They Were the Best of Apps, They Were the Worst of Apps

The doc’s been gone for a while. She had a crisis of tech. Not giving up on it, mind you, just not knowing what to say about the three, count ’em three iPads in use in her home. One iPad, the one I call my own but that really belongs to the university I work for, is up-to-there with apps and I can’t actually upgrade to iOS7 unless some serious purging happens — which it won’t because I’m an app hoarder. Nic’s 1st generation cracked iPad, well…but that cute little Mini, the one he’s using in the community, the one with Snipbase and VisTimer, apps that have really made things happen for him…well, they didn’t like the new operating system.
Hey Snipbase and VisTimer, send help!


PS This is a random picture of my dear children.


“Not Proficiency in Use, but Potential for Growth”


Those were the words of the tech person in our district, after I brought to the team that it was time to take the leap and purchase an iPad mini for Nic, with Proloquo2go and some spiffy transition apps. These words of she-who-knows-her-tech were a bit of a rallying cry, I think. It’s not about whether Nic or any child is “ready” or “worthy” or whatever — it”s about having a support to grow with and grow from. If we think that a child needs to be “ready” to have a voice, there is something very wrong with our thinking.

Don’t ya think?

Perhaps we have this backwards…


There’s a lot of energy right now around seeing if Nic can work with Proloquo2go on the iPad. It has not so far been easy or intuitive, so the team continues to wonder and experiment before making further commitments.
But wait, he’s fifteen. He needs an augmentative system. He loves and works well on the iPad. The iPad Mini is small enough to travel well, but not so small as to be hard to see.
What exactly are we waiting for?
Have you been there? Did you push?

Shamed back to blogging.



The Delaware County Down Syndrome Interest Group has my blog as a hyperlink on their website — how cool! Have I written anything lately — no. How not cool.

Dr. Mom still loves her iPads. And she has some stuff goin’ on too. Nic is being evaluated again for a communication device, this time in the form of an app. We’re working with ProloQuo2go, which is apparently the Mercedes-Benz of communication apps. But how do you get a kid to use said app when he’d so much rather talk?

We’re also now gluten-free and lactose free. The good news is that there are apps out there to help with keeping sane when everything tasty is now dangerous. We’re simply loving Safari to get us to the Betty Crocker website and finding a million ways to miss real bread a little less. Then a stop at Gluten-Free Registry and Dine Gluten Free apps to see where there is to eat out — and if they really are sincerely gluten free or is it just “we will hide the bun” on your burger.

Is it a different blog now? No. My iPads just have more work to do.

How about you? What’s your kid using to communicate with the world? What do YOU do when your child would simply rather speak — but no one quite understands what he’s saying?

And when he does speak is your kid begging for a real hamburger bun like Nic?


I’m a Video Model!

    I love Carol Grey’s “Social Stories” — both for Nic when he was a little guy (we explained moving to a new house and potty training —  not in the same story, of course) as well as teaching my students how to create and use them with their students o’ the future.
    Lately, I’ve been learning about Video Modeling as another strategy for helping kids better understand new or challenging situations. 
    The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders defines Video Modeling as follows:

    Video modeling is a mode of teaching that uses video recording and display equipment to provide a visual model of the targeted behavior or skill. Types of video modeling include basic video modeling, video self-modeling, point-of-view video modeling, and video prompting. Basic video modeling involves recording someone besides the learner engaging in the target behavior or skill (i.e., models). The video is then viewed by the learner at a later time. Video self-modeling is used to record the learner displaying the target skill or behavior and is reviewed later. Point-of-view video modeling is when the target behavior or skill is recorded from the perspective of the learner. Video prompting involves breaking the behavior skill into steps and recording each step with incorporated pauses during which the learner may attempt the step before viewing subsequent steps. Video prompting may be done with either the learner or someone else acting as a model.

