iPad

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.
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LinguaPix - Full was released

iPad_Air_Horz_LinguaPix_Full_662w

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/.
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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.


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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!

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

Gerty

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Tutorials for built-in iPad apps

blogEntryThumbnailI have found myself doing more iPad workshops with users who consider themselves to be beginners. As a result, I spend time demonstrating basic use of iPad. I also show how to use the built-in iPad apps (e.g., Photos) for images and videos.

When teaching the built-in apps, I noticed that beginning users have difficulty grasping the concepts immediately, and they wish to have tutorials for future reference. So, I created tutorials for important features in the following built-in iPad apps: Safari, Camera, and Photos. See below for the tutorials:

Tutorials for built-in iPad apps



Note that the tutorials are for an iPad running iOS 6.
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Autism Awareness Month Giveaway: ArtikPix - Full or iTunes Gift Codes

blogEntryThumbnailEnter to win:

artikpix-icon 2 ArtikPix - Full
itunes10logo 2 iTunes gift codes

For Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to do something to benefit individuals with autism and special needs. After considering a few ideas, I decided to do a giveaway on my blog. Since ArtikPix - Full was recently updated, I thought I would include it as part of a giveaway. I also wanted anyone who previously purchased the app to be eligible, so I’m including an alternative option to win a $15 iTunes gift code. Consequently, three winners will have the opportunity to choose either a promo code for ArtikPix - Full or a $15 iTunes gift code.

To participate, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. You are eligible to receive multiple entries for completing the various tasks listed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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GoNow case review

blogEntryThumbnailI just received the GoNow case for iPad, made by Attainment Company, Inc. Below is information and a review of the product:

GoNow Case
  • Description - Lightweight, plastic constructed case with one handle, foam insert, and sound amplification.
  • Price - $59.00
  • Colors - Silver only (as far as I know)
  • Population - Children with special needs
  • Pros - Sleek design, fits device snugly, lightweight, portable, and non-skid pads
  • Cons - iPad must be secured in the case with screws, which limits the ability to easily move the iPad in and out of the case.
GoNow case
The GoNow case has an attractive, sleek design. External controls on the iPad are easily accessible with it inside the case. The GoNow case can easily fit into a bag or backpack for portability. It is made of lightweight plastic with a foam pad on the inside to act as a shock absorber. While Attainment Company, Inc. says in their promotional literature that the case “will help protect your iPad, it is not guaranteed to prevent damage.” I found from my use that the iPad seemed adequately protected, though not as well-protected as with cases made of EVA foam that I have used.

The GoNow case has a few unique features that may be appealing for some clientele. There’s an acoustic sound channel built into the case to amplify the sound of the iPad without using batteries. For a practitioner working in a noisy environment, this is a great feature. In my trials with the device, I noticed the amplified sound mostly when the iPad was at maximum volume. The difference in loudness seemed minimal when using the iPad in the case at 50% volume. The case also features a magnetic lock/unlock switch which allows the user to bypass the unlock screen on the device. While this is a useful feature, I had an issue with the magnet coming loose from the case when I removed the iPad. The switch could also pose a problem for students with sensory issues who may play with it. The case has a handle to help when transporting the device either in a classroom or from class to class, and non-skid pads which help the case to stay in place while in use. Additionally, there’s at least one hole for attaching a lanyard to the case if a student needs the case anchored around his/her neck.

For me, the GoNow case had one major drawback. I was really hoping that I could just slide the iPad in the case. In reading the product information, I saw that a small Phillips screwdriver is necessary to insert the iPad. This is unfortunate. I wish there was a way that I could quickly and easily put the iPad in the case without any tools. As a professional on-the-go who regularly needs to remove the iPad in order to use it with children requiring various solutions, the GoNow case poses some difficulty. In my opinion, the GoNow case is more useful for children - especially children with special needs who don’t need to remove the iPad from the protective case.

Overall, the GoNow case has some nice features that could work successfully for children with special needs. Unfortunately, it has limited use for me since I need to be able to easily move my iPad in and out of different cases when using a variety of products to work with children.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary case from Attainment Company, Inc.
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Communication board for a party

blogEntryThumbnailAt the transition center, we had a party before spring break. In order to provide an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) support for the nonverbal students, I created a party communication board using the Go Talk Now app for iPad. I used the communication board on an iPad, and I printed it out for staff and parents to use.

You’ll see below that the party communication board has 9 buttons comprising pronouns, verbs, comments, and requests. It also has core vocabulary buttons for greetings (e.g., Hi, How are you, Bye) via the exclamation point button. Consequently, the communication board is an AAC support for communicating a variety of language structures beyond simple labeling of objects like food.

Party communication board
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StoryPals free download - Monkey's Tail Tale

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Monkey’s Tail Tale
Author: Written by Brooke Folk, read by Eric Sailers
Story Description: Monkey and Mouse have an interesting chat about each other’s perspectives.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, What, Where, 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.

photo (3)

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To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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Tweet and greet video from the 2012 ASHA Conference

At the 2012 ASHA Conference, I participated in a “Tweet and Greet” hosted by Pediastaff and the #slpeeps. The “Tweet and Greet” involved a brief interview that was caught on video. I thought I would share my video, since it was recently posted by Heidi from Pediastaff.

