2014 CSHA District 9 Achievement Award

blogEntryThumbnailAt the 2014 California Speech-Language and Hearing (CSHA) Convention in San Francisco, CA, I was awarded an achievement award by District 9. I was fortunate to have my sister and mom attend the ceremony. My mom pleasantly surprised me by capturing my acceptance speech on video. The video allows me to share the speech with friends, family, and colleagues who could not attend.


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

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.

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.


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.

2012 ASHA Convention

blogEntryThumbnailI will be participating in the ASHA Convention scheduled for November 15-17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. If you’re attending the conference, come see me at booth #1319 to learn about the latest (and upcoming) features in my apps (StoryPals, ArtikPix, PhonoPix, and Percentally) and enter to win prizes.

At the booth, you will be able to get StoryPals and ArtikPix stickers for the chance to win iTunes cards. You’ll just need to put on the stickers, then my staff or I will give out $10 iTunes cards to three people wearing the stickers each day during the convention.

You will also want to visit the booth because you can enter to win an iPad mini (16 GB) and iTunes codes. You will need to make sure that you enter before the giveaway is announced on Saturday, November 17 at 1 PM, and you must be present at the giveaway to be eligible to win.

Aside from the booth, you can attend my session titled Triple A for iPad: Apps, Accessibility, and Accessories, which is being held on Saturday, November 17 from 9:30 am – 10:30 am in Omni/Omni Ballroom F. I hope to see you there!

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!

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

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.

NY Times article regarding apps for autism

blogEntryThumbnailYesterday, the New York Times ran an article about the iPad and apps for autism. I was proud to see that my blog,, was mentioned in the company of other great websites. It's an honor to know that people look at my blog and resources to learn about apps for autism and special needs.

Homework sheets for ArtikPix

blogEntryThumbnailAmanda Backof, Speech-Language Pathologist who runs, has created homework sheets for ArtikPix. The sheets can be downloaded on her website at 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.

App Gap

blogEntryThumbnailI was asked to share a link to an article titled 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.

New AssistiveWare video for an Introduction to Pictello

I want to share a new AssistiveWare video for Pictello, the storytelling app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. We created an Introduction to Pictello video divided in three chapters: playing a sample story, creating a story, and importing a story. Learn how to utilize all of the story features via demonstrations in the iOS simulator. The video is fully accessible with captions that can be viewed either in the YouTube player below (click CC) or on the Pictello website. You can also view the YouTube videos in HD and full-screen mode.

Disclosure: I do work for AssistiveWare and I am the author of this Introduction to Pictello video.

1Password: Making my online life easier and more secure

blogEntryThumbnailFor a fairly long time, I have heard about the 1Password app, which involves the use of one master password for all your online passwords. I’ve read claims that 1Password will make your online life much easier and more secure. The reason is that the app automatically fills login information with a highly secure password unique to the given site. I hemmed and hawed about purchasing the app for a while, mostly because of the price: $39.99 for a single Mac license. I finally gave in and I'm very happy that I did.

About a week ago, I finally purchased 1Password for the Mac. Once I downloaded the desktop app, I investigated the 1Password extension for browsers because it appeared that the extension would be the best way to use the app for website logins. So, I downloaded the extension for main browsers including Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome. The extension enables a handy auto-save login that pops up after you create or use a website username and password. The auto-save login automatically fills in your information, then you just need to click a button to save it. Plus, the saved information is automatically saved to the desktop app and the extension downloaded across all browsers.

I immediately began using the 1Password extension on website logins for email, bank accounts, social media, product registrations, and more. Although I experienced some difficulty with changing existing passwords on websites, the app easily handled the creation of a new username and password. I typed a username and I used the password generator to generate a very secure password unique to the given site. The password generator provided passwords as a random string of lengthy numbers and letters (e.g., 15 characters long).

In addition to storing login information, 1Password can store your identity comprising personal and business profiles, and wallet information including your Social Security number, passport, and bank accounts. 1Password is highly secure so you don't have to worry about your confidential information being leaked. Your confidential information is encrypted by your master password; just remember to use a strong master password. When you walk away from your computer, you can manually lock your data or set an automatic lock that occurs after a selected period of time (e.g., 1 min. of computer inactivity).

Finally, I purchased the universal iOS app, 1Password Pro, which works very well with the Mac app. Using a local WiFi network, I easily synced my 1Password information from the computer to my iOS devices. So far, the Mac and iOS apps have been great. I can easily say that 1Password is making my online life easier and more secure.