Saturday, November 30, 2013

The perfect ipad case.....

       Over the last few months I have been looking into getting a new case for my ipad, I love the case I have now and it has saved my ipad countless times! however it isn't quite sufficient for what I need. Here is my current case

As you can see it is a really nice case and has many great features to it.

1. It is very durable -it does a good job protecting my ipad mum the ever frequent accidental drops, falls,  bangs into walls and waps from the over excited Nimrodel's tail when I return home!

2.  It has a handle!!! - I absolutely love the handle feature to it!! I use the hand frequently and  ad you app an see I have also used the handle to add features to the case it didn't have.

3.  It is soft! -What you can't tell from this photo is that this case is actually a soft rubbery sort of material, (though the teeth marks on the handle might give a hint to that if you can see them!)   The soft material means it doesn't hurt as much when it bangs against my sides, it bounces off of hard surfaces realtivly easily and when it does it isn't very loud!  At night I hang my ipad up on a hook to charge and I do feel that the softer casing  makes this safer for the wall.

However it does have it's drawbacks  for me there arr a few draw backs 

1 the fist is a major drawback and by far the biggest is that it is not water proof. For e this is a feature that I really need. Using an ipad for communication as well as everyday basic living I need to be able to take out and use my ipad in the rain with out worrying about it getting ruined in the rain! A water proof ipad would also enabled me to hanging it up in the shower or be able to use it while spending time in the pool, fishing or any activity that may cause the ipad to come in contact with water.

2 it doesn't have a screen protector-while this can be bought at a store I do wish there was one a part of the case.

3  it doesn't boost the sound- this is another big one for me. Using the ipad for an AAC device means I need it to be able to be heard in public  so if the case could boost the sound (especially if it could do it significantly would be highly benificial!

So what would be the perfect ipad case? 

1. MUST be FULLY water proof protect against being submerged 
2. It MUSt be able to protect the ipad against, drops, falls, being thrown, stepped on and run over!
3. Fire resistant,
4. Shock resistant,
3. Amplifies sound-  this is crutial when using the ipad as an AAC device!
4. Have a built in.  Screen protector 
5. Have a handle
6 . It should also have an optional shoulder strap
7.  Should have a soft outside  (if possible  but the handle should defiantly be soft)
8. Light wieght
8. Easy access to ports and have a way to use the ports and remain waterproof
9. Home screen protector , it would be good the be able to block off the home screen button so it isn't accidently hit and close out of ap
 10. Will NOT interfere with with wireless signal or blue tooth
11. Come in many different colors!!!!
12. affordable!!!!! Seriously this shouldn't cost the same as a new ipad! Ideally this case won't clost more then $200

These are features that would be benificial to many on the autism spectrum and using thier iPads as aac devices or just as a general life organizational and matnance tool.  It is crutial that these device be able to be used in a multitude of various enviorments and impacts. I pads are very expensive and when your ipad is your lifeline it really needs a case designed to handle eepverything life has to throw at it.. I really hope that someone could make this case and have it available to everyone! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This is Autism

This is Autism

This blog post is part of the This Is Autism FlashBlog in response to Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks statements made in her national call to action plan.where she so kindly told us all autism is 

Destroying families
A burden to our families

Now individuals and families are speaking out! We want our voices heard! So....

What is Autism?

If you go for a  technical definition autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting communication, both verbal, and nonverbal communication i.e the ability to read and produce body language, social skills/interactions and sensory processing and is accompanied  by narrowed fixated interests, resistance to change and stereotyped behaviors that affects each person differently......... But what does that even mean?????? Well what it means for each person with autism is different. I am only one person with autism and here is what autism is for me.

Autism is seeing and experiencing the world differently from everyone else.

          Autism is a life lived through my senses. Not merely just using them as a passing way to observe my surroundings, made sense only by a plethora of words and verbal communication  but RATHER They ARE how I understand, communicate and navigate this world! Without needing words to do so.  Both for the good and the bad!!  They are the cause of frustration, pain, confusion and overload  but also of joys, wonder, amazement and understanding.

Autism is experiencing pure overwhelming joy and happiness from certain smells,textures sights, and sounds but great pain confusion and overload from others.

Autism is a world of focus and intense passion for one specific thing, my special interest.

Autism is reading about, writing about drawing and experiencing my special interest.

Growing up it was relating to animals before people.

Autism is years of intensive early interventions, speech, occupational, play therapy, ABA ect learning to be like everyone else and learning to do things everyone else can do

Autism is struggling to communicate even a fraction of everything going on inside my mind.