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Disneyland materials

blogEntryThumbnailYesterday, I went to Disneyland with staff, parents, and students for a class field trip. During the trip, I distributed materials (for communication and learning) to the adults and I also used the materials with students. One adult asked me if the materials would be available somehow after the trip, in case she wanted them for future use. I said I could put them on my blog so that anybody involved in the trip (or anybody else interested) could have access.

The main item I used for augmentative communication at Disneyland was this communication board created in Proloquo2Go. I created the communication board for use on my iPad during the field trip, and to print it for everyone else to use it as a paper communication board. Since it was raining on the field trip, I provided sheet protectors to keep the paper boards dry.

Disneyland-communication-board

I also used a couple apps for Disneyland. One of the apps is called Disneyland Maps Free, which we used for determining our location in the park and deciding which direction to go for given rides. We also used it to talk about what rides we previously rode. The other app called Disneyland Explorer also helped us with navigating directions at the park, but it additionally had activities to interact with while we waited for things such as lunch. Among the activities, our favorite was the Haunted Mansion game, which required us to play a sequence of organ keys previously played by an invisible ghoul.

All in all, I think the materials were helpful in facilitating learning and communication for our students with disabilities. And I hope that anybody interested in using the materials for a future trip to Disneyland will also find them helpful.

*Disneyland photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee on flickr
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StoryPals free download - Lighter than Air

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Lighter than Air
Author: Written by Uncle Brooke, read by Kelly Sailers
Story Description: Tina eats sandwiches in hopes they’ll make her fly. But, flying is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, Where, 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.

Lighter than Air

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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Triple A for iPad - ASHA slideshow

Last week, I presented an iPad session at the ASHA convention in Atlanta, Georgia. I wanted to provide a .pdf version of my slideshow for anyone interested. See the embedded slideshow below. Note that there are some images and videos removed to maintain privacy for individuals.
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StoryPals free download - Bee the Difference

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Bee the Difference
Author: Written by Uncle Brooke, read by Eric and Kelly Sailers
Story Description: After a bad dream, Beeware wakes up to his sister laughing at him. Then, his sister, Beehappy, points out a lesson that Beeware has learned.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
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.

Bee the Difference

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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iPad mini vs. 3rd generation iPad

Yesterday, my pre-ordered iPad Mini was delivered to our house. I wasn’t sure how much I would like it and immediately wanted to compare it to my existing 3rd generation iPad. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the iPad mini stacked up to its bigger counterpart, particularly in terms of speed and performance. See below for a video of side-by-side tests with the two devices.
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StoryPals free download - Trick or Treat Safely

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Trick or Treat Safely
Author: Eric and Kelly Sailers
Story Description: Pete reminds Joey that they need to think about safety when trick or treating.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, What, Where, 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.

IMG_0667

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals - Basic is now available

blogEntryThumbnailStoryPals - Basic is now available on the App Store for $9.99. The difference between StoryPals and StoryPals - Basic is that the basic version does not have text-to-speech (aka synthesized speech) with word highlighting. Although stories in the basic version can be read aloud with recorded audio, they are not read using text-to-speech with word highlighting. Similarly, quiz questions and answer choices in the basic version are not read aloud with text-to-speech.

StoryPals - Basic is a lower cost version of the original StoryPals. Other than the difference in price and text-to-speech, StoryPals - Basic has all the same features as StoryPals. You can still configure the text size, text justification, animations, quiz answer choices, and a lot more. Plus, you can share stories among users of StoryPals and StoryPals - Basic. For example, if you own StoryPals - Basic and your friend owns StoryPals, you and your friend can share stories across the different versions of the app. How cool is that?
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StoryPals free download - Where's Sally?

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Where’s Sally?
Author: Eric Sailers (read by Bob Schulze)
Story Description: Jerry tries to find Sally during a game of chase.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
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.

IMG_0641

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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Apple iOS 6 update - considerations and issues for apps

blogEntryThumbnailOn September 19, 2012, Apple will have their iOS 6 update available via the desktop iTunes app, or over-the-air on iOS devices. The update is compatible with the iPhone 3GS and newer, iPad 2, iPad 3, and the fourth generation iPod touch. If you plan to update to iOS 6, be cautious about doing it immediately because your 3rd party apps could have issues. In many cases, developers need to update their apps to be compatible with iOS 6. If their apps are not updated for iOS 6 support, bugs and crashes can occur. The problem for developers, including myself, is that the iOS 6 gold master (final beta for testing) was released one week ago. This means that developers only had a week with the gold master and their apps to test, fix, submit, and receive Apple approval. Well, that can be quite difficult when the average app review time is currently 9 days!

