Tag Archives: iPod/iPad

Stella & Sam Story Bundle – New App!

The talented team at Zinc Roe Games have done it again, and come up with a new Stella & Sam app that has four stories in the one App.  All for only $7.49AU, so right off the bat that saves you nearly $4.50 if you were to buy them individually.

My kids all love the Stella & Sam story and activity Apps, as you can see from our previous reviews.  They are one of our favourite iPad apps for the little ones.  And once again the quality of the App is top-notch, even when bundled together in one app, no glitches so far for us. 

Stella & Sam’s latest edition Rainy Days and Rainbows is included in the story bundle app, it is just as entertaining for the little ones as all the others are.  One of the activities in this story lets your child draw with paw prints in paint, my daughter keeps returning to this activity over and over, she loves it.

Play alongside Stella and Sam and their dog Fred as they go out on a playful adventure on a rainy day. Make paintings with Fred, dig through the leaves looking for treasures and race pinecones across Puddle Lake. From zinc Roe games, the makers of the award-winning Tickle Tap Apps, the Stella and Sam Interactive Adventures combine stunning animation with three elegantly designed activities.  The Stella and Sam Apps are based on the television show and the bestselling picture book series by Marie-Louise Gay. Stella and Sam books have been translated into fifteen languages. They have sold over one million copies and are loved by children all over the world. Each Stella and Sam Adventure features: -Beautiful full-screen animation -Three fun and simple games-Quick navigation by chapter and game -Support for English and French.

Thanks once again to Zinc Roe Games for asking us to try out their wonderful new Stella & Sam App, it’s always a pleasure as we know they always come up with the goods when it comes to a quality app.

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Do you use your iPad to help your child communicate?

For those just coming in, we have three children with Autism.  Our son Tom is quite severe and has very impaired communication abilities, he has never grasped writing, talking or signing.  However he can communicate using pictures very well.  Autistic children around the world, rely on communication pictures to tell their carers what they need.  Usually this involves a folder full of little laminated pictures, like this;

This folder can get very fat as your child gets older and wants communicate more needs with you.  Not only that,  this folder is fiddly, you can’t add to instantly and you need to know someone or own a laminator to make up the little pictures.  And then at least once a week you have to remake some because they get chewed.  Now that we use an iPad/Touch, we can add to our picture library instantly.  This saves Tom a lot of frustration and me a lot of stress, from the inevitable tantrum that follows when a need cannot be communicated.

Some time ago we made the transition to using an iPad (and iPod Touch) for Thomas’ communication needs, the App we use to do this is the Grace App.  I’ve talked about the Grace App lots I know, but I just can’t talk about these kind of Apps enough, and finally schools and services here in Australia are starting to catch on.  Read what I thought of the Grace App here and here

However these devices and apps can be hard for families to obtain, as the initial cost can be hard to afford, and funding can be even harder to obtain as not all services can see the benefit in using them.  But like I said, this is starting to change, Yay! 

The lovely Lisa; creator of the Grace App, has sent me a code for a free download of her fantastic app for one of my readers that needs it.  Awesome yes?  So please pop a comment below if you, a friend, a school, someone in need - could use the app on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad – to go in a draw for the code.  This App is valued at over $45AU, so please tell your friends.  I’ll draw this on Friday. 

iPods for Autism people, let’s get the word out there!

UPDATE!

During the past week or so I have transferred my blog onto a new server, so there were lots of entries received in the cross over period.  Luckily I got an email for all of them, as I was not able to transfer (find) the comments over onto this post. Whoops.

So, the extra people who entered are:  Janelle  S, Robin R, Mike R, Sue A, Barb C, Michelle N, Sharon P, Laurel F, Mitchell P, Annette S, Thea B, SmellyJelly, Lana V, Michelle A, Jamie E, SeeSpotRun, Kerry W, LaraW, Sharna T and TeeJay.

Phew!

And the winner is….  Nicki Zeith – thanks for entering, your iTunes code will hit your email inbox shortly.  And thanks so much for your comments everyone, I hope I captured them all O_o Can anyone who did comment and didn’t get listed please message me, and I’ll pop an extra entry into my next giveaway for you. :)

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Filed under Autism, Giveaways, School, Technology/Gadgets, The Kids

Mr Thorne does Phonics – iPad App

I’ve been given the chance to test drive another educational iPad app, thank you Mr Thorne. 

