May 2013

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
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.


Story app

blogEntryThumbnailYesterday, Disney announced a new iPhone app called Story. Story is a free storytelling app that allows you to add text and a theme to a collection of your photos and/or videos. After you’re done with your story, you can share it via email or Facebook. The recipient of your story is then able to view it on the app’s website.

I like the Story app because it has a clean design and is easy to use. However, I do have a few requests to make the app even better for everyone (including individuals with special needs):
  • iPad version
  • Record audio
  • Select text to speak with highlighting
  • VoiceOver accessibility for the in-app help and images in stories


iPad Secrets app

blogEntryThumbnail Last week, I posted about training beginning iPad users and creating a tutorial for them. Shortly after posting, one of my blog subscribers emailed me about an app, iPad Secrets ($.99), which has tips and tricks for using the iPad. Well, I got a chance to download the app, and I have to say that it provides a lot of great information in an easy to understand manner. I liked the app so much that I’m planning to use it as part of trainings next week in New York. Thank you to Paula M. for suggesting this app to me!

iPad Secrets screenshot

What Causes Speech Disorders in Children?

blogEntryThumbnailThe following is a guest post from Erica L. Fener, Ph.D. at Progressus Therapy.

All children go through periods where their speech is not perfect. That's true of any skill as it's acquired and then perfected. However, concern about a true speech disorder in your child is warranted. What causes childhood speech disorders and how can they be remedied?

Environmental reasons:
  • Lack of proper speech models
If children are around people who do not model appropriate speech, they won't learn how to speak properly. For example, children whose parents use "baby talk" for too long often don’t know how to speak properly.

Remedy: As a child grows, the speech patterns he or she hears should mature also so that the child learns to mimic and then fully understand language and appropriate pronunciation.
  • Too little time spent in conversation with older children and adults
From two to five years old, most children chatter nonstop if given the chance. This is actually an important part of their speech development. If they are not allowed to speak freely or if language is discouraged in some way, speech disorders may result. 

Remedy: While good socialization skills necessitate children being quiet at times, parents should allow children to engage in conversation as much as possible, for full speech development. These conversations also provide great opportunities for adults to appropriately model proper speech.

Physical or developmental reasons
  • Structural abnormalities
If a child cannot hear properly or has structural abnormalities in the mouth or throat that affect speech, such as cleft palate, speech does not develop normally.

Remedy: Surgery and/or use of assistive devices can restore hearing and speech capabilities, so that speech can develop normally. For example, young children often have frequent ear infections and buildup of fluid in the ears, making it difficult or impossible to hear others’ language so that it can be imitated correctly. Surgically implanting ear tubes can resolve fluid buildup, so that hearing is possible. Similarly, correcting a cleft palate makes normal speech development possible.
  • Developmental language and speech disorders
Learning disabilities, such as developmental speech and language disorder, may cause children to have difficulty with or be incapable of producing speech, communicating through spoken language, or understanding what other people are saying. Unfortunately, such developmental disorders often coincide with other learning disabilities such as dyslexia. It should be noted that this in no way reflects on a child's intelligence, and early intervention is key to remediation.

Remedy: As children get the assistance they need with their disabilities and acquire the tools they need to manage their disabilities, they learn to express themselves clearly, acquire new vocabulary and concepts as quickly as their peers do, and understand written and spoken direction so that learning proceeds at a normal pace.

Developmental disorders such as autism can cause speech delays to varying degrees. Children who are severely affected may speak very little, or when they do, may simply "echo" what someone else says using the same tone, inflection, etc., with no real understanding of what's being said. Special, intense language therapy is required.

Remedy: Early intervention is key to minimizing developmental speech delays.
  • Neurological disorders
Children with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy may have difficulty with speech because of brain damage that occurred during birth. This speech difficulty is not structural in nature and usually does not affect receptive language, only communicative language.

Remedy: Similar to an adult who has had a stroke, these children can learn to speak with varying degrees of success, or can use assistive devices that create speech for them, at their direction, much like the voice device famed physicist Stephen Hawking uses to communicate.

About the author:
Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy, a leader in connecting their candidates with school-based
SLP jobs and early intervention service jobs.

A Birthday Wish for Eric

blogEntryThumbnailI decided to hijack my husband’s blog today in order to wish him Happy Birthday! There have been many early mornings when I awake to him typing away about iPad accessories, a great app, or a teaching strategy he wants to share. So, this is my chance to share a little bit about Eric. (Though, I’m a night owl, so my crazy typing happens late at night!)

Eric is one of the most caring, dedicated people I have met in the field of education. The time and energy he devotes to helping colleagues through training, app development, and email support is admirable; even more than that, his love for making a difference in the lives of children with special needs is inspiring. I am always in awe of how he finds a way to help every child communicate and to have fun while working to overcome obstacles. As an educator, I know first hand how many challenges we face in our field today, and Eric embraces all of them with a positive attitude, a compassionate heart, and a remarkable spirit. I so often wonder how he manages to do it all and still put up with me ;) Honey, here’s to an incredible 33rd birthday and hope for many more happy days to come!

All my love, always


Photo of Eric and Kelly Sailers was captured at the 2012 ASHA Convention.

Gerty Makes a New Friend

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Gerty Makes a New Friend
Author: Written by Vicki Sailers, read by Eric Sailers
Story Description: After being scared at first, Gerty becomes friends with a spider.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, What, When, Why, How)
Voice Recording: Yes
Download Link

With the StoryPals app installed, tap the download link on your iPad. Then, choose to open this file in StoryPals. The story will be imported to My Stories on the Table of Contents screen in StoryPals, where you can open the story to view it. Note that you must have the StoryPals or StoryPals - Basic app on your iPad to view the story.

This story and all contents contained within are for non-commercial use only. The author of the story has provided permission for use in StoryPals for non-commercial means only. The author has also acknowledged that the story and contents within do not infringe upon the copyright or rights of a third party. If the content posted raises infringement issues, this post will be deleted.


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