For users, choosing to update to iOS 6 is appealing, but it’s important to think carefully about when to update. Like other people, I’m eager to get the great new features from Apple including Maps, Passbook, Guided Access, and more. But, if I wasn’t a developer and I had to do a presentation in the next week or therapy that required extensive iOS device use, I likely would wait at least a couple weeks to update to iOS 6. That way developers have a sufficient amount of time for Apple to approve app updates supporting iOS 6.

As an app developer, I have four apps that needed to be updated for iOS 6 support. StoryPals, ArtikPix, and ArtikPix - Full updates have been submitted to Apple and are currently waiting for review. And an update for PhonoPix - Full will be submitted in the coming days. The updates will resolve the following known issues in the existing versions of my apps running iOS 6:

StoryPals (On 9/20/12, Apple approved the update for iOS 6 support)
- Text-to-Speech does not play continuously in stories
- Taking/using photos cause a crash

ArtikPix/ArtikPix - Full/PhonoPix - Full (On 9/22/12, Apple approved the ArtikPix and ArtikPix - Full updates for iOS 6 support. On 10/5/12, The PhonoPix - Full update for iOS 6 support was approved by Apple.)
- Voice recording causes the apps to freeze
- Unnecessary comma in timestamps for scores
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StoryPals free download - The Lonely Fish

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: The Lonely Fish
Author: Miss Speechie
Story Description: This story is about a fish that cannot find friends. It incorporates adjectives and other vocabulary words. It uses basic sequencing to help with comprehension.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 5 (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
Voice Recording: No
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.

The Lonely Fish

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals free download - Starry Night

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Starry Night
Author: Joel Nash
Story Description: Doug was eager to see a shooting star using his telescope.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 6 (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
Voice Recording: No
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.

Starry Night

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals free download - Snorkeling Hare

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Snorkeling Hare
Author: Eric Sailers (read by Bob Schulze)
Story Description: Hare is snorkeling when he finds himself in need of help.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 6 (Who, What, Where, 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.

Snorkeling Hare

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals video tutorials

Below are StoryPals video tutorials that show how to comprehend, create, and share stories in the iPad app. The videos are fully accessible with captions that can be viewed in the YouTube players by clicking CC. You can also view the YouTube videos in HD and full-screen mode.





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StoryPals free download - Feeling Green

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Feeling Green
Author: Jessica Chase
Story Description: Nadia is a little girl who is singing in a talent show. She accidentally gets green paint on her nose before going on stage, but learns in the end that it's okay to make mistakes.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 10 (Who, What, 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.

Feeling Green

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals free download - The Great Magic Hat

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: The Great Magic Hat
Author: Joel Nash
Story Description: The story is about a magic baseball hat that a young boy, Sam, finds on the beach. He wishes for everyone to have fun everyday.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 6 (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
Voice Recording: No
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.

The Great Magic Hat

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals 1.1 update released

blogEntryThumbnailStoryPals 1.1 was updated and the price was reduced from $24.99 to $14.99 (through Sept. 8th) for Back to School. After receiving great feedback from users, one of the major additions in this update is the voice recording feature. In the Included Stories, professional voice recordings are read aloud via the play button, and text-to-speech (TTS) is accessed by tapping the TTS button on the player. In My Stories, recording your voice is more intuitive. Plus, your voice recording is shared when emailing your story or using iTunes File Sharing.

Here's a list of all the new features in the StoryPals 1.1 update:
  • Professional narrations added to Included Stories
  • Improved voice recording feature for My Stories
  • Increased volume for animation sounds
  • Improved word highlighting
  • Improved spacing in stories
  • Added configurable option for edit mode
  • Added configurable option for displaying recording first in stories. When this option is turned off, the TTS displays first in stories.
  • Multi-select feature of illustration elements when creating My Stories
  • Text to Speech pronunciation improvements for a few titles in the Included Stories
  • Voice recordings for My Stories are now shared via email attachment or iTunes File Sharing
  • Bug fixes
If you like these new features in StoryPals 1.1, please rate and review the app in iTunes.

For information on how to use StoryPals, please refer to the in-app help tutorial.
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StoryPals free download - Windsor Castle

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Windsor Castle
Author: Eric Sailers
Story Description: This is an informational text about Windsor Castle in England.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 8 (Who, What, Where, When, Why)
Voice Recording: No
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.

Windsor Castle

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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StoryPals free download - Gaming Friends

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: Gaming Friends
Author: Eric Sailers
Story Description: Doug finds a friend who likes the same game as him.
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 10 (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
Voice Recording: No
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.

Gaming Friends

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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Free story download for StoryPals

blogEntryThumbnailStory Title: A Surprise Party for Mouse
Author: Kelly Sailers
Story Description: Mouse's friends want to throw him a surprise party for his seventh birthday. But, how will they manage to surprise him?
Quiz: Yes
Quiz Questions: 11 (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How)
Voice Recording: No
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 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.

A Surprise Party for Mouse

To automatically receive additional free stories as they become available, please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address above in the right sidebar.

