two apps!  But the most important reason why I LOVE these apps is that they provide alternative access to music for children with visual impairment and blindness by turning the touchscreen of mobile devices (e.g., iPhone, iPod, iPad) into an "eyes free" control panel.   Originally designed for those who need to control their iTunes playlist while at the gym or pounding the pavement, these two apps are a handy tool for kids who love to enjoy their favorite songs on their iDevices but struggle to access (visually and/or motorically) the touch screen to change tracks and manage other controls.     

FluxTunes - Quokka Studios Pty Ltd
Flux Tunes controls music  playback on all iDevices with customizable gestures executed anywhere on the touchscreen.  For example, a user could set the following functions in Flux Tunes to change how music on the device is accessed:
- Tap to pause/restart
- Slide left and right to change tracks
- Slide up and down to adjust volume
- Slide two fingers left or right to change playlists
- Slide two fingers up to play music from your whole library

Check out FluxTunes in action in this video demo.
Clipart images by Mealonheadz Illustrating
Read Terms of Use Her

FlickTunes Music Player
FlickTunes Music Player — Gesture Controls for Car & Gym - SoGeeky Software
Flick Tunes offers the same, customizable gesture options seen in Flux Tunes, with additional focus on the clarity and contrast of the visual display for those users who have residual sight, but need less clutter and a larger, bolder display. With Flick Tunes, you can choose your own font, orientation, gestures, default playlist and more! Flick Tunes offers 15 gestures, 40+ actions, and more than 25 settings.

Check out FlickTunes in action in this video demo.

Have you tried these apps?  Tell us what you think!


App List for Kids With Hearing Loss

App Advice recently shared a concise app list focused on helping children and adults with hearing loss.  Definitely not a comprehensive list but a good start!  Here are a few that I like to use, specifically targeted to younger kids.  Let's grow this list with your input!  Be sure you suggest your favorite apps in the comments below :)

Old MacDonald  by The Royal Institute for  Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC)

Old MacDonald for iPad - Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind ChildrenThis app is the first in a planned series of apps (Songs for Listening and language) from the RIDBC developed to encourage listening and language skills in children with hearing impairment.  The RIDBC also has a signing app (RIDBC Auslan Tutor-Key Signs for iPad).

Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy (iStorytime)  by zuuka incorporated
Danny The Dragon Meets Jimmy - HD Kids Book - zuuka incorporated
Is the first (and only, to my knowledge) children's eBook app that includes a "sign to me" function that will display the language of the book in ASL next to the pictures.  It is pretty cool and I hope they come up with more just like it soon!

Interactive Touch Books
Interactive Touch Books - for Kids - Interactive Touch, Inc.
A great web resource with a free companion app that allows ANYONE to create and publish interactive children's books that can be read on the iPad.  Included in the Interactive Touch Books Bookstore are stories from Rosemary Sanford with embedded ASL videos that sign along with each story.  Check out her titles on Technology in (Spl) Education (a great blog post outlining her path to developing signing stories and details on her stories)  Note:  The Interactive Touch Books app is free from the App Store,  Once you have the App, you can purchase books form the Interactive Touch Books Bookstore

What apps are you using with your hearing impaired child?