Autism is Where words and verbalizing are tiring and draining,

Autism is working so hard to gain verbal skills only to find that those very same skills take from other more important skills like processing Vision and cause slower ore skewed sensory processing.

Autism is being able to formulate complex thoughts and ideas, being able to quote movies and understand complex ideas and concepts but not be able to tell you where the keys are in the house even though I can see visually in my mind.

Autism is sitting at the dining room table at a friends, family or of your fiancé not saying a word wishing to and trying to find some way to participate in the conversation.

Autism is working twice as hard as everyone else to do the things they take for granted everyday

Autism is needing a schedule and routine In order to be certain you remember all the basic self care things

Autism is needing visual schedules and picture charts as an adult

Autism is running out of the public restroom covering your ears form the hand dryers

Autism is crying yourself to sleep

Autism is not having your facial or vocal expression match your emotions or intent

Autism is not being able to find the words you need and not being able to get them out.

Autism is discovering that You communicate much better through your ipad using AAC apps and for the first time you can actually get out more of what's going on inside your head then you could ever do before!

Autism is fighting off public meltdowns and shutdowns when overwhelmed an overloaded

Autism is watching your nieces, nephews, cousins and friends grow up and out grow you.

Autism is never reaching some milestones and finding different ways if reaching others

Autism is missing out on subtle cues and misinterpreting peoples reactions and body language

Autism is being both hypo and hyper sensitive  to your senses

Autism is intense strong emotions

Autism is tags being painful and sensitive to what clothes I wear

Autism is not knowing how to express or put words to those emotions

Autism is over stimulation an meltdowns

Autism is people constantly misinterpreting you

Autism is hating to see those you love or care about hurting or in pain but not knowing what to do or how to show you care.

Autism is becoming easily overwhelmed by things other people  can do easily

Autism is not being able to describe what hurts or how to a doctor

Autism is not being able to tell your love ones when something bad happens or someone hurts you

Autism is having sensory issues

Autism is having anxiety

Autism is having intense and heightened senses

Autism is having organizations like autism $peak$  claim to speak for you while ignoring what you and others on the spectrum have to say. Claim to speak for you then tell the world you are financial, physical and mental burden that will destroy your family and use you to make money while promoting fear.

Autism is needing to break even the most basic things down into smaller steps

Autism is suddenly laughing or making a random sound, movement or  saying something suddenly because you just processed something in your head that you are responding to

Autism is being overwhelmed by kids your age and not knowing how to interact with them

Autism is being overwhelmed in a crowd

Autism is  being overloaded when people are to wordy

Autism is struggling when there are to many verbal directions.

Autism is thinking visually

Autism is sleeping under a 20lb blanket because it helps you wake up less and sleep through the night and is super comfy!!!

Autism is wearing the same outfit you wore yesterday because it feels softer then the fresher cleaner ones.

Autism is watching the sidewalk sparkle in the sunlight as you walk.

Autism is looking at a brick wall, checkerboard pattern on repeated tile patterns and seeing changing shapes and designs  as you look at them

Autism is carrying around your favorite stuffed animal when your 14 and when your an adult

Autism is being 5  taking apart flashlight and pulling out the springs then putting it back together again.

Autism is dissecting flashlights and electronics into your adulthood

Autism is caring very deeply for friends and loved ones but forgetting to call or talk to them for long periods of time

Autism is getting so caught up in thought or in your own world you walk right into a street.

Autism is comfort in the repetitious and predictable.

Autism is 3 hour baths

Autism is being the child who never slept through the night and being the adult who still doesn't.

Autism is living in the moment

Autism is being detail oriented but being unable to organize or keep my room clean

Autism is watching the same movie over and over again

Autism is being a picky eater

Autism is randomly echoing the teacher in class

Autism is rocking, spinning, jumping had flapping to express emotions and to self regulate and regulate your senses.

Autism is stimming!!!

Autism is knowing your loved ones scent

Autism is curiosity

Autism is walking your own path

Autism is growing up with everyone trying to make you normal

Autism is trying so hard to please your parents and lived ones so you try to be normal and what you think they want even though it is exhausting and you get it all wrong anyways!

Autism is finally learning to accept yourself for who you are.