To share your stories, email them to support@ericsailers.com and submit a request to share your stories by completing the following form: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFV4cnUzMmFxRXZYM2FkWUhkWnloakE6MQ#gid=0.
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20 tips for getting started with StoryPals

blogEntryThumbnail1. Read one of 24 included stories by tapping the title in the Table of Contents on the home screen.
2. Using the animation hints (hands), interact with the illustration.
3. Tap the play button to read the story with text-to-speech (TTS) and word highlighting.
4. Tap the Rec. button, then the red circle to record your voice reading the story. Next, play it back.
5. Swipe from right to left on the bottom of the right page to interact with the next story.
6. Tap the Quiz button then New Student to setup a student for quizzes.
7. Choose the student and/or the Sample Student, then tap Begin for the quiz.
8. Take the quiz by tapping each question, followed by an answer choice then the Next button.
9. Tap Done if you want to exit the quiz before it's finished. Tap Done again to return to the story.
10. Tap the Options (gears button), then Visual. Next, adjust the Story Text Size and turn Justified Story Text OFF.
11. Go back to the first level of Options, then tap Audio to turn TTS OFF or to change Voices.
12. Exit the Options and tap the Table of Contents (to the right of the Options button), then tap New Story.
13. Create a new story with an image (via tapping the Image button and choosing illustration elements), title, and story text.
14. Tap Quiz and follow the directions to create quiz questions.
15. After you're finished creating the quiz, tap Done.
16. If you know someone with StoryPals, tap the Options and Share Stories to email your new story and quiz.
17. Visit http://ericsailers.com/blog.html to install (for free) a shared story with quiz in StoryPals.
18. After the story has been imported, go to My Stories in the Table of Contents, and tap on the story's title.
19. Interact with the story and illustration, then take the quiz.
20. Tap the Help (question mark button) to learn about several other features in StoryPals.
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Eric Sailers LLC releases StoryPals for iPad

blogEntryThumbnailPress Release
StoryPals for iPad is a robust, fun-filled story comprehension application for children. StoryPals provides a user-friendly experience for children to practice listening and reading comprehension independently or in a small group. The app features reading supports and several configurable options that allow users to individualize the experience to meet a student’s specific needs.

San Diego, CA - July 3, 2012 - Eric Sailers LLC is pleased to announce the release of StoryPals for Apple iPad. StoryPals is an engaging story comprehension app with 24 original, whimsical stories designed to help children practice listening and reading comprehension. Each included story is accompanied by a 10 question quiz featuring WH questions. Utilizing colorful graphics with animations, the app is highly interactive and engaging. Bridget Gilormini, a speech-language pathologist, said, "It is exciting to see an app for comprehension come to the market created by professionals with the background and experience to understand literacy and language."

StoryPals includes a number of features that make it user-friendly for both children and educators. Children will love the humorous characters and animations as they interact with the story text in a variety of ways. StoryPals allows the user to customize the experience, so a child can read independently, record his/her voice, or listen to the story using the highest quality text-to-speech with word highlighting available. Quizzes can be modified to allow for multiple students to take a quiz in the same setting, and to alter question types and the number of answer choices. Best of all, scores are automatically collected, saved, and easily exported outside the app so tracking student progress is simple. Speech-language pathologist Jenna Rayburn says, "StoryPals will be a great benefit to SLP's in school settings. Reading comprehension skills are so important in elementary aged students and StoryPals collects data from the SLP point of view!"

But, what happens when your students read all of the included stories? StoryPals has you covered! StoryPals allows you to create your own stories and quizzes to further meet student needs. Choose from included illustrations, build your own original images using illustration elements, or add a photo. With StoryPals, you are encouraged to create and share stories with your pals. Easily build a story library targeting the specific comprehension skills your students need. Or, have students create their own stories. Anything you create will have the same built-in supports for listening and reading comprehension, and the ability to collect scores for tracking student progress. Meg Wilson, a special education teacher said, "I am very excited to share StoryPals with fellow teachers, it is a wonderful app!"

Device Requirements
- iPad
- Requires iOS 4.0 or higher
- 401 MB

Pricing and Availability
- StoryPals 1.0.1 is available on the iTunes App Store for a promotional price of $14.99 on the first day of sale, then $24.99 thereafter.
- English
- StoryPals download link

Eric Sailers LLC is a company owned and operated by Eric Sailers, who creates mobile applications for Apple’s platforms. StoryPals was co-authored by Eric Sailers, a speech-language pathologist, and his wife, Kelly Sailers, who is a language arts teacher. Eric Sailers worked six years in a school district as a speech-language pathologist and assistive technology specialist. Although Eric no longer works for a school district, he continues to help children with special needs via private therapy and his apps.
Copyright (C) 2012 Eric Sailers LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

For more information, visit the StoryPals website at http://ericsailers.com/storypals.html.

Contact
Eric Sailers
Owner, Eric Sailers LLC
619-881-7495
eric@ericsailers.com
Comments

Status of StoryPals

Recently, beta testing for StoryPals was completed. I really appreciate all the positive comments as well as constructive feedback received from beta testers. StoryPals will be a great story comprehension app thanks to feedback received during testing.

