Posts Tagged ‘special education’
Apps for Autism: Behaviour Management Analysis
Apps to support discipline and behaviour management in the home and classroom
Some apps can be used to help monitor and manage behaviour at home and in the classroom for children with autism. The role of the iPad in the special educational needs classroom cannot be underestimated. As we have previously discussed research has shown exactly how effective these devices can be in an educational setting as well as when used for play and this also applies when considering students and pupils who have an autistic spectrum disorder. This post is part of a larger collection bringing together some of the fantastic apps available to people living with autism.
There are many challenges and difficulties that come with caring for and educating a child with an autistic spectrum disorder and finding an appropriate and workable behaviour management strategy is amongst these. However, there are apps on the market which are designed to support your behaviour management strategies and aid your understanding of the behavioural issues that you may be facing.
Behavior Assessment Pro is an App that is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod (USA only) devices and identifies factors which relate to challenging or problem behaviours. Designed by a certified behaviour analyst in the USA, this app is valuable for use by a number of professionals as well as parents and carers. The app allows for a quick assessment of the behaviours of your child, or class from a teacher’s perspective and allows you to recognise particular triggers, problem areas and produces a range of useful graphs and charts to help map behaviour changes. Extremely advanced and supportive of your behaviour management techniques, BAP can be of extreme help in producing end of year reports, support plans and related documents.
Behavior Tracker Pro is another well regarded and recommended app which allows anybody to track specific behaviours and graph them immediately. Can be synched with Excel for easier management and can make teaching and working with children with autism much more straightforward. Designed by a certified behaviour analyst who also has a child with autism, parents and educators using this app have faith in its abilities and data can be shared between all those involved with the child, making all round behaviour management easier as everyone can sing from the same hymn sheet.
Chore Pad HD is an affordable and popular app which takes the form of a virtual reward chart. Although originally designed to get kids to do their chores, the app has many more uses and can be used to encourage daily and life skills. Very basic but also very affordable, a great option for connecting the idea of good behaviour with positive reinforcement.
First Then Visual Schedule is a simple and manageable way of introducing your child or class to a virtual visual schedule, much like those they may use in paper form. You can split the day into sections such as ‘morning routine’ and ‘lunchtime’ so an understanding of the order of things can be instilled, hopefully avoiding the anxiety that triggers some challenging behaviour as control is maintained. Fantastic for use with a single child or can be utilised in the class environment with different schedules stored for different pupils.
Part 1 – Themes, Speech Sets and Flash Cards
This is the first blog post in a series covering some fantastic and innovative augmentative and alternative communication iPad and iPhone apps to aid communication, provide a stimulating educational experience, helping adults and encouraging interaction in children.
These AAC apps were compiled by Jane Farrall – a speech pathologist and special educator with over 20 years of practical knowledge in the field of disability and assistive technology. Jane is highly experienced in the teaching of both adults and children with varying abilities, and holds a Masters in Special Education, where she concentrated on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech.
2CanTalk The 2CanTalk iPhone app allows you to create a catalogue of “Themes”; a bespoke picture board of images with corresponding sounds, to fit a specific location or event. Create themes for almost every situation, from your or your child’s everyday needs to a trip to the park; simply take photographs using your iPhone of familiar objects and add your own voice recording and text label to each image.
For example; if you require a “want/need” theme – take representative photographs of your child’s most common activities (bathroom, snack, drink, sleep etc) then allow you to pick from the images on screen to communicate. Each theme can include a subsection, therefore if you were to choose “Snack”, you would then be presented with further on screen options such as banana, toast, biscuits, or any specific snack item you choose to include.
AACSpeechBuddy is an iPad app that can be used in conjunction with aacspeech.com to build bespoke image and speech sets using either the 2000+ provided Mulberry symbols or your own photographs and one of 6 text-to-speech voices. The app comes with several demo speech sets included, to give you an idea where to start, then you can create an online account to manage your bespoke speech sets which can then be loaded on to the app. The online creation feature is perfect for sharing or downloading speech sets made by other users, friends or teachers.
Ablah is a simplified iPad app that allows you to create categories of images, which can then be browsed by either swiping-through or viewed as a timed slideshow. This app relies mostly on your own uploaded images rather than a library of pre-installed icons, and utilises recorded speech rather than text-to-speech.
Aeir Talk is a stylish and bold Flash Card style iPad app to help increase your child’s vocabulary and teach spelling. The flash cards can be split into several sections, including verbs or nouns, and using your own photographs of familiar household items, such as food and toys, you can create informative yet immediately recognisable flash cards to appeal to your child. This app also allows you to record your own voice and create cards to fit any object or activity you desire.