    So I’m off to try this. Nic does love a video, especially if he’s in it. I’m experimenting with an app — My Pictures Talk…

    And my students have access to 20 iPads…

    Anyone else using their iPad for Video Modeling???

Autism Apps — Worth a Look


I’ll be teaching a grad course on communication for students with autism this fall — Dr. Mom is feeling a little challenged here, but in a good way. My research has of course contained a bit of app searching, and I came across one that I really liked, though I think the name — “Autism Apps” — may discourage those of us who are not specifically searching autism. Me, I’m thinking about autism big time right now, but in real life, Down syndrome and intellectual disability are #1 on my hit parade because of my son Nic — just to go all mom on ‘ya for a moment. (I’ve actually never checked to see if there’s an app with Down syndrome in the title…would that be weird?)

Anyway, Autism Apps is not a bad little freebie app. Good search tool, with links to app info and App Store. Wish they’d called it something else though, because there’s good stuff on there for kids without autism too.

But then, what WOULD you call it?

Dr. Mom Finds Happiness at National Down Syndrome Congress 2012


I don’t know if I heard a word anyone said at this year’s National Down Syndrome Congress Conference until after I presented a session with two friends on Saturday afternoon. BUT after the butterflies vacated my stomach, after the adrenaline rush from presenting had subsided, Sunday provided some nice app surprises.

Dr. Sean Smith of the University of Kansas did a great presentation on apps for children with disabilities, including, especially, but not limited to Down syndrome. I jumped on to his wiki to find all sorts of great app info and you should too, but there seems to be a need for Flash to open it.

So thing one: Dr. Smith’s wiki is found at
Thing two: if you can’t get it on Safari, make a quick stop at the AppStore and download Photon, an app that will let you view items using Flash.

So, did you find anything good? I did. More to come…

Is There Life after Your Kid Drops his iPad?

The bad news is that it seems that no amount of padding and casing is going to stop an iPad from taking a beating when the time to take a beating comes.

Nic was running to the car, his iPad in hand.

He tripped.

The boy and his iPad went flying.

Nic dusted himself off and went to pick it up.

Giant crack.

But go figure, the thing still works. Went to “Five Below” and bought a film to put over the screen to protect fingers from cracked glass. That was it.

And Mom is back in search of ideas to make the iPad the tool I want it to be for NIc.

Right now, I’m in search of an app to let me store little videos I make. Like social stories, only video. Nic has a first generation iPad and mine is an iPad2. I have a digital camera and a cell phone to make videos on too.

Any ideas?



One of my grad students told me about something called Pinterest ,  an online “pinboard” that she thinks is the coolest thing ever. I took a quick look and saw what looked to be a place for people to manage collections of images. Nice. There’s an app for it, too, but I wasn’t seeing much past the idea of images.

But there’s more, and I’m gonna make sure I take a look. I follow the Friendship Circle blog, and today’s post talked about collections of resources, blogs, therapy tips, strategies for teaching chores and more on Pinterest — NICE.

Guess Pinterest is pretty popular…I am on their waiting list! So in the meantime, do you or anyone you know use Pinterest? Why, how? Give me something to read about while I wait for my “invitation” to join!

For a Moment, I was Tekkier than a Teenager!

My daughter Courtney is my go-to-girl, my at-home tech support, and it’s just one more thing I love about her. But yesterday as we were driving in the car, I asked her a question she could not answer.

The question was, “do you know what a Dropbox is?”

And I got to tell HER — Dropbox is a miracle!

Special thanks to Rosie P. for introducing me to, where I downloaded a Dropbox app for my iPad and Dropbox for my work and home computers. When I put my stuff — all those files and such that I don’t want to lose — into my Dropbox, I can pull them up wherever there’s a Dropbox! I log in on the iPad or on the computers and everything I’ve stored from all my locations is there!

Oh, Joy!

Of course, that’s probably the only tech question Courtney won’t have an answer to for the rest of my life.

Which is just fine.