To help beta testers get started with StoryPals, I previously did a webinar on May 24th. I would like to now share the video recording below with everyone.

And in case you're wondering, StoryPals was submitted yesterday to Apple. When it's available on the iOS App Store, StoryPals will be offered at a TBD promotional price for the first day, then $24.99 thereafter. I'll provide more information around the time that the app is available.

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StoryPals announcement

I would like to announce my new app called StoryPals. StoryPals is a story comprehension app coming soon for iPad. Check out the video trailer below to get a first look. You can also learn more about StoryPals by visiting the website page at ericsailers.com/storypals.html.
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Unboxing of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover


This video is an unboxing of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. I purchased the Bluetooth keyboard cover from logitech.com for $99. The accessory provides protection to the iPad as well as a keyboard for typing. I think the keyboard works well, plus it conveniently attaches to the iPad. There isn't a need to carry the keyboard separately. So, I'm looking forward to using the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover, especially when I'm working away from home and my laptop.
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Interview with The Social Express

blogEntryThumbnailI am pleased to have Marc Zimmerman and his company The Social Express participate in an interview. The Social Express™ is engaging, educational software for children and young adults with social learning challenges. The software - available for iPad, Mac, and PC - is designed to teach users how to think about and manage social situations, helping them to develop meaningful social relationships and succeed in life. The iPad app for The Social Express™ is being offered at a promotional rate of $44.99 through the end of April, celebrating Autism Awareness month. That’s 50% off the introductory price of $89.99!

I asked Marc and his company to answer five questions regarding The Social Express™. Below are the questions that were answered:

What was your company's inspiration for creating The Social Express?
The founders Marc and Tina Zimmerman are parents of identical twin boys who were diagnosed 10 years ago with Autism. Teaching them social awareness has always been their #1 goal. Their inspiration came when a therapist introduced her laptop into therapy. The twins were very interested in the technology but the program was not holding their attention. That’s the day they chatted about leveraging technology with engaging content.

What kind of research was done to create the content in The Social Express?
According to the content director Mary Anne MacLellan, M.A., CCC-SLP, The Social Express™ is based on best practices and programs that feature cognitive behavioral techniques and visual strategies. The lessons presented in the software adhere to California State Board of Education Content Standards and the Common Core Standards. References incorporated in The Social Express™ include the following:

Buron, K.D., & Curtis, M. (2004). The Incredible 5 Point Scale: Assisting students with autism spectrum disorders in understanding social interactions and controlling their emotions. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Crooke, P., Hendrix, R., Rachman, J. (2007). Brief Report: Measuring the Effectiveness of Teaching Social Thinking® to Children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Gray, C. (2010). The new social story book: Revised and expanded 10th anniversary edition. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons Inc.

Gray, C. (1994). Comic Strip Conversations. Jenison, MI: Jenison Public Schools.

Myles, B.S., Trautman, M.L, Schelvan, R.L., (2004) The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.

Williams, M.S., & Shellenberger, S. (1994). “How does your engine run?” A leader’s guide to the alert program for self-regulation. Albuquerque, NM: TherapyWorks, Inc.-the Alert Program

Winner, M.G. (2005). Think Social! San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing Inc.

Winner, M.G. (2007). Thinking about YOU Thinking about ME. San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing Inc.

Winner, M.G. (2008). A Politically Incorrect Look at Evidence-Based Practices and Teaching Social Skills: A literature review and discussion. San Jose, CA: Think Social Publishing Inc.

Zins, J. (2004). Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does The Research Say? New York: Teacher’s College Press.

How did your team collaborate to create The Social Express?
There were over 20 people collaborating on this project. Skype, conference calls, and personal interaction is how the team stayed in touch.

How did The Social Express fill any kind of void in the app market?
In addition to using a cognitive behavioral approach, it has been stated that The Social Express is the highest quality production app made to date. The company exhausted it’s resources to present animation that meets Hollywood’s standards and content that would be effective in teaching people social-emotional skills.

Describe a success story using The Social Express with a child.
Mandy Nite, the creator of Welcome to Their World blog, shares encouraging results about her young daughter’s progress since working with The Social Express. Nite posted the following assessment on her blog: “This app has everything imaginable about social skills learning except Nite’s daughter, who will turn eight years old soon, has significant social skill problems, high functioning autism and ADHD.  Nite explains that after her daughter completed just half of The Social Express lessons, “She is starting to use what she learned in The Social Express in the real-world.”Nite continues, “I’m amazed everyday by the progress she’s made. She has even started to talk with other children one on one slowly with a little prompting and a few reminders of social skills but is getting the hang of it.”
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CUE Live 2012


I was honored to recently present at the CUE Conference as a spotlight speaker. During the conference on Friday, March 16th, I was asked to participate in a CUE Live interview with Mark Hammons. The video interview above includes a memorable experience using Proloquo2Go with one of my students, and my favorite apps for special needs with a mention of my app, ArtikPix. Check it out!
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CUE Conference

blogEntryThumbnailI’m delighted to be presenting at the CUE Conference as a spotlight speaker. The conference will be held March 15 - 17 in Palm Springs, CA. If you’re planning to attend the event, please come to one or more of my sessions below. Not only will you learn a lot about iOS apps and devices for special needs, but you could also win cool stuff!