Mr Thorne does Phonics, created by Mr Thorne himself.  It stemmed from his role as Head Phonics Teacher for the Solihull Local Authority, leading to You Tube videos of Phonic tuition with over 2 millions hits on his channel

Now you can get these videos in an App.  I have to admit on first seeing the app in action, I was a dubious about the grainy YouTube footage meshed into the workings of the app, but that said, it has no bearing on how effective this app is as a teaching tool.  Kids don’t care about the footage, it’s just me being picky ;)

Our four-year old daughter Georgie has taken to the App very well, she even greets Mr Thorne when he appears on the screen.  For those who don’t know, Georgie is autistic and has a slight speech delay, it has been Apps like this that have helped us get her talking.  This App has a lot of content, we’ve seen Georgie sit still using it for half and hour straight, so yes it is very engaging.  Below is a video of Georgie using the app, just ignore the point near the end where the baby interrupts ;)

The app costs $9.99AU and you can find it here.

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Meet Stella and Sam on the iPad – Preschool Apps

Yeah yeah I know, I’m blogging about the iPad again.  But the lovely people at Stella and Sam & Zinc Roe Games, asked me to check out their new release preschool App.  I’m glad they did, because we loved it.

How cute are these little people.  The app is a beautifully animated story starring Stella and Sam, taking them through a short adventure looking for their lost things.  Throughout the adventure little interactive games for your children to complete as part of the story, my autistic four-year old daughter loved ‘dressing’ the snowman and wiping away the snow to find hidden things, and the games are not the same everytime.  Excellent fine motor skill exercises.  I think I’m going to have to download more Stella and Sam when they come out, the HD screen of the iPad really presents children’s app brilliantly – especially something drawn as beautifully as Stella and Sam.  It’s based on the television show and the bestselling picture book series by Marie-Louise Gay. 

“Stella and Sam is about engaging children to discover and explore the world around them, sparking children’s imaginations and encouraging their creativity.”Marie-Louise Gay, author and creator.

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Apps for Autism – iPads for communication.

I thought an update was overdue about my Tom and his use of the iPad as a communication device.  As some of you would be aware Thomas is autistic and is on the spectrum as severe, he is non verbal – which means he cannot or won’t talk to us.  He uses communication pictures to indicate his needs to us.  The usual format for communication pictures is a folder full of small two-inch square laminated pictures, attached to the inner pages of the folder with velcro.  The child chooses a picture and sticks it to a sentence strip on the front of the folder to indicate their needs.  As you can imagine as a child gets older their needs get higher, as do their communication needs so more and more pictures are needed.  This eventually becomes hard to accommodate, and there will come a time when you may not have the communication picture a child wants in the folder.  This will most likely result in stress for the child and probably a meltdown to follow.   This was my big problem. 

Enter the Grace App.   The Grace App is a communication application that looks and acts just like a communication folder, with one huge difference – capacity to hold more pictures than a folder.  I can fit every picture my son needs into this one app.   Thomas has been using the App for sometime now and his response to it has been excellent, we are so happy with it.  He has now started bringing us the iPad or iPod Touch to indicate his needs rather than a communication folder.  The other great thing about the App is we always have a means of communication on us wherever we go, we have it on our iPhones, the iPad and Tom also takes an iPod Touch to school now with the App on it – no more forgotten folders, no more eaten/chewed communication pictures.  You can also add you own pictures to the App so you have consistency, your child can see the same communication pictures at school and home, and you can use whatever type picture suits your childs needs.

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am, that Tom’s new school has taken onboard the idea of using a tablet device to communicate.  On his first day of being able to take his iPod Touch to school, they report no meltdowns, awesomeness. :)

Now the thing about these devices is that they are obviously fragile.  So you need to get your hands a decent kid proof case.  We use the M-Edge case for the iPad, you can read the post I wrote about it here.  And there are literally millions of iPod Touch cases out there, we are using one like this at the moment, slipped inside a handmade lanyard style case we got from Etsy.   Yes I know this is a link  heavy post, but this is a subject I am rather passionate about.  My goal is to get more services in Australia aware of how these devices can be utilised, with children and adults who have communication needs.  Parents of children with Autism have access to some grants and can use these funds to get these devices.  Unfortunately the process of getting approval for such a device is hard, when the professionals who sign off on the money know very little about how these devices can be implemented.  Australia needs to catch up to the rest of the world on this.  

And now with the release of a new and lighter iPad2 (which incidentally I can’t wait to get my hands on, yes I know I know), things are looking to become more and more portable.  I am so happy with how my children have taken to using the iPad for communication and learning.  My two Autistic toddlers have been using the iPad with Apps teaching them the alphabet and phonics etc, and their progress into talking this past months has really jumped, they’ll be showing me how to do things next!

If anyone would like to chat to me about this further I’d be happy to, just contact me via the about me tab up the top or leave a comment.  Oh and I have not been paid nor received any product in return for this post. :)

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Filed under Autism, Reviews, Technology/Gadgets