Autism is learning differently

Autism is loving your friends and family

Autism is never out growing your love of the swings, blowing bubbles in the park or going down the slide

Autism is imagination and creativity

Autism is loving water and swimming

Autism is being able to see and hear but needing a service dog to help guide you in crowds and alert you to specific sounds,

Autism is fighting to beat the odds

Autism is surpassing everyone's expectations

Autism is being fragile and resilient

Autism is determination

Autism is smelling, tasting, chewing and examining new objects

Autism is  seeing the traffic cone with the orange light on it and tasting the flavor of an orange lollipop In your mouth

Autism is finding a sing that you love and get a strong feeling from and playing it over and over again until it fades

Autism is just being happy sitting next to someone you love and not needing to say a thing to have a good time

Autism is exploring

Autism is getting so into something you loose track of time me and forget to eat

Autism is needing deep pressure

Autism is prescripting interactions and conversations

Autism is Ned exta supports and assistance

Autism is loving a full life and thriving through love, patience, acceptance, understanding and having the right supports

Autism is energy

Autism is sensations through your body when you see christmas lights

Autism is smelling christmas lights

Autism is good and bad

Autism is love

Autism is trusting

Autism is being different

Autism is being human

Autism is complex an complicated

Autism is individualized

Autism is living

Autism is so much more

Autism is a part of who I am

Autism is part of me

Somethings there are no words for so let these photos tell you the rest!

This is autism!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

TaptoTalk Review

  I am doing my first review!!! I am very sorry it has taken so long to finish this review this has been in draft form for a long time. I have spent a lot of time editing it and thinking about how to write these reviews, Because this is my first review it is likely to be a bit disorganized.

App: TaptoTalk


App price: free

Subscription *to customize app* : 

1 year $99.95
life time: $179.95 
   (one time payment)

Over View

TaptoTalk is a relatively simple and basic AAC app. TaptoTalk has an app you can purchase for free on the Ipad, tablet, iPod touch, IPad mini, kindle and androids/smart phones.  However the free app is very basic it comes with  a few basic starter albums with a pre recorded male voice. How ever you ca also download a few other free albums. Male starter, female starter, chicest, numbers and help me. Just to name a few. They also have learning albums for things such as learning arcs numbers and reading. These free albums are also available in Spanish.

In order to customize the app you will have to buy a subscription. You can  buy a one year which $99.95 or a life time which costs. $179.95 so round that up to 100 for. Year and 200 for a life time. They also have packages available for  agency's and pro for 2 or more children.

Once your Oder is complete and your account is set up you will receive an email with your log in information and then you can begin your editing. Over the week I used this app I found there were many circumstances in which i had to find ways to supplement this app and often found myself wishing it had some kind of keyboard. I was frequently editing and adding new albums as i frequently needed to add prescripted things I had not considered before. While it was a pain to constantly have to supplement it in many occasions due to my more advanced communication need this app was simple, easy and predictable which made basic communication fast and simple. in fact  most of my basic communication needs, asking for foo or drink, letting someone know i was going out or that i wanted to do something ect, were met with this app, Because this was my first time doing a testing period as well as my first review i did run into many glitches because of this I plan to retest and re-review the taptotalk app in a couple of months!  Below is my general  ratings and reviews of this app. 

Platforms: Ipad, Iphone, Ipod, internet, kindle fire, Android, laptop, desk top nook, nabi tablet Nintendo Ds and DSI

Challenges: being heard, setting up albums,

Pros: easy to use, great for pre-scripted conversations for easy fast communication, great starter app. excellent for communicating basic needs.good customer support. Good price for a one time payment (affordable) and most importantly this app is highly versatile and can be used on multiple platforms!

Cons:  the major cons are that you need to prescript EVERYTHING! you need to be able to predict what your child, loved one or yourself will need to say or express through out the day across multiple context. the editing can be a bit hard to get started too. i also dont like that you can not edit in app. additionally to update newly published albums you must have and internet connection,

(until I find a way to do star ratings I will us a 10 point scale  1 is poor  10 being the best)

Price ratting: 8
    For what it is it is pretty well priced

Versatility: Versatility rates how many platforms I can use this app on. can I use it on multiple platform for free or will I have to but another version on other platforms?

Versatility: 10
       Okay this is this apps highest ratting!!!  When it comes to versatility taptotalk is amazing and you wont have to pay extra for it and this is great!

voice quality: the realistic 1 being very mechanical and 10 being human sounding) 6, I chose to give

voice quality: 6

voice volume: The voice volume rating rates how easily this app is heard directly from the device with out the aid of a good blue tooth speaker. it is broken down into 2 sections at home, which covers relatively quite places such as at home but also othe quiet places like libraries and places with minimal noise and in public which is the ratting for the ability to hear this app outside on walks, in store at the park ect. Your voice is how well your own voice recording is heard. then we have the over all rating.

at home: 6
  this is a  because depending on whats going on you will want the volume to be up pretty high.