My CUE Conference sessions:

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST
Implementing iOS apps for communication: ArtikPix, Proloquo2Go, and Pictello
Hilton Hotel, Rm. Tapestry

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM PST
iOS apps for AT
Hilton Hotel, Rm. Tapestry

Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM PST
iPad accessibility
Hilton Hotel, Rm. Tapestry
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Interview with the Speech Ladies

blogEntryThumbnailI am pleased to have Cindy (right in the photo) and Kristina (left in the photo) Young - a mother-daughter pair of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) otherwise known as the Speech Ladies - participate in an interview. I interviewed Cindy and Kristina to learn more about them and their interests in the field of speech-language pathology. Cindy has been an SLP for about 31 years and has worked in the schools with kids in preschool through high school, as well as nursing homes, private practice and teaching undergrad classes at a local university. This is Kristina's first year in the schools and she is in the middle of her clinical fellowship year (CFY) as an SLP. Cindy and Kristina also co-author a blog at http://thespeechladies.blogspot.com/, where they share their experiences and insights in the world of speech language pathology.

Without further ado, below you will find five interview questions that Cindy and Kristina answered:

1. Why did you decide to become SLPs?

Cindy: As with most college students, I went through several career choices before discovering Speech Language Pathology. I was encouraged by a friend to shadow a lady at our local hospital that was an SLP. I did and I was captivated by the clients she saw and the rapport that she had established with the clients and their families. She also told me that the hospital was not the only setting for an SLP, so I then observed a SLP in a school setting. I was totally hooked and knew I had finally found something where I felt I could make a difference in the lives of others.

Kristina: It took me awhile to come to that decision. In college I had many different majors, but ultimately I knew I wanted to go into a service profession and my mom suggested speech language pathology. At first I was hesitant because all I knew of her job was that it included a lot of paperwork! However, I took a couple of classes and really enjoyed what I was learning. I was sure that speech was for me when I was able to enroll in an undergrad clinic class that allowed us to do direct therapy with clients. Though I’m still not big on the paperwork, I love getting to interact with my clients! I was also drawn to the field because I knew that once I graduated there would be a variety of job options.

2. What are the strengths of you being SLPs as a mother-daughter pair?

Cindy: Kristina keeps me up on the latest technology and has encouraged me to incorporate technology in therapy. She has just begun her first job and is very excited about being an SLP. Her enthusiasm is contagious! It is great to have someone to discuss ideas and brainstorm various approaches.

Kristina: The biggest strength for me is that I have a fabulous source of information right at my fingertips! I am able to call my mom at anytime to ask how she would handle a certain situation, tips for getting a child to produce a difficult sound, or questions about paperwork. I have a wonderful CF supervisor, but it is nice to have someone else to bounce ideas off of especially since she has so much more experience than I do.

3. What are the challenges of you being SLPs as a mother-daughter pair?

Cindy: So far we have not encountered any challenges.

Kristina: So far I can’t think of any big challenges we have faced. I think it helps that we work in different school systems. My mother is always very respectful of my opinion and is encouraging if I want to try out something new or different. She reminds me that there is always “more than one way to skin a cat”!

4. What's your favorite population to work with and why?

Cindy: I love the young ones. I spend most of my day dealing with preschool speech and language issues.

Kristina: My favorite population to work with is Pre-School to 5th grade. I just love the little ones! I think they are my favorite because they get so excited about anything. If I walk in and say today we are going to do speech therapy standing up, they are like “WOOHOO!” It is easy to get them motivated about good speech and language.

5. What's your favorite technology to use with students and why?

Cindy: The iPad has been my favorite. The device is portable and so far appears pretty indestructible. It has lots of versatile and affordable apps and many are even free. And, best of all the children love it!

Kristina: Right now I am loving my iPad! There are so many versatile apps to try out and it is easy to carry with me from school to school. I have also started using the promethean board with some of my language kids. The interactive whiteboard gives them a chance to be very interactive during the lessons and I hope that helps the material really sink in.
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ArtikPix - Full Giveaway

blogEntryThumbnailTo coincide with my upcoming CSUN presentation, I’m doing an ArtikPix - Full giveaway for 3 promo codes, valued at $30 per code. ArtikPix - Full is a fun speech articulation app for iPhone and iPad.

Please complete the following two steps now to become eligible for the giveaway:
Winners will be selected on Wednesday, February 29 at 5 PM PST. Three names will be randomly chosen using the Names in a Hat app, then announced on my Facebook page.

CSUN Conference details:
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:40 AM PST
ArtikPix & PhonoPix on iPad for speech groups
Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, CA, Rm. Emma AB
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Typing test with iKeyboard


In the embedded video, I did an iPad typing test with the iKeyboard, an accessory designed for touch typing. I wanted to see how my speed and accuracy of typing with the iPad on-screen keyboard compared with that of the iKeyboard. So, I used the TapTyping app to do a speed test of typing on my iPad.

