Monday, April 30, 2012

DIY: Creating a Visual Schedule (incorporating AAC symbols)

Project: Create a Visual Schedule (that includes Maya's AAC symbol language) is completed!  Finally.  And it looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.   Check it out:

Again, I made the visual schedule to support Maya's interests.  She's into knowing what's going to happen next (we've made schedule on wipe-off boards when she's upset about stopping an activity to show her that we have to do a-b-c, and then you can play with the bus again).  However, even if your child isn't super into schedules, I've seen a lot of stuff online (and heard from therapists) that schedules can be beneficial to have on hand and refer to.  (But don't take my word for it, feel free to talk to your own therapy folks and see what they think.)

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to recreate this visual schedule:

Note:  I built this schedule horizontally (instead of vertically) to support pre-reading skills.  We read from left to right, and it's nice to expose little ones to this idea.

1. Setting up the background:  I got the idea to use a frame as a schedule background from a blog reader, and I loved it!  Prior to seeing her frame I was going to just stick velcro on the wall, but the frame makes it look so nice and finished.  I used a 12" x 36" frame.  For the background I picked up a yard of fabric at the craft store (actually, Maya picked it---see the alligators?) and just folded it inside the frame.  Fabric was easy to put in and will be easy to switch out when we move on from alligators.

I put two rows of velcro onto the glass.  I left some extra space at the bottom (you'll see why when you scroll down).  Helpful hint: Attach some word cards to the velcro before sticking the velcro on the frame---that way your velcro strips will be placed far enough apart to accomodate the word cards.

2. Making the word cards:  Since Maya doesn't read yet, her word cards include pictures and printed text.  If your child uses (or will use) PECs or an AAC app/device, it's best to use the symbol language of that system as your pictures.  (Maya uses Speak for Yourself, and so we use the Smarty Symbols that are found in that app.)  In Maya's app each word is represented by a sequence of two pictures, and that's why each word card has two pictures.  (You can read a bit more about that here.)

The general steps for making our word cards went like this: print images, cut out images, tape them onto index card, print word at the bottom, laminate the index card, cut it out, attach velcro to the back.  Time consuming, but in a channel-your-inner-middle-schooler, arts-and-crafty sort of way.

Helpful hint: Use small pieces of velcro.  If you use larger pieces, they become challenging to unstick, especially for kids with any muscle weakness.  Also, small pieces ensures that your child won't pull hard enough to rip the velcro strip from the wall, or crack the glass in a frame.

3. What to do about word storage?  When you make a schedule you're going to end up with a lot of words that aren't in use at any given time (at the bottom of this post I'm including a list of all the words that I've made so far).  I puzzled over what to do with these not-in-use words.  Poking around online, I found that many people kept their spare words in a binder with velcro pages (very similar to the Word Book).  I didn't love this idea, because I wasn't sure where I would keep the big binder.  Since our word cards are 3x5 index cards, I also thought about buying index card boxes----but again, where would they be stored?  Dave came up with the magical solution:  binder rings.

I love binder rings---they're easy to open and close, so we can pop the cards off the ring to lay out choices for Maya, but clean up would be easy as well.  So I punched holes in the sides of the word cards and sorted them into a few separate piles. 

This ring holds the cards for places that we go.

Binder rings make storage really easy.  I bought some of those adhesive hooks at the drugstore and hung them next to the schedule.

4. When the cards are done: As we move through the day Maya will be able to pull the completed cards off of the schedule and put them away.  I wasn't sure what to use for a "done" area until Maya's speech therapist suggested using a folder-brilliant!  I cut the bottom off of a folder, cut down a bit to make the pocket more shallow, covered the edges with tape (in a bid to prevent paper cuts), and added two small pieces of velcro to the back:

Again, small piece of velcro on the folder and a large strip on the frame.

When words are done, they go into the pocket.  Ta-da!