The Answers:YesNo app was specifically designed and tailored to help a young man with non-verbal Autism and motor planning issues, communicate his wants and needs with those around him. This app is simplified to just two large, colour-coordinated “Yes” and “No” buttons, to provide straightforward and immediate communication. However, you can also create custom button pages to differentiate between two different subject matters (such as “cat” or “dog”, or “hello” or “goodbye”) and you can record your own voice for each image with ease.
We will be following-up this blog post with another selection of useful AAC iPad apps, as well as more information about our new, innovative Trabasack Media Mount – a flexible and multi purpose mounting device that can be wrapped around objects to provide the perfect angle, ideal for supporting iPads when in use on the Trabasack Curve Connect tray top.
Communication Aids: Communication Cards
If you have problems with verbal communication, perhaps due to learning difficulties, deafness, cerebral palsy, or stroke, you may already have normal communication aids or methods. But what if the person you’re trying to communicate with doesn’t understand BSL or Makaton, or your Lightwriter‘s batteries are flat? Or you may just have communication problems occasionally, perhaps due to fatigue, or if there’s too much noise.
Communication Cards, from Stickman Communications, are the answer. These sturdy laminated communication aids cover most situations in a non-clinical, light-hearted (but never offensive) way. In the bank, the post office, shops, and a multitude of other situations, Communication Cards will be invaluable.
You start by ordering a Starter Pack, which has a “Thank You” card on a keyring style holder. Then you add whatever other cards are going to be helpful for you. Your selection will come as a set on the keyring.
There is a wide selection of Communication Cards available, including one for writing your own message and one for your personal data. Some are specific to certain conditions – for instance one has a brief description of Hypermobility Syndrome – but most of them could be used by any of us.
Each card is 11cm by 7.8cm, and your set will come with stickers to put on the cards, so you can easily find the one you need. They can slip into a bag or handbag, or even into your pocket, or clip onto a wheelchair using a carabiner clip.
Communication Cards have only been available for a short time, but as this tweet shows, their popularity is growing fast by word of mouth.
New Communication Card designs are coming out all the time, so keep an eye on the website to see what’s new! These innovative and attractive communication aids are great fun, and can be a lifesaver in an emergency. A highly recommended product.
Five Great Communication Apps for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch
Apple’s position as one of the most popular, important and powerful computing and telecommunications companies cannot be disputed. Their range of devices from the original iPod to the more recent iPad and iPhone series are fantastically equipped to handle a huge range of apps and many of these can be used to significantly improve day to day life.
Many people thought Apple had designed their apps purely for entertainment and fun but there are many more uses for many of their great apps, most significantly for us, communication. At Trabasack for Communication Aids we are always looking for the latest and the best technology available to aid communication and make it more accessible. Here we’ve compiled five of the best communication apps currently available through the Apple App Store!
1 – Yes/No – a very simple communication app which is fantastic for simply answering questions. Yes/No allows the user to voice their preference to most questions with a yes or no answer. This app is fantastic for those with learning difficulties who may find open questions difficult and therefore are more confident and comfortable with simple answers.
2 – iCommunicate. – Grembe Inc. – a communication app which allows for simple expression of feelings through symbols and sounds. You can customise it with specific photos of your environment, for example you could put together a storyboard or social story photos of the individual with the disability doing their usual daily tasks. Like an interactive PECs system.
3 – TouchChat AAC with WordPower – Silver Kite – an app designed for those who have difficulty using their own voice. There are a range of set messages and sentences stored within TouchChat but you can also add your own if the non-verbal individual has particular favourite phrases or sentences they’re used to and also you can add their name to TouchChat’s vocabulary.
4 – Assistive Chat – assistive apps – much like TouchChat, Assistive Chat supports those who have difficulty using their own speech. It’s a much more affordable option and has a range of customisable settings including the voice it speaks in, the size of the font on the screen and also word prediction so keystrokes can be kept to a minimum.
5 – Grace – Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People – an award winning app designed for non-verbal individuals. Developed for those on the autistic spectrum, Grace is designed to allow users to choose pictures to express their needs independently and in time, where possible, vocalise their needs alongside using the picture.
These are just five of the great communications apps on the market and we believe each one of them can be really useful for furthering independence and general life experiences!
If you’re lucky enough to own one of these great Apple devices, don’t forget how useful your Trabasack can be. The Trabasack Mini in particular is designed to perfectly fit an iPad 2 and it’s a brilliant storage space for any Apple device. Equally, the Trabasack tray surface gives you the option of somewhere safe and secure to rest your Apple device when not in use!
How to use Proloquo2Go on Your iPad
Proloquo2Go is the leading portable and affordable AAC communication app for iPads and other Apple devices. Proloquo2Go can significantly improve the communication for those who are non-verbal or who have difficulty finding the words they need in certain scenarios, for example when they’re over anxious or stressed.
A simple guide to how to use Proloquo2Go on your iPad.
