Archive for the ‘technology’ Category


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One of the first apps I got on my son’s iPad was something I wanted for myself. The Monster at the End of This Book was one of my favorite books growing up.  When I saw it was at the iPad store, and it still had Grover, and not Elmo (which they had when my daughter was the age for this), I had to download it!

It keeps true to story, and is interactive in a seamless, appropriate manner.  It encourages the child to be involved in the story, in subtle ways. If they still don’t get what to do on a page, Grover will hint, building up the hints until the work is done.  He does it in a way, though, that suits the story. “Whatever you do, don’t touch that. Not that corner over there. That will make the page turn. You don’t want to turn the page!” Things like that, and maybe a bit of a flicker or flash to show where the child should touch.

My son is completely non-verbal, and can’t really read much at all.  He’s never been interested in reading, either.  He’ll look at I Spy books, or flip through something with a character he likes, but not much more than that.  After a while, though, Ted would read along with the book, running his finger under each word as it was said. Each word comes on the page one at a time as Grover says it, and he’s really starting to learn the relationship between what is said and what the word looks like. That interaction is probably helping him read more than the constant drilling we’ve done over the years in school, in therapy, and in the home.  He reads it every night before going to bed.  He also is engaged with it more than most other apps, without perseverating on it, reading it over and over for hours on end.  It’s also made a great reward for his educators and his therapists, because he will work for enough stars to have time with this app.

I’ve seen a number of children’s e-books, and apps based on children’s books. This is probably our favorite, and save for a handful of others, one of the better crafted ones. You can tell that not only did the software developers know what they were doing, educators and other professionals who know about development of literacy skills and children were involved. All the little touches not only make this app more enjoyable, but are a great way to help an emerging reader.

This award-winning app is $3.99 at the Apple App  store.

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fireworks 001

Originally uploaded by Kibbles

Tomorrow he gets his chatbox! We’re so excited!

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Talk To Me Technologies

My son’s Chatbox 40 XT was ordered! Not only is Talk to Me Technologies getting us the Chatbox, we are also getting our own copy of Boardmaker, we are getting a laminating machine, too!  We will be able to use everything right away!

The trial period was great, and this is the perfect device for my son.  They had a lot of options but they helped us pick the one that was just right for my son at this moment in time, and one that will grow with him. It is really a fantastic piece of equipment, and we are looking forward to using it, the sooner the better!

We’re really excited. I’m sure Ted will be so happy to get his ‘voice’ back!

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Remember when you bought a printer, and it came with editing software? And when you got a scanner, it came with text reading software?  Now? Nothing. Just the drivers, and whatever software it has to manage your print queue, and your diagnostic stuff.

Ok, printers aren’t $400 and up any more, but throw me a bone, ok?

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I love the accessibility of computers lately. A nice drop in price, easier to configure.  It’s like they want people to own computers!

And then they kill ya. They kill you with ink prices. They kill you, SLAUGHTER you, with prices for ethernet cable. I just paid $14 for a whopping 3 feet of low end cable from Staples. Apparently, their website is the only place that carries the $8 cable.  I would have asked for help, but the Dubuque store seems to have no employees other than the ones at the register.

Because the cable is so short, I can’t put my printer in the nice little computer armoire I have, but I have to put it on top.   My fault for not spending over $30 on cable, I guess.

Seriously, how can they justify ethernet cable being so bloody expensive? It appears to be nothing more than a glorified phone cable. I can pick that up at the dollar store.

I just hope that the ink lasts a bit. I bought a network printer (hence the need for the ethernet cable) so would like it to last a little longer than one refill and the computer is utter crap and it’s more sensible to buy a new one rather than replace the ink.

A girl can dream, I suppose

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Dynamo Green Keyboard – I Want One Of Those

Absolutely brilliant; a keyboard that makes electricity to power your computer.  Your typing generates power!

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Trying this out, to see if I can publish the same post to more than one blog at a time. I hope so!

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I just got a letter from the insurance company.

Actually, Ted did.

This letter stated that he was approved for durable medical equipment: SPEECH GENERATING DEVICE

It is to let him know that a nurse will be calling him, to see how he is feeling and answer any questions he has about the device.

The thought of Ted having a conversation with the nurse, cracks me up. We will put in, I think, his FOOD overlay, and he can tell her, “Chicken nuggets! French fries! Ice cream! Soda! Macaroni! Ice Cream!” Until, of course, she realizes that she is trying to talk to a non verbal child about his speech generating device.

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So, Ted came home from respite yesterday, with his chatbox.

“McDonalds. McDonalds. McDonalds,” he pressed, over and over.

“Didn’t you already go to McDonalds?” I asked, spying his cup.

“McDonalds. McDonalds. McDonalds,” was all I got in reply.

I took it away from him, and he fussed. I switched a card to one with activities he liked, and are at home. At first he was mad and scowled at the cards. But then he recognized a picture.

“Trampoline,” he pushed.

“Yes, yes, let’s go upstairs and jump on the trampoline!”

Before he could think twice, I took him by the hand, grabbed the chatbox, and we went up to the playroom. He jumped right on the trampoline, and I pushed the button. “Trampoline,” I heard in my digitized voice.

He laughed, and laughed, and only stopped to push/say, “Trampoline,” and jump again.

He then got off the trampoline and looked out the window, to the dusky outside, and pressed, “Swing.”

“You want to swing? Let’s go downstairs, get dressed, and go outside to swing!”

Instead, he pressed “trampoline” and started jumping again. FIne with me. Still the swing was calling. He got off, pressed “swing” again, and this time ran downstairs with me to get dressed and go into the yard.

And he swang and swung and swinged, stopping only to press “Swing” now and then. I told him we had to go in, and we did. It was dinner time. I put his chatbox aside, and we started to eat. He finished first.

He got his chatbox again. “Swing.”

“I’m eating”




“I promise, let me finish eating.”

And then “Swing” followed by a small voice. “Peas.” He would press “Swing” and say “peas”. Over and over. How could I resist? So we went back outside to swing some more. When we were done, I went to my room to read, and he went about his business.

Again, he came in with his chatbox, and pressed “Swing”. But he didn’t hit it just right. So he said “Wing”.

We went outside again, so he could wing.

And then he walked in the melting snow, made a last run down the sled on the little bit that was left, and looked to the sky. I filled in the silence with chatter, as I’ve done for so long for him. “Oh, look at the sky! Look at it! See the stars? See the moon? Aren’t they pretty?” For six years it’s been nearly a monologue.

Not anymore.

“Up. Up. High, high!” he said, stepping with his feet as if he could climb in the skies and touch them himself.

And after last night, I’ve no doubt he can, one day.

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Saltillo Corporation :: products

My youngest son got a voice today.  So far he likes pressing the buttons, but we hope soon, he’ll be using it for so much more.  With a maximum of 400 words, this will make great strides in his ability to communicate with the world around him.

For so long, he’s been able to understand us. Now, we can start to understand him.

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