What's in a name?

blogEntryThumbnailOn March 6, 2014, my wife and I welcomed our first child, Levi James Sailers, into this world. Since his birth, we have been asked about his name. People have speculated that Levi was named after Matthew McConaughey’s son, or that his name was picked from the bible. Although I’m sure that Levi McConaughey is a great kid, and Levi is a biblical name, we selected his name from another place.

Levi was named after a child I worked with in Tucson, AZ during the summer of 2001. At that time, I was a research assistant in a study at Wings on Words preschool, and one of my participants was named Levi. He had several speech sound errors that made him difficult to understand. He reminded me of myself when I was his age because I had similar difficulties. Throughout the 4-6 weeks of the study, I watched Levi improve his speech and language skills.

One day toward the end of the study, the preschool’s speech-language pathologist (SLP) asked me to watch Levi practice his speech sounds. He accurately produced his speech sounds in words, one flashcard after another. I was floored by his progress. Then, after the study had completed, I returned to the preschool to do paperwork. I walked through Levi’s class, and he ran up to me. His teacher was nearby and she told him that I would not be seeing him. Our time together was over. Immediately, he ran into the corner and cried. I went over to console him and to tell him how much he meant to me. As I was talking to him, I thought about how much he really touched me, and how speech-language pathology was a career that I wanted to pursue. So, without any hesitation, I went on to become an SLP.

Over the years of being an SLP, I thought about Levi and how much I liked the name. So, when it came time for my wife and I to name our son, I strongly encouraged the name, Levi. After some convincing with a story similar to the one here, my wife agreed with the caveat that she gets to pick our second child’s name. And she repeatedly said that she wanted it in writing, so her wish is my command. :-)

I just wish I would have stayed in touch with Levi from Wings on Words, as it would have been cool to see him grow up and to tell him how I named my son after him. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Oh well. At least I will always be reminded of him by my first born child, who my wife and I named Levi.

2014 CSHA District 9 Achievement Award

blogEntryThumbnailAt the 2014 California Speech-Language and Hearing (CSHA) Convention in San Francisco, CA, I was awarded an achievement award by District 9. I was fortunate to have my sister and mom attend the ceremony. My mom pleasantly surprised me by capturing my acceptance speech on video. The video allows me to share the speech with friends, family, and colleagues who could not attend.


The free version of LinguaPix is now available

Free version of LinguaPix in iPad

Expressive Solutions LLC is pleased to announce that the free version of LinguaPix is now available for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/linguapix/id694730835?mt=8&at=10lcso. LinguaPix is an engaging iPad app for individuals to practice expressive language skills in three activities: Flashcards, Matching, and Pick or Spin. In the activities, users practice naming, describing, formulating sentences, and more. The free version of LinguaPix includes the Health and Safety deck, which has 77 cards with real photographs depicting nouns and verbs. LinguaPix has the following 14 additional decks available as in-app purchases: Animals, Around the House, Body Parts, Clothing, Cooking and Cleaning, Food and Drink (a-m), Food and Drink (n-z), Hygiene and Personal Care, Occupations and People, School, Sports and Recreation, Tools, Toys and Games, and Travel and Transportation. Overall, LinguaPix has 15 decks with an average of 70 cards per deck and a total of 1,035 cards.

If you like LinguaPix, please rate and review it on the iTunes App Store.

LinguaPix - Full was released


My company, Expressive Solutions LLC, is pleased to announce the release of LinguaPix - Full for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/linguapix-full/id701111984?mt=8. LinguaPix - Full is an engaging iPad app for individuals to practice expressive language skills in three activities: Flashcards, Matching, and Pick or Spin. In the activities, users practice naming, describing, formulating sentences, and more. Users interact with real photos from 1 or more of the 15 decks in categories such as Health and Safety, Toys and Games, and Tools.

Device Requirements
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 6.0 or higher
* 95.4 MB

Pricing and Availability
LinguaPix - Full 1.0.0 is available on the iTunes App Store in the Education category for an introductory price of $29.99 (USD).

For more information, visit the LinguaPix page at http://expressive-solutions.com/linguapix/.

Introduction to LinguaPix

blogEntryThumbnailCheck out this introductory video for LinguaPix, my company’s upcoming iPad app for Expressive Language.

The introductory video provides an overview of LinguaPix, including how to get started with adding a user and implementing the user in the Flashcards activity. In the Flashcards activity, you will learn how to navigate the tasks (Say It, Repeat It, Expand It, Describe It) and features.

Please note that we're hoping to release LinguaPix around the time of the 2013 ASHA Convention, which is scheduled for Nov. 14 - 16.