In Public: 2
 this got a 2 because it is nearly impossible to hear out in public on the Ipad. however it was a bit easier (not much) to hear on a smart phone in a relatively quiet place.

Your voice:  7
When you record your own personal voice it is generally always louder and easier to hear both in public and at home then the synthetic voices.

Over all volume ratting: 5

Customization: How easy is this app to customize?

Customization ratting:  6
         I gave this app a six because it is a bit difficult to learn hot to set up the albums but also because it can not be customize in app. this means a parent can not add things as needed, nor can adult who might have higher communication needs and can manage their own account/device. Additionally while you can now use the tap to talk designer on the Ipad and Iphone you can not use it on a regular smartphne. You are also not able to record your own voice using the Ipad.

usage with growth (the ability to meet more complex needs as child or adult grows and develops their communication skills with the app and use it for more complex communication)

Usage with growth: 4

For this I give taptotalk a 4 because while it can be used for evan those who are verbal to communicate basic needs it is not sufficient to cover more complex communication needs.

Suggestion to the company.  Tap to talk is a great app one major thing I might suggest it adding a key board  and or maybe a second app that allows you to make picture sentences as opposed to all pre-scripted conversation.  I would also suggest adding more voices and ideally louder ones. I also suggest making it so parents and care givers can record their voices while editing on the ipad and extending the editing abilities to regular smart phones.

Suggestions to the family and individuals using this app:  To the families either considering this app or who have it already. I would suggest having a second AAC to supplement this app when needed. I also strongly suggest 1 or 2 speakers to amplify the sound. a Bluetooth speaker is great for while in stores and a wire speaker is great for at the table or at school (some place you wont be moving around a lot and the ipad can just sit on the desk.

Other: Tap to talk has other uses too. they have advertised the ability to use this to also help learn things like the alphabet and basic counting and math.


    In conclusion TaptoTalk is an excellent starter app for those just starting out using AAC apps and devices. TaptoTalk's simple easy to use interface allows the child or adult express their basic needs, desires and feeling quickly and easily. Sadly it does not meet the needs of individuals with complex communication needs and abilities with AAC apps do to the fact it is all based on pre-scripted communication.  Yet  to it's easy of use and simplisty is is still a great app to have. while many kids might outgrow this app it can still be functional for covering basic needs.

I highly suggest this app for  those just starting out  with communication apps as it is very basic easy and simple. What might surprise you is I also suggest this app for adult and children with Autism who are verbal as well particularly if they have a tendency to become non verbal under stressful situations, when scared, injured, lost ect as it is simple and easy to use and convey important possibly life saving information. This apps versatility is als a strong point for both those who are non verbal and those who may only need it on occasions as it can be used on a wide verity of platforms it can be available quickly and easily  With the support of a second app TaptoTalk is a great app to have for even advance communicators! 

Over all App rating:  7


 Have any suggestions for other review? Do you have an experience with tap to talk that you would like to share?  please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message 

Thank you


Saturday, August 10, 2013

What happened to Nimrodel?


    Nimrodel (Nim-row-dell) is now 10 years old and for those of you who don't know Nim has worked beside me for may years as my partner, best friend and Service dog. her tasks made it possible for me to manage many of the basic day to day things i struggle with due to my autism and she has on more then one occasion been a life saver for me. simply put she has been my life line for the past few years and before she was task trained and became a service dog she was my emotional life line. Nim is the reason I wake up everyday and even on the worst days. since she has retired to at home service i she is what i look forward to most, seeing her run up to me wagging her tail and getting kisses. Recent;y Nim has become very ill.

what happened to Nim?
well yesterday was a lot like any other day, we woke up and hung around the house a bit Nim seemed sore and i was waiting for an hour after my meds kicked in to take Nim out as she seemed content to just nap. after a bit i took her out. after she went out to pee and poop (just her first short walk) we went back in and i started to do some work on my blog. Nim decided to lay down and wait for me to be ready for our 1 mile walk. after a few minutes i hear Nim doing something so I turned to look and she was up on the mini trampoline and it seemed like she was going to use it to climb up on the bed for some cuddling.. however when i called her she didnt try to get up. she seemed i thought to be trying to decide how to do it. in hinesight i think i noticed her head moving a bit but it didnt register at the time. then I hear what sounded like a ripping sound so i lead her off the mini trampoline thinking it was going to break under her and I didn't want her to get hurt *i couldn't have imagined what was about to unfold*