And so the schedule project is mostly done.  I say mostly because I'm 100% sure that over the next week or so I'll realize how many words I forgot to make and be slowly churning them out.  Here are the words that we started with:
Go-to daily words: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, ready (get ready for school), bus (to school), school, bus (from school), home, bedtime
Places we go: park, playground, library, museum, zoo, dog park, grocery store
Stuff we do at home: toys, paint, color, dollhouse, read, draw, puzzle, play dough, chalk, play kitchen, choice time
Miscellaneous words: therapist's names, learning time, mouth exercises, bath

(Note: There aren't a lot of details in the morning and evening routines because I'm planning on making a little morning checklist and a little night checklist.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A semi-homemade preschool calendar station (with some AAC flair)

Maya has become suddenly interested in calendars.  Well, not completely suddenly.  About a month or two ago she started showing an interest in the calendar, touching the boxes, etc, but it seemed to be mainly due to the fact that she likes to count things.  (She taps each box and we say the numbers for her.)  I thought Oh, I should set up a calendar for her but I was newly pregnant, sick and exhausted, so it got pushed to the back burner. 

I remembered the calendar project this week, when she started to navigate within the talker to say the days of the week.  She liked saying the days, so on Monday morning, during breakfast, I told her "Today is Monday" and showed her where the Monday button was.   About ten minutes later I said "Hey Maya, what day is today?" and she turned to the talker and tap-tapped and I heard Monday.  Smart girl :)  I shot this video at breakfast on Tuesday:

I'm all about supporting her interests*, and so this morning the calendar went up. 

*I'm in no way pushing her to memorize anything here, or suggesting that every home should have a calendar area.  But she's into the calendar and I'm doing a push with our AAC stuff right now, so this came together rather intuitively. 

I'm going to give you the basic plan first (which would work for anyone) and then follow up with the communication/AAC stuff.  Here's what I did:

1. I went to Lakeshore Learning and bought a pocket calendar and then a cute monthly calendar bulletin board kit (which they don't sell online, so no link).  If you're feeling super crafty you could make this stuff, but I'm not super crafty.  I'm functionally crafty.

2. I attached velcro strips to the wall to make sentence strips.  This may mess up your wall.  I'm planning on leaving it up for a while, because we can do all sorts of things with velcro, but I'm fully expecting that paint may get ripped off when I take it down.  That doesn't bother me much, but if it bothers you then you might want to try some other method here.

3. I made laminated cards to use on the sentence strips.  One set talks about the day of the week, so that we can say "Today is Monday."  The other set talks about the weather, so that we can say "The weather today is sunny."  Our cards are a bit fancier than usual, because they incorporate Maya's symbol language.

This is where it's going to get a little speech/AAC oriented, so if you're not interested just scroll down to hit the pictures.  But really, if you have a minute, check this out, because it's really interesting.

In the world of communication apps/devices, words are generally represented both in text form and with a picture.  Different systems use different "symbol languages" (pictures to represent the words)--Boardmaker uses PCS symbols, Proloquo2Go uses SymbolStix, Speak for Yourself uses Smarty Symbols, etc.  If you have a child who uses (or is going to potentially use) a symbol language, it can be beneficial to incorporate those symbols into your environment, as kind of an immersion into the language. (That's just a general best practices thing, I'm not making it up.)  And so, when I started planning the calendar, I knew that I wanted to include Maya's symbol language into the words and labels that I put up, for reinforcement purposes.

In Maya's communication app (Speak for Yourself) almost every word is represented by two pictures (a handful are said by just pushing one button instead of two).  For example, the word dinner is said by touching the eat icon on the main screen, and then the dinner icon on the secondary screen.  Each word card that I made (Monday, Tuesday, sunny, weather, etc) would include both symbols, so that it would be a visual representation of how she would use her device to say the word.

This is all kind of abstract in words.  Let me show you.

Here's the card for dinner:

If Maya wanted to say dinner with the talker, she would first touch the button on the left, then the button on the right.  See?  It reads like a sentence. 