The results indicated that my typing accuracy was equivalent for the on-screen keyboard and iKeyboard, but my typing speed was 11 WPM slower with the iKeyboard. I think the slower typing rate with iKeyboard is due to me needing to get used to it, plus the plastic that covers the letter keys. The plastic is relatively rigid which requires hard presses that could slow down typing speed. If the plastic can be manufactured to be more flexible, I believe my typing speed would have increased. With that said, I think iKeyboard is a good step toward touch typing on the iPad.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary iKeyboard.
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Lasered Pics keyguards

blogEntryThumbnailLasered Pics is a company that specializes in creating keyguards for iPad AAC apps. The keyguards can be especially helpful for individuals with physical disabilities who demonstrate unintentional mis-hits during augmentative communication. Lasered Pics offers keyguards for several iPad AAC apps including Proloquo2Go, TouchChat, Tap Speak Choice, Sono Flex, Assistive Chat, Grace - Picture Exchange, MyTalk Tools Mobile, My First AAC, and many others. A majority of the keyguards are made of clear acrylic, and they have suction cups to attach to the iPad screen for given apps.

Lasered Pics provided me with a Proloquo2Go keyguard (retail price: $19.95) for the medium item size in landscape orientation. I’m intentionally mentioning the specifications because customers choose the item size, landscape orientation and other options when ordering on the Lasered Pics website. The company states that it’s important to choose the appropriate options when ordering a keyguard, otherwise there will be a delay in the ordering process. I’d like to add that choosing the appropriate options is also important for the user’s experience. If the keyguard specifications aren’t appropriate, physical access to the AAC app can be hindered rather than facilitated.

I personally tested the Lasered Pics keyguard designed for the latest 1.7 version of Proloquo2Go. Using the default factory settings in the app, I attached the keyguard to align with the medium sized buttons in landscape orientation. It was easy to achieve a firm suction to the device via the four suction cups. Plus, I liked how the home button on the device was covered by the keyguard, which is especially helpful to keep users from “accidentally” exiting the app. When accessing the items, I was easily able to tap them via the cutouts in addition to scrolling pages when necessary. I was also able to rest my hand on the keyguard and then touch an item, similar to the access manner of many users with physical disabilities. One thing I realized during testing was that it’s very important to accurately align the keyguard with the app’s buttons. At first I didn’t, so it made access much more difficult.

All in all, I liked the Lasered Pics keyguard because it’s a well made product and it’s very intuitive to use. There’s really no instructions necessary to use the keyguard. As I mentioned before, it’s just important to have an accurate alignment between the cutouts and the app button. If you want to learn more about the Lasered Pics keyguards, please visit the website.
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BubCap home button covers


I want to share the BubCap home button covers for iOS devices. A BubCap is like a rigid sticker that is placed over the home button so children (especially children with sensory needs) cannot accidentally exit an app. Although the BubCap protects the home button from children, adults are still able to press it for navigational purposes–though, my wife seemed to have a hard time with this.

The BubCap cover comes in a pack with three different rigidities based on the child’s age and the type of iOS device used. The company suggests that the regular BubCap is for toddlers with iPhone and iPod touch; the BubCap Ultra is for toddlers with iPad or older children with iPhone and iPod touch; finally, the BubCap Max is for older children with iPad. However, my preference is to use the BubCap Ultra on any iOS device. The BubCap Max feels too rigid even for an adult to press.

The BubCap works by peeling off the backing and then placing it on top of your iOS device home button. Once the BubCap has been adhered, let it sit for about 15 minutes before use. Then, you’re ready to go. When you no longer need the BubCap, you can peel it off with you fingernail (applying slow steady pressure) and dispose of it or save it for future use.

As the company website says, BubCaps make a great stocking stuffer and they start at $5 for a 4-pack. BubCaps are well made and a good solution to help children stay within an app.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary 6-pack of BubCaps for demonstration purposes.
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Blue2 Bluetooth Switch by AbleNet

blogEntryThumbnailSince I recently posted about an iPad accessory for physical access, I would like to share another one. I want to discuss the AbleNet Bluetooth switch called Blue2, which provides single or dual switch access to the iPad for individuals with physical disabilities. The Blue2 has a switch interface and two switches built in the same device. The built-in switches are accessible by your hands or feet. You can also plug additional switches in the available right and left ports if you wish to use your own.

Since the switch is Bluetooth enabled, no cords are required for use. You connect and use it wirelessly beginning with the iPad settings. Here are the following steps for setup:
  1. With 2 AA batteries in the device, slide the Power switch to ON
  2. Press and hold the Reset button on the rear part of the device until the red light cycles
  3. On the iPad, open the Settings app, tap General then Bluetooth. Turn Bluetooth ON.
  4. In Bluetooth Settings, choose Dual Pedal to connect it
  5. On the switch, enter in the four digit code using the Mode buttons (note that digits 6-0 require the Shift button plus the Mode button)
  6. Press Enter and you will see the red light flash next to the 1/6 mode button
  7. Finally, press the 5/0 mode button for the Space/Enter function and you will see the red light flash next to it
After the Blue2 switch is connected to the iPad via Bluetooth, you can use it with switch compatible apps. At this moment in time, there are a select number of apps that are compatible, and they are mostly for augmentative communication. The switch compatible apps (that I’m aware of) include the TapSpeak series (Button, Sequence, Choice), Predictable, SoundingBoard (iPhone only), GoTalk Now, Alexicomm AAC, and RJ Cooper apps.