when i got her off i realized it wasn't a ripping sound there was not tare then at second glance I realized it! it was pee! Nim had peed through the mini trampoline! so i asked her if she needed to go out and she started walking sideways towards me! this worried me she was walking at an angle seemed like she wanted a wall for support..a quick glance it looked like she was holding up her back leg and she fell. then she got up and fll again. i panicked! i scream and broke into tears i called pat and fought through my tears that it was an emergency and nim needed to get to a vet. then i ran to my roommate i could hear her getting up and falling but i was paralyzed in fear for a few minutes. we came out and nim was in the bathroom, she followed us out walking sideways and fell again. then it got even worse. she began looking like she was trying to get up and falling back really quickly in a repetitive and circular motion. she was literally spinning around the kitchen and across the room doing this. i scream as my knees buckled just crying. i couldn't even talk to the vet i was such a horrible mess. all i could think was that i was seeing my dog suffering and dying a horrific death! i thought they were seizures. Sarah did what she could to keep me calm reminding me to stay with nim and to pet her no matter how bad it got. i wanted to close my eyes and make it all go away. there was nothing worse then seeing Nim go through this! after she got off the phone with the vet we wrapped her up in blankets and protected her head. *Sarah suggested it as i couldn't think clearly at all at this point!

We knew things were really bad because when pat here she didn't even seem to realize he was in the room. normally she runs around in excitement when she so much as hears his car and when he walks in the house. however this time he came right up to her but it was like he wasnt even there. we all slowly and carefully lifted her onto the blanket and loaded her into the car. as soon as we got there staff came out and we got her into the office. they checked her temp 104.9 and we went over our week and what it could be ruling out what it wasn't. Nim was realy out of it. her eyes were glazed over and she couldn't even get off her side. when she would sit up she swayed. When the doctor came in he checked her over and checked for an ear infection. her ears looked good so he moved on to test her eyes and her sense of touch. through these tests he found she lost vision in her left eye. she also lost sensation in her front left leg. He said that it looked like she has old dog vestibular disease but her loss of vision in one eye and loss of sensation in her front leg is unusual so it could have been a stroke or possibly a brain tumor. the good news is that if it is old dog vestibular disease most dogs who get this recover to nearly 90 plus percent back to normal. Unfortunately it would cost thousands of dollars to figure out which for sure. while we waited for mom to get there Nim started to show some improvements. her eyes cleared up and she waged her tail when mom walked i showing she was aware. she also tried to sit up but didn't have to much of a rolling fit with our support. after reviewing our options we said we will take her home and see how she does with supportive care. We plan to reassess in a 5 plus day. We have much hope that she will regain her ability to stand and walk and may make a near full recovery! we are praying very hard for this

Nim's care: for care she needs subcutaneous fluids twice a day on antibiotics and aspirin (coated) physically nim cant really use her limbs and sways when she sits up. she is also tilted to the left the vet said this is classic with old dog vestibular syndrome and will likely improve if the diagnosis is correct but may always tilt her head a bit to the left. Still unable to walk


Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers she means everything to me!

FOLLOW Nim's recovery at

Saturday, June 29, 2013

being heard in public and batteriy drain and keeping a charge

     how is everyone? I just wanted to give a quick update and share with you some of the challanges of relying on an AAC app for communication. one of the challenges i have been running into is being heard. it seems neither the ipad nor the phone speaker are quite loud enough to be heard while out and about. either outside or in stores. this of coarse shouldn't come as much of a shock when you think about it people generally have to speak louder when outside their homes in order to be heard. to deal with  this issue i have gotten my bluetooth speaker. this seems to be working quite nicely now. however this comes with its own challenges. i need to remember to charge it. 
    in fact on of the major down sides to relying on the cell or an ipad for communication other then being easly drowned out by sound is the charge. you need to fully charge these deceives at night and charge them when not in use as the AAC will drain the battery. generally i still get nearly a full days use of my AAC without charging during the day but i will be almost out of battery by 8 pm and need a charge so if i am planning on going out i will need to charge while at home. it is also wise to plan to pack chargers and car chargers when going out just encase you end up out later then expected. I plan to post a blog with photos of my  gear soon. For now I wish you all a good night  im off to sleep.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My FIRST guest blogger!!! Melody Rain her post " wandering How I do it and what it might look like"

    Alright i very very excited to announce we have an awesome (and my FIRST) guest blogger Melody Rain!  Melody is also an adult on the autism spectrum and an advocate for autism awareness. She is a great advocate  with a lot of information and insight on autism Bellow is a piece written by Melody rain and what autism is like for her and what you can do to help!

