IDEAS YOU CAN USE

There are some amazing devices available now that only recently sounded like something you would only see in a movie about the future. It’s true that some ideas take a while to become affordable and practical. Even so, there are too many exciting new possibilities to keep up with, many at low cost or no cost.

Other parents and caregivers can be the best guides when you’re looking for something specific, but this is a good place to get a sense of what’s new and interesting.

APPS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Resources for smart phones

Avaz: A picture-based communication system that improves language skills, not just in speech therapy sessions but real life, with good voice synthesis and helpful guidance for parents.

Talkitt: If you have a child who doesn’t speak clearly, you know how frustrating that can be. Talkitt helps make that same speech understandable.

Look at me: Kids who have trouble talking to other people get help reading expressions, remembering faces and expressing themselves.

Rogervoice: A simple idea—turning voice into text—means kids who don’t hear well can use a phone.

Speaking pad: A child who has trouble hearing or speaking but old enough to type can talk with the help of their phone and this this app. This one’s for android but there are many others like it now.

HearYouNow: Parents often see that their special needs kid isn’t hearing the way other kids do, and often learn that we experts don’t always know why. This free, adjustable app makes it easier to hear clearly in noisy settings or in front of a TV.

Smart Toothbrush: A smart toothbrush can be hundreds of dollars but more are now available for less than $50 and they can really make a difference. Amazingly teaching a child about oral health is an important life skill, sometimes the act of brushing teeth can be a challenge. Smart toothbrushes make life easier for those with grip and coordination issues by requiring less manual movement, built in pressure sensors, and timers!

Kindly: connecting people who could use a little encouragement or support with people happy to chat, sometimes about specific topics.

Birdhouse for Autism: Help for parents tracking health, daily living tasks and behaviors that help makes it easier to see what is working and what needs to be changed.

DayCape: Making it easy to make a visual schedule to share with kids, teachers and therapists.

Pill Reminder All in One: A lifesaver if your child takes medicine daily—tracking, alerts, and reminders about medical appointments.

It’s Accessible: If you have a kid with mobility difficulties you can talk to others on the free platform to find mobility friendly places to visit.

iPrompts: Kids with challenges are all very different but many have a tough time with transitions. iPrompts is not the cheapest but may be the best app that parents can use kids to help kids see what is coming up and move more easily between activities.

Miracle Modus: Just going to the store can be a challenge for a kid who gets easily overwhelmed when there is too much going on. This app soothes with colors, shapes and soft sounds.

Fingerprint magic: Just the kind of painting game even a young kid can fall in love with because it’s simple and soothing.

Stepping Stones: App allows users to create visual guides using their own photos to make sense of daily routines and schedules or stories. Used to teach essential life skills, assist with sequential processing, and increase independence / flexibility.

Voice Dream: Not the cheapest but one of the best designed and best rated text-to-speech apps for a kid who needs help reading and understanding.

Color identifier: Designed for people with visual impairments like color blindness and just could be an app your kid will have love and learn from.

Switches: Playing with toys or turning on a light can be difficult for a kid who has trouble coordinating hands, fingers and eyes. Switches—any device that can turn something that runs on battery power or electricity on or off—can help make a kid with fine motor skill issues a lot more independent. Voice activation can be impressive, as we see with systems like Alexa, but there are many kinds of simple switches.

– Squeeze/Grip –Works when grasped.
– Push/Pull – One of the simplest.
– Photocell – Holding a hand over the cell activates the switch.
– Shape – Kid-friendly, works when correct shape is put into appropriate receptacle.
– Eye Blink – Activated by blinking of an eye.

Only a few years ago it took a lot of money and effort to have an apartment or house that could make it easier and safer for families with a special needs kid. That is changing fast, and more of are now learning about what smart home means and how it can help in small and big ways.

Smart Lock: If you need to keep the front door closed but make sure a babysitter or nurses or therapists can get in, there are now different smart locks to choose from. The August Smart Lock is one, and it really is intelligent: it lets you use your smartphone as a key, you can give others access exactly when it’s needed and see from a log who entered.

Smart Doorbell: The Ring smart doorbell uses a motion-sensor camera to film whoever is at the door, so no one is allowed in unless they are recognized.

               

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