A little bit about myself – I am the parent of two boys with special needs. My oldest has a diagnosis of autism, my youngest has a diagnosis of ADHD, along with a developmental delay, sensory difficulties and a mild to moderate speech delay; both are struggling with other medical concerns. I also work in the schools Pre K-5th grade. As a speech pathology assistant, I work with both general education students and special education students. The little ones in the special education preschool are my favorite but I love working with them all. I see some of the same struggles I had in my students and it is wonderful to see them make progress.
Several months ago, I was blessed to win a contest through SpeakinMotion for an iPad. I entered with the goal of creating a loan library device program in my community, and it has come to fruition.
Special Apps, Special Kids has an iPad with rotating apps to meet the user’s needs, as well as accessories and printed materials on apps available for check out in the San Diego area. Parents, educators and caregivers have checked out the iPad and belongings to trial for 2-4 weeks at a time, depending on their needs- whether for life skills, a specific focus like fine motor or articulation practice, general educational purposes or for communication. We do have many communication or “AAC” (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) apps available but stress that they should be implemented under the supervision of a qualified AAC specialist- the hope is the iPad will be checked out and taken to a specialist in the community or schools. One parent already had an iPad but just wanted to see the variety of speech therapy apps available and test them out before buying the ones that fit her child’s needs best.
Borrowers fill out a questionnaire; I show them how to use the iPad and find apps based on each person’s needs. I am thrilled when parents feel competent about what they can do with it and tell me they have made an iPad a permanent assistive tool in their home as a result of their time trialing the iPad through the loan library.
Recently our loan device library benefitted from a local comedy fundraiser by Phat Panda Presents and we continue to get the word out at local conferences and Exhibit Halls. I will be representing Special Apps, Special Kids at the AOTA conference at the end of this month with flyers about our loan library and webpages. Our goal for the future is to acquire an android based device for the library as well, as many have access to Android and are eager to find helpful apps for this platform.
Special Apps, Special Kids