. Melody I want to thank you for allowing me to share this amazing piece of writing with everyone and for your work in spreading awareness and understanding as an adult with Autism!! thank you Melody!

" "Wandering....How I do it/ What it May Look Like, Why and What You Can Do(in hopes to help parents of children with autism who like to wander)"
Written by Melody Rain copyright 2013.

Everyone has seen people walking. Usually when you see a person or a child walking they look pretty determined and focused on where they are going. Most people when they see someone outside walking they do not think anything of it...especially if it is an older child or an adult. Therefore, wandering can be overlooked and people may not recognize that the child or adult may be in danger. 
So how does wandering differ in appearance from someone who is walking to a purposed destination? A person who is walking to a purpose destination may like I said appear determined. They may be walking at a normal pace or even briskly. They may be looking ahead or looking around consistently. They will stop at the end of sidewalks and look both ways before crossing. They may smile or nod as they pass by you and appear like they are completely aware of their surroundings. What might it look like if a person with autism is WANDERING? 
Here are some differences. A person with autism while wandering may have their head down watching their own footsteps or may be focused on an object in their hands. They may look or have a fixated stare either at an object or just wherever they are looking. They may not seem to be aware of their surroundings...but rather in their own world. They may be humming repetively, doing other repetitive movements, or walking in a slow repetitive like motion. Usually their pace will be slower than typical walkers. They may stop in the middle of their pace and just stand....they may even stop in the middle of the road. They may seem completely unaware of any dangers. They may stop to look at things or objects that catch their eye....they may be touching this object. They may be walking towards a water source or around a water source. They may be walking in very hot weather (when typical people may not want to walk), in the rain, in very cold weather, in snow or at night...especially very late. If you speak to them they may not respond or look at you. They may appear deaf. 
There seems to be a need or a desire to wander in many who have autism. Often times I just feel inspired to wander. Sometimes it happens when something dramatic or difficult happened that day. It sometimes feels like an escape from everything around me. It feels good to wander. I have been a wanderer since a young child...though I have not found myself in dangerous situations as a CHILD when wandering mostly because I was found. As an adult I have been in a few dangerous situations such as people who have tried to kidnap me or take me when I have wandered late at night. I do not always completely "check out" when I wander but I seem to be somewhere in the middle of both worlds. Many people who wander may be completely oblivious to all surroundings.
So as a parent you have probably tried to take precautions in order to protect your wandering child or adult child. Locking the doors /windows with alarms to alert you...notifying neighbors to keep watch out for your child, police etc. But here is something else you can do. This may not prevent or discourage all wandering but it may help. Take time with your child or adult child to allow him or her the ability to wander. You think what do you mean??? Well often you might go on a walk to relieve stress or recoop your mind from a hectic day. Your child may need this too in their own way. If your child is a runner or darts out impulsively you certainly want to make sure you do this in a very safe environment. Take your child to a park, big field where there are lots of trees nearby or on a walk somewhere there is not any traffic and allow THEM to lead the walk with you close enough to grab them or be near them incase of any dangers. During this wandering walk allow it to be as much time as they need and DO NOT use this time for conversating, talking or causing any un-necessary distractions. This is their time to unwind, relax and just feel free. 
Written by Melody Rain (adult autistic/advocate and an occasional wanderer) Written to help parents understand a little bit more about the autistic mind."  - by Melody Rain  


Saturday, June 22, 2013

this week has become trouble shooting week

      I am sorry i haven't been posting about my experiences however this week has been mostly trouble shooting. it is taking me a bit to get a handle on what albums i will need and things i may want to say during the day. this how ever has helped me realize just how much work goes into setting up and getting an AAC app to work properly. due to the fact i have spent this week trouble shooting i will be extending the testing period a whole week. so day one will officially start Monday. this should give me enough to to put the finishing touches on each album and maybe get some family members to help out with that.

 i also finally have a working laptop. this has actually made editing and setting up tap to talk much easier. I highly suggest anyone who is looking into getting or has just gotten a taptotalk subscription that they get access to a computer for setting up the albums. while you can set them up via safari on your i pad and I phone it is not as efficient as a computer and it takes a lot more time. I should also note you can not access or use the taptotalk designer on your smart phone at this time this is something i hope that changes in the future especially since the app is available for non iphone smart phones. again sorry for the delay and thank you so much for your patients.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Taptotalk testing day one mild frustration and starting over