I printed the images out (using this app), cut them, and affixed them onto an index card with a piece of tape.  Then I printed the word underneath and ran the cards through my trusty laminator.

Then I re-cut them and put a small square of velcro on the back of each one (these words aren't all for the calendar, clearly, I have a few other projects in the works).

finished cards

I rearranged the alphabet hallway to make room for a calendar area . . .

which looks like this.

I left the pocket calendar almost completely alone, with 2 exceptions.  I added a card at the top that includes the symbol language for the month, and I glued the symbols onto the yellow days of the week cards:

For the sentence strips, I used the cards with printed words and symbols.  One envelope has the extra days of the week and one has the extra weather-related words. 

This sort of thing could be done for any topic, and with any symbol language.  For now, we'll just play with the idea of putting up the day and the weather.  Once she's used to that routine, we'll start doing it with the talker, and I will model saying the sentence on the wall with the device.  Then I'll start helping her to do that. 

It's practice with the device, it's some nice text-rich pre-literacy stuff on the wall, and, most importantly, it's supporting an interest that she expressed to me---I'm not trying to engage her in something that she doesn't care about.

Disclaimer: I'm not a speech therapist or AAC therapist, just a mom who has done a solid bit of reading, researching, and harassing real professionals via email and Twitter to get their guidance when I have questions.  If any speech/AAC folks are reading this and feel like you have something to add on, or that I've made any errors, please feel free to chime in.  Thanks!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Speak for Yourself Keyguard (from LaseredPics)

*Editor's note: Please see an important addition to this post, found under #2. Attachment,  if you are ordering this keyguard to fit an iAdapter case (iPad1 or iPad2) or the Otterbox Defender case (iPad1)

As a preface, I don't work for Speak for Yourself or for LaseredPics.  This post is solely my opinion.  No one asked me to write this (or paid me for it), but I imagine it could be helpful to others considering the app and/or keyguard, so here you go  . . .

We recently received the new-and-improved keyguard for Maya's app (Speak for Yourself) created by the folks at  The original keyguard had some major flaws, so I had tried not to get my hopes up for version 2 . . . but, as it turns out, version 2 is pretty darn great.  Before I continue, you should know that the keyguard is available in 7 different versions, to accomodate different cases (or no case at all).  The version that I will be showing and talking about is designed specifically to fit the iAdapter1 case, which is what we have on Maya's iPad.

Here's Maya's iPad with the keyguard on:

See those 2 green lines at the top?  Pretend that they are made of clear plastic instead of drawn in.  Maya got a little frustrated and tried to pull the keyguard off, snapping off two thin plastic bars.  Luckily, they aren't really essential.  Here's what it looks like with the top two bars broken off:

And here's what it looks like with the app turned on and the keyguard in place:

This keyguard was an instant game-changer.  As I've mentioned in the past, Maya has a habit of accidentally hitting buttons by leaning her hand/knuckles against the iPad while she's reaching towards a word with her pointer finger.  She ends up on an unintended screen, and tends to then just pick her favorite word on whatever screen that she's on (we really need to work on hitting the blue home key to return to the main screen).  This results in a totally disjointed conversation, and she often goes through several misfires before getting back to the word she was originally aiming for. 

With the keyguard in place, she has to reach for a word very deliberately.  Accidental hits were all but instantly eliminated.  As you can see in the video below, there was a bit of a learning curve as she figured out the hand-eye coordination needed to get her finger into the targeted hole, but it didn't take long at all (we've had the keyguard for 5 days now and are seeing very few misalignments).

*note about the cereal bar: It's poor AAC form, I think, that I didn't stop to get her the cereal bar right away.  But I know Maya and knew that she was more interested in exploring the talker with the new keyguard than she really was in a snack.  She had a snack when we were done playing with the device.  When we first started using AAC I always stopped immediately and tried to present the requested item, even if the request seemed accidental.

