Edited on 6/14 to add: There is now a petition up on change.org asking that Speak for Yourself be returned to the App Store immediately and allowed to remain there throughout litigation and regardless of the lawsuit results. Business disputes should have business resolutions, and those who need this app to communicate should be assured that they will not lose it. If you agree, please sign and share. Thanks!
This will be brief, as we are all sick (literally, not figuratively). As I mentioned on the blog's Facebook page today, "I just realized that due to a) the fast-breaking nature of this news story and b) the fact that Maya is home sick (day 3), she has the rare and distinct honor of being viral in 2 ways at once."
First, thank you to those who have tweeted, retweeted, blogged, written about, shared, and posted my last blog piece to Facebook. Special thanks to those who have reached out to PRC, Apple, and SfY. We appreciate the support that you are showing to Maya and the other users of Speak for Yourself.
Second, there have been many kind suggestions of alternate programs and systems of communication that we could try to use with Maya. It's important to know that the success of AAC is highly dependent on the user's ability to embrace the system-so while I'm about to explain why a few of them as "not feasible for us" that does not mean in any way that I feel that these are inferior systems. They just didn't work for us. First, Proloquo2Go was the first iPad app that we attempted to use with Maya, and while it was a good introduction for us into AAC, it proved to be not a lasting solution (primarily due to the organization of the vocabulary in folders, and also because the vocabulary symbol set was not as clear for her). Next, we looked into Dynavox devices at the same time that we looked into PRC devices (November 2011). Again, the devices are great for some people, but were not a good match for Maya (primarily due to the folder & tab system of organizing the vocabulary). Finally, sign language. ASL is a beautiful and meaningful language for many people, and Maya does know a number of signs that she uses with Dave & I. However, due to some dexterity/fine motor issues, her signs are garbled . . . even someone who speaks fluent ASL would have to do a fair amount of guessing to figure out what she might be attempting to sign. Additionally, I am a big fan of the way that AAC lets her speak to anyone (who understands English) anywhere, without a translator. Other four year olds can understand the talker, but they likely would not understand her signs. That's important to me.
Finally, I've gotten a good number of suggestions as to how to protect our copy of Speak for Yourself. We've taken the following steps: I have backed up the original app file onto 2 hard drives. We have two iPads that carry SfY-one is Maya's designated device and one has been used for other things but carries a back-up copy of the app. Both iPads have had the wireless disabled and airplane mode turned on. One has an AMDi protective case, the other has a Griffin protector, so hopefully they'll both be durable enough to last for a while. (When the primary user of your device is a four year old, durability is a real concern.) I still have concerns about the fact that if the iOS is updated in a way that makes SfY incompatible with the new operating system, we will only be two broken iPads away from being left without Maya's communication app. Additionally, we are left hoping that the app doesn't end up needing any repairs or updates, because we are now unable to receive them. I am unsure as to whether there are any other steps that I could take at this point to protect what we have.
We feel very fortunate to have obtained Speak for Yourself prior to its removal from the iTunes store, and we are frustrated and saddened on the behalf of the other nonverbal children and adults who could be using this app to communicate with their friends and family but are now unable to download it and determine whether it would be a good solution for them.
One more thing, we appreciate the emails, tweets, and Facebook messages, truly. At this time, I'm receiving a good number of incoming messages and cannot respond to them all quickly. I'll do my best to get back to everyone, but I am sick, pregnant, and have a sick child. It's going to take a little bit of time, so thanks in advance for understanding.
Tomorrow I'll try to put up a links round-up of the news articles, etc. that have gone up about the story. Thanks again, everyone!