Okay so today was ,y first day testing the tap to talk. I was very excited when they day started! I couldn't wait to get started. However today has been a but frustrating for me. When I started up my tap to talk and started using it I realized I had a few issues. The first issue was that when I started to use the app I realized that I had forgotten to save something's when creating the albums so some albums didn't have speech to them or had the speech all mixed up and wrong. Something I will need to fix today.the second was that all my apps were for one sided conversation. I wan I need. So I ended up supplementing with a separate app most of the day.. I will have to go and create new albums . I suspect I will have to create an album for each person I may interact with and places I may go with pre scripted questions. I also ended up talking by need yesterday so I will start over fresh today and Ladd an exra day to my testing period   On the plus side nim and I got to go for a very lovely walk together and have some nice relaxing  muddy and watery fun! Nothing  cheers you up quite like a hike in the woods!!!!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Testing starts tomorrow!!!!

      I am sorry I have been away for so long! I have been very busy with medical related stuff, but I have recently been given the all clear and can resume my regular daily activities!!! Yay! Mao tomorrow starts my first testing period!! I will be testing tap to talk for the next 2 weeks! During those weeks I will not be speaking at all unless it is a emerganceys (assu,ing I can get the words out in an emerganceys)  I will be using tap to talk for all of my communication with the outside world. Should I need to supplement it with another app I will document in my review. So over the next 2 weeks i will be blogging about my experiences using tap to talk! i cant wait!!!!! I also plan to hopefully be doing a pos about service dogs for autism soon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DSM 5 criteria for Autism.

      As most of you know the DSM 5 was released earlier last month. The dsm 5 for those who don't know is the fifth edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. This is basically a revised updated edition of the dsm. This was a high,y controversial revision as just about everything in the dsm changed? One of the most controversial changes was to autism. The 5 autism spectrum disorders where merged into one disorder known as autism spectrum disorder.  These are Aspergers, childhood disintegrative disorder classic autism and pdd -nos. I want to make it very lol ear anyone who has previously been diagnosed with any of the above are automatically now considered to have autism spectrum disorder and will not loose their diagnosis and should not loose any services! It hey also added severity levels to the dsm. I have spent the last few weeks trying to get a view of the final criteria and I have finaly gotten it and couldn't wait to share it with my readers. Here it is. Sorry the photos are kind of bad I took them with a cell phone.these are from a small dsm. Handbook I hope to obtain photo copies of the criteria from the big dsm 5 soon!  I will also post a link to a video explaining them.  I hope you enjoy I want to know what do you think of the new criteria? Would you add or change anything?  If you disagree with someone I simply ask that you not turn it into a fight thank you

Dsm 5 criteria 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

First post on TaptoTalk set up

      as you may know I will be doing my first testing session on an app known at TaptoTalk. Since my testing period had to be delayed due to medical issues I will have more time to set it up and get it ready for testing.  I plan to add a video demonstration of this soon..

    Tap to talk is an app you can purchase for free on the Ipaad, tablet, iPod touch, IPad mini kindle and androids/smart phones.  However the free app is very basic it comes with  a few basic starter albums with a pre recorded male voice. How ever you ca also download a few other free albums. Male starter, female starter, chicest, numbers and help me. Just to name a few. They also have learning albums for things such as learning arcs numbers and reading. These free albums are also available in Spanish.

In order to customize the app you will have to buy a subscription. You can  buy a one year which $99.95 or a life time which costs. $179.95 so round that up to 100 for. Year and 200 for a life time. They also have packages available for  agency's and pro for 2 or more children.

Once your Oder is complete and your account is set up you will receive an email with your log in information 

At first setting up the albums can be intimidating. It is a good Idea to use the start as a basic template  . I plan to be adding a video on editing the albums but for now here are some photos of what task to talk designer looks like,  as you will see I have already started making albums. Minutes below is a pictorial guide on album set up using the iPad. The one down side is the album set up needs to be done via the web and currently can not be done in app.


Start with going to

Click save as new page to make a sub album

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Testing Delay So What AAC App Will I Be Testing First And When?

Hello Readers,
         I am sorry to report that due to medical issues I will have to  postpone My first app test and review for a couple of weeks. I plan to start my testing on June 10th. This was not an easy decision for me to make. I concidered stating the testing this week and cutting it a bit short, however this didn't seem right of fair. I want to be able to review the app after a full 2 weeks of testing. Si i will have to move the testing and review phase up a bit. The good news is that it gives me more time to set up the app for testing!

now to the reveal,

The first AAC app that is will be reviewing is.......... TapToTalk,

I chose this app mostly because it is the first AAC app that i had ever heard of so this was the first one to really start my interest in AAC apps this was also the first AAC app i ever purchased

sorry this is such a short blog post. I will try to post more tomorrow
   Have a Great Night

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What to expect int the up coming weeks!