Now that her communication is more deliberate and less accidental, we can really encourage the use of the talker to a greater degree, because it has become a much more real communication tool (as opposed to sometimes a great communication tool and sometimes just a fun way to say words and accidentally bounce through the screens).

Let me tell you about some of the features of the keyguard:

1. Slide-to-unlock opening: When ordering the keyguard you can choose to have the slide-to-unlock bar opened.  This is a great feature.  With this small row opened up Maya is able to turn the iPad on as usual with the keyguard already firmly in place and ready to use. 

2. Attachment: This version of the keyguard attached directly to our case with velcro (the last version that we tried used suction cups, which raised it up too high over our case).  The velcro allows for a nice tight fit (you can tell here, but the keyguard is actually slightly sunken over the screen so that it fits closely).  I cut two piece of velcro for each ledge on either side of the screen. *To get these extended ledges on the side, where I have attached the velcro, you need to order the Case Attachment Option for your case.  That tells them to attach the extra plastic ledges.

Velcro pieces circled in yellow.  I'm awesome at Paint.

Here you can see the black velcro on the sides of the keyguard.

3. Finger openings: LaseredPics has the keyguard available with either "circle" or "square" openings.  You want squares, for sure.  The circle openings were too small, rendering the entire thing useless for me.  Maya would still have been able to use it, but since good AAC use involves modeling and communicating through the device for both parties, the adult partner should be able to use it as well.  (Note: you could use a stylus with it if you have thick fingers, I guess, but since I would definitely lose the stylus I needed to fit my fingers through).

The square openings are big enough for me to fit my entire pinky through, but I can also fit enough of my index finger through to use the device with my index finger.  Dave can't fit any finger all the way through, but he can use his pinky finger to get in far enough to press the buttons. 

The bottom line: This is awesome, and will make is already making a huge difference for us.  We ordered a few back-ups, because I worry that Maya will knock the iPad over and it might crack.  If you decide to order one, trust me, you want square holes, you want to have that slide-to-unlock section open, and if you have an iAdapter case you want the case attachment option.

Side note: Today I added a new tab to the top of the blog, all about the communication/AAC stuff that we've tried along the way.  You can click here to see it.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Every so often it's time to cry again

Maya arrived home the other day with one thing on her mind: the school bus.  She was saying “school bus” with her talker, she pointed to the picture of the bus that hangs in the alphabet hallway (with the letter B), she told me “buh!” several times, and she kept demanding that we sing “wheels on the bus.”  Her method of demanding was very cute--she made sure that she had our attention and then rolled her arms round-and-round, just like in the song.  We sang, she acted it out, the song ended, she was delighted and wanted more.  Good times.

But I didn’t know why she was so suddenly enamored with wheels-on-the-bus, and it nagged at me.  Was she excited to be traveling on the school bus again after her week off?  Were they reading about a bus at school?  Does someone else sing her that song?

It was obvious from the way that she lit up when we started to sing that she was making some connection, and she couldn’t tell me what is was.  So after she went to sleep I emailed her teacher, Laura.  First, I let her know that Maya was newly obsessed with wheels-on-the-bus, and that spinning her arms translates as “let’s sing WOTB!”  Then I asked if they had done anything with that song at school.

I got the reply the next morning (I’m paraphrasing): That’s too funny!  Actually, I sang it to her yesterday at school, and then we all sang it later as a class!

I smiled reading it, understanding how much Maya must have enjoyed acting out the song with her friends, and how excited she was to keep doing it at home with us.   Then I started to cry.

God, how I hate that she can’t talk.