My personal experience with the Blue2 switch has been mostly with the TapSpeak series of apps. At conferences, I have focused on demonstrating the switch with TapSpeak Choice. I used the First page sample board in TapSpeak Choice and began with configuring the in app Settings (the gears button). I selected Scanning Settings and 2 Switch Step scanning. After that, I exited the in app Settings and constructed a message (e.g., “I like dog”) using 2 switch access. In order to construct the message, I had to press the left switch to scan by rows and the right switch to choose a given row or item. Finally, I was able to select the message window to speak the entire message.

There are known limitations at this current time for iPad switch access. First, as I mentioned previously, there are only a select number of switch compatible apps. Second, you cannot use the on-screen keyboard while a switch is connected via Bluetooth. Also, with TapSpeak Choice, you can only utilize one type of access at a time. For example, when 2 Switch step access is enabled, Direct Select touch access is disabled.

Although I discussed Blue2 use with an iPad, it can also be used with switch compatible apps on iPhone and iPod touch. To purchase the Blue2 switch, visit the AbleNet online store. It’s $149.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary Blue2 switch for demonstration purposes.
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Beyond Adaptive iPad Arm Kit

blogEntryThumbnailI would like to share an iPad Arm Kit from a company called Beyond Adaptive. The kit provides an excellent iPad mount for individuals with physical disabilities – even though it can be used by anyone. If someone with a motor impairment (such as an individual with cerebral palsy) wants to access an iPad, the arm kit is a great solution for keeping the device in a stable position.

The kit works by fastening the quick action clamp to an object (e.g., a table), tightening another knob, and placing an iPad (original iPad or iPad 2) in the cradle. As simple as it sounds, it’s that easy to setup.

Since receiving the Beyond Adaptive iPad Arm Kit almost two months ago, I have demonstrated it during various workshops as a high-quality solution for physical access to iPad. When firmly clamped, the kit enables a very sturdy position for the iPad, regardless of where it’s mounted. I attached it to podiums, tabletops, and table legs without any worries of my iPad falling and breaking. I also attached it to wheelchair tray tables for my students with physical disabilities who successfully accessed the iPad independently. It didn’t matter where I clamped the kit or how much pressure was applied to the iPad, the device remained steady. The Beyond Adaptive iPad Arm Kit is wonderful and I highly recommend it for individuals with the need.

The kit pictured above is the Deluxe iPad Arm Kit. The regular price is over $400, but the company is running a special of $351 until the end of 2011. Contact the company for more information and purchasing details.

Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary iPad Arm Kit for demonstration purposes.
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Homework sheets for ArtikPix

blogEntryThumbnailAmanda Backof, Speech-Language Pathologist who runs speechlanguageneighborhood.com, has created homework sheets for ArtikPix. The sheets can be downloaded on her website at http://www.speechlanguageneighborhood.com/articulation/. I also thought I would provide the download links here to the homework sheets:

Initial/Medial/Final P
Initial/Medial/Final B
Initial/Medial/Final F
Initial/Medial/Final K
Initial/Medial/Final G
Initial/Medial/Final S
Initial/Medial/Final Z

The downloadable documents are available as of 11.17.11. Check Amanda’s website in the future for updates. She is planning to add more homework sheets.

Terms of use stated by Amanda: Thanks to Symbolstix for allowing us to make these available for personal use [not for re-sale] under the terms of our subscription.
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App Gap

blogEntryThumbnailI was asked to share a link to an article titled 15 Telling Facts About the App Gap: http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2011/11/14/15-telling-facts-about-the-app-gap/. The "App Gap" refers to children of low socioeconomic status who do not have access to mobile devices and apps. Affluent children who have more access to apps might be receiving a more enriching learning environment. I believe that there's likely truth to this notion, however the article proceeds to explain that more time with apps can be harmful to child development and learning. Harmful, huh? That's pretty strong language which I question.

In the article, apps are consequently compared to TV and DVDs, a comparison which I disagree with. I feel that apps provide active learning environments vs. passive environments provided by TV shows and DVD movies. Due to the various interactions in apps (e.g., tapping, dragging, shaking, tilting, etc.), children immerse themselves in very enriching learning environments. This rings especially true for many disabled children who prefer to read and write with technology including mobile devices due to the motivating platform, not to mention built-in supports.

Although I don't agree with everything in this article, I still wanted to share a link to it because it does pose food for thought. It provides some interesting ideas to consider when determining the use of mobile devices and apps with children.
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