    I know I have not posted in a few days, however  things have been pretty busy and I have not had that much time to post. I just wanted to keep everyone updated I am currently working on the criteria I will use to rate each AAC C application. I will be publishing it here with in the next few days.  I will be starting my first testing phase Monday May 20th!!  Between now and then I will be setting up the AAC app  for use! I will be reviewing the  app  I will be testing on Tuesday!

What to expect between now and my review,

Between Sunday and Monday revealing of  review outline *the outline will be subject to change as need be *

Tuesday- the revealing of what app is up for testing

 Tuesday until the 20th  posts on,The initial impression, Set up phase, and I may also post on other topics such as service dog and current life events.

May 20th-June 3rd testing phase. Expect posts about experiences with the app and testing, any amusing stories. I may also post on other things  of interest such as service dogs *note this blog is always subject to posts on service dogs* :)

June 3rd last day of testing I may or may not get in a final post before I start my review
App review published between the dates of the 4th and the 8th *this is subject to change* depending on time it takes to write the review and the amount of time I have to write the review.

That brings us all the way into to June!  Once the review is complete I will then decide and post the schedule for my next testing phase!

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


     I figured I would start my first post off with a little bit of an introduction to myself as well as a bit about what this blog is all about. I will be completely honest, I am new to this whole blogging thing so this may come off as a bit choppy. I am and adult living with Autism  and though I have managed to accomplish many things in life it has taken many years of hard work and struggling to get to where I am today. Before I go any further I want to make this very clear as a write this that I am only ONE adult with autism and so can only speak for my own experiences in life. please keep in mind that no two people on the autism spectrum are exactly the same.  I will be using this blog to write reviews on AAC apps that I test out, I  also plan to do some writing about  service dogs for Autism and about my life experiences as a person with Autism in general.
 Who am I
           I am just one girl with autism who is trying to make her way in this life and maybe hopefully I can find a way to help others along the way. I am verbal now but when I was a child I had a moderate speech delay.  I was very fortunate to have gotten early intervention from the age of 8 months and I largely attribute that to making it possible to get to where I am today.  In-spite of my early intervention  it still took many years of intensive therapies such as speech, play and occupational therapies. Animals also played a major role in helping me learn to interact with others.  This is kinda just a brief and vague description of my past.  I managed to graduate high school and am now in college. One day I would like to work training service dogs. Against all the odds I am also happily engaged and I spend a fair amount of time  advocating and educating people on autism service dogs.

       Why am i reviewing AAC.Apps?

           Recently I have developed something of a special interest in AAC apps and their use. This interest started as I started thinking on my own thought processes and communication struggles(yes I am verbal but i still have trouble communicating my thoughts, feeling  and needs at times) I really wish these apps were around when I was little and learning how to communicate verbally. I do think they would have helped me a lot. Not only with learning to communicate but also with getting my wants and needs out when I could not get the words to come out. This interest grew stronger last year after having my thyroid removed as I was predominantly non verbal for a while. Until my voice came back I utilized AAC apps to communicate my wants and needs. Since then I have  spent a lot of time researching various AAC apps and thinking on ways to improve them.  Earlier this week I began wishing I could get paid to test and review various AAC apps but that didn't seem likely to happen so I put it on my list of jobs that would be awesome to have but don't exist or that I'm not likely to get, and went on with my life. However the other day while I was walking, my now retired to the title of at home service dog, Nim I decided I wasn't going to just give up on that dream. I may not be able to get paid for it but I can still test out and review AAC apps! So  that is what this blog is for. My reviews and writing my experiences while testing these apps out! I do this in hope that my reviews might help others along the way.

My testing process

   I plan to spend 2 weeks testing out each app, during those 2 weeks I will utilize that AAC  app as my sole means of communication, only using my voice for emergencies, should I need to utilize a second app I will note that in my reviews as well as write how often I had to use a second AAC app. Through out the two weeks may write up a short post on experiences that I have had using the app and any funny stories. When the two weeks have finished I will write a review on the app. I still have to work on coming up with the exact  criteria for exactly how I will review them, however some areas will include versatility (how well can I use this in different plat forms, sound quality, ease of use, ease of editing, cost and practicality.these are only a few areas I will be rain ting these apps!

I hope to be doing my first testings and review in the next few weeks, I plan to keep you updated until then.
          - AutismDogGirl