I hate that in order to figure out that they sang wheels-on-the-bus we had to go through a crazy multi-step guessing game: Maya acts out round-and-round, I guess that’s she saying wheels-on-the-bus and start to sing.  She lights up, so I know that I’m right. I sing and she does the motions and she is more delighted than usual, so I take her excitement as a clue that something more is going on.  I email the (luckily cooperative) teacher, who doesn’t mind my guessing games, and wait to hear back to gather more clues.  Finally, I find out that she sang it at school, and now I wait for the rest of the day to go by so that when I see her again I can say, “Maya, I talked to Laura!  She told me that you sing wheels-on-the-bus at school!”  Mystery solved!  High fives all around!  24 hours from start to finish.

Or . . .if she could talk . . . she could say “Wheels on the bus!” and we could sing together and I could say “Did someone sing that today at school?” and she could say “Laura sings wheels on the bus!” and then we could have a snack.  4 minutes, maybe, from start to finish.

I hate that I might be missing other hints that she tries to give me, other things that she wants to share.   I speak for her constantly, making connections and guessing.  When she enthusiastically points out a whale in a book, I say “Oh,  a whale!  That’s like the big whale that we saw at the museum!” . . . but what if she’s pointing at the whale because it’s blue? Or because a boy in her class wore a shirt with a whale on it today?  Or because they’re studying the letter W at school and read a whale book earlier this week?  How can I keep talking for her, when I’m really just taking my best shot at guessing what she’s trying to say?

I hate that it’s so hard for her.  And for us.  And while I love her easy (well, mostly easy) personality and I’m eternally grateful that she doesn’t seem to sense the unfairness of her situation yet, I’m so angry on her behalf.  I resist the urge to get down on my knee and look her in the eyes and say “this isn’t fair to you, you know.  Other kids have it so easy and you have to work so hard and even then sometimes I just don’t understand and it’s not your fault and I can’t do anything to help and I’m sorry.”  I try to be happy that she (mostly) doesn’t care yet because I know that someday she will and that will be another crushing thing.

I hate that for us to communicate there is a multi-modal full body exchange that needs to happen.  I hate that I have to guess.  I hate that I’m probably wrong a fair number of times and I don’t know it.  I hate when she gets angry and cries/whines/yells at us (which happens at least once a day) because we don’t understand and she doesn’t know how to make us understand.   I hate that here I am again, three years into all of this stuff, writing with a crumpled pile of used tissues on the floor next to me. 

Every so often it's time to cry again.

At least now I have three years’ worth of experience behind me . . . enough to know what happens next.  I’ve sang this song before, many times now.  I will cry angry tears and then they will change to sad tears and then I will be numb.  And when the numbness fades I’ll take the energy that’s beneath it and, with new gusto, throw myself into working on communication stuff.  Oral motor exercises and making Maya request things with sounds and working more and more closely with the talker and Speak for Yourself so that it will continue to become increasingly incorporated into the way she initiates communication.  We have a lot of tools and a lot of knowledge and have to keep doing the hard work of making it stick.  There will be productivity and progress until I reach a new breaking point, and then we will start again. 

Postscript: I finished writing this at 2:55pm. At 3:15 Maya came home and we got the mail, and a prototype keyguard for the Speak for Yourself app arrived, which is fantastic and will definitely help with Maya’s communication accuracy via the talker.  At 4:10 I became sure (after a few days of debating) that I’m starting to feel the baby kick.  So, I guess sometimes you get lucky and the time to cry passes more quickly than you would expect. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Undiagnosed Children's Day is tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Undiagnosed Children's Day!

This may lead to some questions, such as, what is Undiagnosed Children's Day, and why are you only telling us about it a few short hours before the big event?  I'll give you the long answer to the first one, but for the second let's just say that there was a bit of date confusion and I thought I had an extra week to get my act in gear (oops). 

What is Undiagnosed Children's Day?
Undiagnosed Children's Day is a day where you get to support (and, if you're feeling motivated, raise awareness) of the kids that you know (like Maya) who are undiagnosed.  It's an awareness day that was invented last year by another blogger, Heather of Team Aidan, whose son has an undiagnosed developmental disability. 