LinguaPix - Upcoming expressive language app

blogEntryThumbnailMy company, Expressive Solutions, and I have been working hard for the last several months on an expressive language app we're calling LinguaPix. We are currently in the final testing phase in preparation of submitting the app to the iOS App Store. To learn more about LinguaPix, check out the updated website page, which has information and screenshots to get you up-to-speed on our exciting new app!


Slope unboxing

blogEntryThumbnailAfter a long wait, I finally received the Slope, an iPad stand that I purchased on Kickstarter. In the following video, I captured my wife, Kelly, unboxing the Slope for use with an iPad. My hope is that you’ll have some laughs as you learn a little about this cool, new iPad stand.


Summer speech for little Eric

Image from the US Air Force

My mom was reading this blog post for expanding language on holiday, when she got the idea to email a story about how I practiced speech as a little guy. She shared the following with me:

I read this and remembered how we seized the opportunity to work on your speech while on vacation. The summer after you turned 4 years old, your speech therapist wanted us to practice your speech. To maintain the “f” sound that you had learned during the school year, we practiced it as we drove up the California coast to Monterey. You really liked firefighters and firetrucks, so I created flashcards for those words and others. I had the cards prepared in advance for the coastal trip, and we brought markers, too.

In the car, I sat in the backseat with you so that we could practice your words. I would show you a card and ask you to say the word. Once you repeated a word, you were allowed to draw a picture of it. The speech therapist had said, “First you say it, then you draw it!” You loved drawing pictures, so that helped motivate you to practice your sounds.

As we were driving along the beautiful coast, hard at work practicing in the back seat, the traffic on the freeway suddenly started to slow down. Upon looking up, we saw thick clouds of grey smoke, and several policemen standing in front of a blockade. The traffic came to a stop. A policeman approached our car and told us that we needed to get off the freeway due to a severe fire ahead. It looked like our trip to Monterey had hit an unexpected detour.

We exited the freeway and decided to stop off at a hotel for the night since it was unlikely we would be able to travel any further. The front desk clerk at the hotel informed us that firefighters working in the area would be using part of the hotel to take breaks between shifts. Even though the hotel would be busy and a bit noisy, we said that was fine and we went to our room.

Once we arrived in our room and looked out the window, I could tell this would be a great opportunity for you to gain some speech practice with real life images. We could see all kinds of “f” sounds right in front of us: firefighters walking around, fire trucks in the parking lot, and flames in the distance.

Keeping in mind what the therapist said, “First you say it, then you draw it,” the unexpected detour of the fire that day led to more valuable practice and quality time with you.

Shortly after I read my mom’s email, I contacted her to ask if I could use the story in a blog post. I thought the story was great and I also felt that SLPs and parents would be interested in reading it. In this age of technology, when parents can easily be overwhelmed by thoughts of how to help their children effectively practice speech, this story offers a reminder that even the simplest of activities can make a big difference.

ArtikPix 2.5 Update

blogEntryThumbnailArtikPix and ArtikPix - Full version 2.5 were released today as free updates. Here's a list of the new features:
  • Deck sharing feature for users with all of the decks. If you have the full version or all of the decks in the free version of ArtikPix, you can now share custom decks via email attachment or iTunes File Sharing.
  • Bug fixes related to the Create module
  • If you like the new features, please leave a comment on the iOS App Store listing for ArtikPix. If you have feedback, please email support@expressive-solutions.com.
Below is a video tutorial showing how easy it is to share custom decks in ArtikPix. Note that when sharing a custom deck, the deck can be accessed on any iOS device (e.g., iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) that has ArtikPix with all of the decks. After a little bit of experience with the ArtikPix sharing feature, you will realize the possibilities of sharing a custom deck to colleagues, parents, and even among your own iOS devices.


Mr. Potato Head app tops the list of things I recently learned

blogEntryThumbnailAfter finishing a round of trainings in May with a two-day stint in New York and two Ablenet webinars, I have thought about what I learned. Here are just a few things gleaned from the preparation and audience participation:
  • There’s a visual timer in the built-in iPad Clock app
  • Books made in the Book Creator iPad app are best viewed in the iBooks app
  • In the built-in Photos iOS app, re-order an image/video thumbnail by tapping the Edit button, then dragging the thumbnail to a desirable location.
But, above all, the coolest thing I learned about was the Mr. Potato Head iOS app. It’s a free universal app (with a $.99 in-app purchase for removing ads) that allows you to choose a theme and a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head. It is so neat! You get to drag and drop the body parts, which almost seems easier than interacting with a traditional Mr. Potato Head. And the best part, in my humble opinion, is that you’ll never lose another Mr. Potato Head piece ever again! To learn more, check out the video below from CrazyMikesapps.