Initially, you need to have a basic understanding of Apple technology, which is extremely intuitive and known for its basic and easy-accessibility. Proloquo2go is potentially very advanced technology but has some very basic features which have been known to aid even toddlers in their speech.
Firstly, you will see a grid or list of core types of word and speech that you can add to for example: Food and Drink, My Places and My Clothes. From these you can tap the items which are relevant to your sentence and they will appear in the message window. If you need to conjugate these words you can simply press down and the full range of conjugations comes up. This means you can say ‘I am hungry’ instead of ‘I be hungry’ for example. To speak your sentence, you simply tap the message window and it will be vocalised by your iPad. If it’s a sentence you feel you’ll use frequently, you can tap the plus (+) button and it will be added to the vocabulary in your iPad into the category of your choice. You can also recall recent speech items via the ‘Recent Views’ button and then you can repeat sentences from early in the day if you need to do, making it easy to have necessary commands and sentences stored.
This video gives some more information regarding Proloquo2Go:
This is a very basic outline of how Proloquo2go can be used but it can become an essential part of your daily life as it aids all communication and potentially socialisation. To ensure you can access your Proloquo2go app and in turn your iPad whilst out and about, it helps to have a specially designed iPad bag. The Trabasack Mini Connect is ideal as an iPad bag as it is perfectly designed to fit both iPad and iPad2 devices and is both secure and safe. In addition to its use as a bag you can use your Trabasack Mini Connect as a lap tray, which is extremely handy if you’re and about and you have a question or anything else to say. You can simply have your iPad resting on your Trabasack Mini Connect and access the sentences or phrases you want to use via Proloquo2go.
It is that simple and it can revolutionise your daily life, with the tap of a screen.
Click here for more ideas about communication apps and ipads
Using your Trabasack Mini Connect as an iTalk2 Bag
An iTalk2 is a very popular communication aid used in classrooms across the country and it’s a great way of helping people with limited communication or non-verbal individuals decide between two activities or simply saying yes or no. Such an essential piece of kit needs to be kept safe and this can be achieved with a Trabasack Mini Connect iTalk2 bag. The Trabasack Mini Connect is perfectly designed for keeping your iTalk2 safe and means it won’t be at risk from any damage.
The iTalk2 is an extremely simple piece of equipment which rests on angled base which further increases accessibility. It allows for two minutes of recording time and includes to Snap Switch Caps which allows for the individual using the device to make their choices. The Trabasack Mini Connect is also a great platform from which the device can be accessed. The Trabasack Mini Connect includes a lap tray surface on one side and a soft beanbag cushion on the other which means it can rest comfortably in the lap and be used as a level surface for the iTalk2.
The Trabasack Mini Connect also benefits from the Connect surface on its tray. This
means that the surface is particularly receptive to Velcro hooks and so you can attach items to the surface and be assured they won’t roll off or fall and be damaged. This makes the trabasack very useful for switch mounting, especially for children using buggies or wheelchairs. When using your Trabasack Mini Connect as a iTalk2 bag, there are multiple carry options available. You can strap it to your back, around your waist or use its carry handles to use it like a briefcase, this is entirely you decision. However you decide to carry it, you can be assured that your iTalk2 is fully protected and secure.
The below video gives some more info about the iTalk2 and its functionality:
Trabasack: reviewed by Kate Ahern: a teacher of pupils with significant special needs
Trabasack’s reputation is growing and as more and more are sold, the reviews are coming in thick and fast and spreading across the blogosphere. One such review is Kate Ahern who blogs at Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs and as a teacher of pupils with significant needs, she was able to try out the Trabasack in her classroom.
Using a Trabasack in the classroom
Known as a “portable lap” in Kate’s classroom, the Trabasack is used everyday especially for activities such as music therapy which take place away from the normal classroom tables. Kate explains that the Trabasack makes “it easier to ‘see’ the student instead of the equipment because it is smaller and looks more natural than a tray”. She also highlights that the velcro-receptive feature of the Connect surface means switches and communication devices can be easily attached. The children and students also use the Trabasack for leisure, and use the surface to ‘stick’ their iPods and MP3 players purposes to it, helping to keep them from falling off and close at hand when needed.
Trabasacks for field trips
Kate also highlights how useful the Trabasack can be as a tray although explains that the bag function is equally useful. Its “wonderful that is can carry switches, symbols and sensory items while hanging on the back of a wheelchair and then be used as a tray to access those items” she says. She also remarks how a Trabasack would have been perfect for field trips to the movies which had occurred in the previous year. It could help keep a student calm and comfortable she states. In fact, we have already considered how useful a Trabasack
can be for cinema trips as it provides a tray table area for drinks and snacks.
Kate’s review shows exactly how valuable a Trabasack can be in a school environment and how it can be a great mount forcommunication aids and for activities away from the school desks. Trabasack is a very useful edition to a teacher of children with special needs equipment, and helps to make more use of the equipment available.