Why did Heather invent an awareness day?
A year ago, Heather wrote the post that kicked off Undiagnosed Children's Day, and she started it like this:

When people ask me for Aidan’s diagnosis, I say he has development delays and hypotonia (low muscle tone.) Those are words that get you nowhere. When he turned 6, he lost some services because that diagnosis was no longer valid. Happy 6th Birthday, poof, your disability is gone. No wait, the disability is still there but your services aren’t. In school he is labeled as multi-handicapped. That only works for school. Many agencies have different qualifying criteria. Don’t try moving to a different state because they may require a different name.

Yeah.  Getting older without a diagnosis is really difficult (she goes on to qualify, by the way, that having a diagnosis comes with its own pros and cons---we're certainly not saying that having a diagnosis is a cakewalk, just that it sure can be handy when you need it).  It's something that would keep me up at night, if I allowed myself to think about it for more than two minutes at a time.

There are other challenging things about not having a diagnosis, too.  One that gets under my skin is the skepticism that can come from inquiring minds.  Maybe someone that has a child with disability and is asking about Maya, or maybe it's from someone within the education/services world, or maybe we're visiting a new doctor . . . and when I say "She has a undiagnosed genetic syndrome" there's a flash, a little lightening bolt that flits through many of their eyes.  Some hide it better, while some fully commit with a raised eyebrow, but there's often a flicker of Oh, come on, don't beat around the bush, just tell me or Haven't you even taken her to get checked out or If it's 'undiagnosed' then how do you know it's genetic or whatever.   

You know what's especially biting about those skeptical folks?

I think I could have been one of them.

I'm a science girl. (I was a zoology major, a science teacher, an EMT, I have a masters in teaching science, and my mom's a nurse.  I was always kind of biology-nerdy, even before Maya.)  I like data and tests.  Had someone told me that their child was undiagnosed I'm fairly sure that I would have been very curious and asked a lot of questions (hopefully politely, but who knows).  My level of skepticism probably would have depended on what I thought of the parents and their capability to find the right doctors and push for tests and advocate and whatever.  My outer opinion would have been sympathetic. My inner voice would wonder when they would be able to get the diagnosis-------when, not if, because this is 2012 after all, and we're sequencing DNA and all that jazz and how could there just not be a test to run that would bring the answer in?

This is why a little awareness would be helpful.  Because I would have been skeptical of someone in my own position.  Because despite being a graduate-degree-educated-big-city-science-nerd, I had never been aware of the limitations of medicine and science in their ability to diagnosis children who are struggling with nameless syndromes or disorders. 

What does one do to participate in Undiagnosed Children's Day?
Wear blue!

That's it.

Ok, that's not totally it.  First, wear blue.  Then, if you can, share something about Undiagnosed Children's Day---on your Facebook, via email, with a tweet, dropped into a phone conversation, however you want.   You can share this post from Heather, or her original Undiagnosed Children's Day post, or share this post that you're reading right now.  Share a picture of yourself rocking out in blue, and let people know why you're wearing it.

And if you're wearing blue, share it with us, too!  Because if there's one thing that's tough about the undiagnosed world, it's the going-solo-ness of it all.  Heather wrote:

The whole “undiagnosed developmental disability” thing happened slowly, much like a gentle slope you didn’t realize you were on until you hit the bottom. The bottom: left behind by state workers who need to check a box, left behind by the moms who said, “but you must know what caused it,” left behind by the support groups who rally around kids with CP or Down Syndrome (ok, to be fair, I’ve met awesome moms who have asked me to come to their groups anyway), left behind by foundations that research specific diseases. Alone.

