Archive for June, 2009

brokenwindowSafety is of course a big issue when you have a child with autism. We have 3 locks on the front door, internal door locks, window locks, 8 ft fences around the garden and so on and so forth.


For a while we had a problem with windows being broken – from headbutting. Frayed nerves all round – well mine were frayed, my son was fairly oblivious to the danger. Our windows were very old and needed to be replaced at huge cost. It wasn’t an easy process and it took a long time and several complaints from me but we were able to get some funding from a Disabled Facilities Grant.  


These are not means tested for children. To apply you need to ask your social worker for a referral to an occupational therapist. He or she will visit and carry out and assessment. It was worth the time and hassle – it meant we could get the windows double gazed and they are now much safer. 


We’ve had to try and find various other safety solutions in the past. For a while I thought about starting a social enterprise that would source, develop and supply safety products for people with autism. In the meantime I came across this site, BabySecurity which looks to have a pretty huge range. OK it’s aimed at babies  and toddlers so some of the safety devices on there aren’t going to last 5 minutes faced with our kids, but it does look a good place to start. I could have done with the window film. 


They also have child trackers. Something that will be the subject of a post in the not too distant future- we have a camping trip coming up……


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Communication Matters is a UK charity concerned with supporting AAC. They run a series of roadshows where communication devices are demonstrated. These are usually free. 

List of dates here. 

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Ah never an easy one this one. There’s always the ubiquitous Thomas although after 10 years he does get a little tedious. I’ve recently tried to stop buying ‘therapy’ presents but it’s hard when your child needs something expensive and doesn’t really like toys (except Thomas).

Archie’s just had a birthday and for once we got something right. We bought him a hammock chair from hammock heaven. It’s huge, but the service was very good – speedy delivery – and it has been a success with all three boys. I suspect this might be the way to go in the future. I have bookmarked Bean Bag Bazaar as a potential christmas gift. Although we don’t do RDI I have seen children with autism (and those without!) having lots of fun playing on piles of beanbags.

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I rushed off to bed last night with a migraine, so didn’t really finish having a good look at Proloquo2Go. I’ve had a further play around today and found it is very easy to add new buttons using photos on the iTouch, and easy to shift buttons around so they’re stored in the categories you want. You can also resize the buttons to make them larger if you wish. This quick start guide gives a good indication of the sorts of things you can do with this app.

The only difficulty my son has had is learning to touch and let go. If you touch and hold the iTouch it doesn’t register. I would expect this to come fairly easily and may have arisen because my son is familiar with the boardmaker activity pad which requires the user to touch and hold the buttons for a bit longer.

I’ve also just been told about another app for the iPhone/iTouch called iPrompts which allows you to make visual timetables and has a countdown timer. Two of my favourite things for £29.99!

Video here:

We live on ‘first this, then this’ in our house. Guess what’s going to be my next purchase…..

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Wow, was my first thought when seeing this. Proloquo2Go is one of the most exciting products I have seen for a long time. An affordable and portable AAC system. All you need is an iPod Touch or iPhone and you’re well away. iPod Touch’s start from a very reasonable £150 -reasonable for an AAC device anyway. You then take a trip to iTunes and download the Proloquo2Go application which currently is available for an introductory price of £84.99 (soon to be rising to £114.99). Hey presto your iPod Touch or iPhone is a pretty powerful AAC device.

I downloaded it today onto my rather ancient iPod Touch. The new generation iTouch comes with inbuilt speakers, but the older models need an external speaker, I managed to find an old, basic portable speaker lying around at home  so have been using that. When Archie came home from school I showed him the application. He picked it up pretty much straight away and was soon asking for “I want apple”.

I’ll spend the next few days customising it so that it’s easier for Archie to find the symbols he commonly uses and I’ll also have a go at adding some photos of familiar items. This sort of versatility is usually only found on devices costing thousands. AssistiveWare who developed the Proloquo2Go application are dedicated to making powerful AAC devices affordable. They say (probably correctly) this can only be achieved by developing software for a consumer, rather than specialist device. Exciting times ahead.

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