If I had had Maya 20 years ago, pre-internet, I would have been lost.  If not for the ability to seek out bloggers, therapists, AAC specialists, and other parents (and then badger them via email, FB, and twitter until they answer my questions and beg me to leave them alone) I'm really not sure what I would have done.  I push into other online communities and try to glean what might work for us, but there is a loneliness that comes with not having a group that totally gets it.  Even the undiagnosed community is so hugely variable that it's tough to find a great fit.  We're so lucky to have wonderful families, supportive friends, and online allies . . . but there are many other undiagnosed families who don't have that, who just wish more people understood.  And tomorrow, when test results come in to doctor's offices around the world and more parents hear "The results were normal.  Let's just wait and see, and check back in 6 months." our ranks will grow.

So tomorrow, wear blue.  And share Undiagnosed Children's Day, and the fact that even with today's advances in medicine, technology, and science, there are large numbers of families who are still looking for an answer.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter & the zoo

If you aren't following the blog on Facebook, you've missed out on a few things recently.  First, I've put up some cute pictures (some of which you'll see here).  Second, today I posted a (not-at-all-graphic) play by play of the excitement that we had during day 1 of our attempt at potty training.  Third, I spent Saturday morning in the emergency room because I couldn't breathe, and it turned out that I had croup (aka laryngotracheitis aka no-one-gets-that-after-they're-like-5-years-old, right?). 

Between trying to recover, allergy attacks, potty training boot camp (well, not really), and school being closed for the week, I don't have the time to really write.  Instead, pictures:

Collecting eggs is fun . . .

But not as fun as BUBBLES!

(Parker was a big fan of the bubbles, too.  He was like a bubble pac-man.)

Then, on Monday we went to the zoo . . .

Impressively, her love for alligators remains as strong as ever, months after it started.  She just adores them.

Alligators!  I see them!

This was when she saw that one was swimming towards her :)


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Another (and final) link post

This week the PRC & SCS v. Speak for Yourself case, and Maya's connection to the story, appeared on the website of TIME Magazine.  It was a good, fair, well-balanced article, and included an adorable picture and cute story about Maya.  (I'm sharing it here for the readers of the blog who might not have seen it on FB, but from now on you'll just have to go check the links page for news, since I don't want the blog to turn into all-court-case-all-the-time.)

Also, the links page has been updated.

Watching these stories pop up over the past two weeks has been a bit surreal, and also kind of taxing.  I learned an interesting lesson---once you tell your story, it will get retold . . . and some of those re-tellers will be more concerned about accuracy than others.  I've seen articles that have asserted that Maya has autism and that she is deaf (neither are true).  I've seen people explain that we can't use a device because they are too heavy (which is only a very small reason that we didn't chose a device).  I've seen articles that claim that PRC & SCS are patent trolls and that PRC, SCS, and Apple are all evil companies (I do not agree with any of these statements).  Yet my name appears in most of these articles.  That's frustrating.

You know what else I learned?  Maya is allegedly ready for potty training. (That was an awesome segue, right?) Her teacher suggested that we spend a few days over break hanging out at home, pumping her full of liquids, and taking her to the potty every 30 mins.  It basically sounds like the most rocking spring break ever.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A sale!

I don't usually blog about sales, but this is a big one.  Speak for Yourself, the communication app for the iPad that I'm constantly talking about, is having a huge sale today.  In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, Speak for Yourself is only $99, instead of the normal price of $299.

If you'd like more information about the app, check out their website, or click here for a list of the posts that I've written about SfY (there are videos and pictures mixed in with those posts). You can buy the app here. Again, I do not work for Speak for Yourself.  I just love the app, and feel like there's nothing else like it on the market.

Here's a new picture of Maya using SfY, rocking the one-flower-girl-glove-with-a-cut-out-fingertip look:

She was telling us about which animals she could see on the jungle bib in front of her (we don't typically do bibs, but they are temporarily reappearing because she wants to hold her own cup while she drinks, which is awesome.  And messy.)

Here's another picture from yesterday, of my expanding self.  (Holy cow, the belly certainly appears much faster with the second.) 

Half the fun of gaining a bunch of weight is sharing the pictures so that other people can delight in the fact that they are not gaining a bunch of weight.  So, you're welcome.