Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Needed To Hug A Teacher Today

It has been four days since the news broke, and I still cannot wrap my heart and my mind around what happened.

26 dead.
6 teachers.
20 children.

Children, for God's sake!

Innocent souls with pure hearts and innocent minds.
Oblivious to the "bad guys" that roam this world.
In a building that we all assume is one of the safest places to send our most precious gifts
Taken too soon and given wings more magical than their little imaginations could dream of.

I am sad.
I am angry.
I am fearful.
I am speechless.
I am weak.
I am a Mom.

This could happen anywhere.
At anytime.
And it did.
And although it happened over 800 miles from my home....over a 12 hour car drive away...it feels as though it happened in my own neighborhood.

Oh, those sweet, sweet souls.
 
Today was the first day that I drove my children to school since this horrific event last Friday.
I was scared.
I wanted to keep my two most precious gifts in my life that God gave me in my house with me today.
But I knew I couldn't.
I knew they needed to maintain their own "normal lives" even though I was struggling with my own.
I can't keep them safe from every bad guy out there.
So we went to school.
 
As I approached the street of my son's school, the sinking feeling in my stomach got worse.
My hands were shaking as I held the steering wheel.
I was nauseous.
I was bouncing back and forth between hot flashes and cold sweats.
Naive to my feelings, my two children sat in the backseat and listened and sang along to Christmas carols.
I wish I was that naive to the world around me.
I sat in the carpool drop off line and waited for directions to pull forward.
I watched young, innocent children hold the hands of their teachers and skip into school.
My own son was wrestling with his back pack and couldn't wait to join in!
 
"Mom, we are having a jammie day at school today with popcorn!"
 
Yes, my son was wearing his Spiderman jammies to school today.
They were celebrating a class accomplishment today with PJs, popcorn and a movie.
 
I don't remember driving anymore until I realized that my car was stopped and my son was asking for help to get out of the car.
I was numb.
As I got out to walk him around the car to the waiting teacher, it happened.
 
I always kiss the top of my son's head and tell him to have a good day and that I will see him soon and we will play.
Did I do that?
I don't know.
All I remember is walking up to that teacher and hugging her.
 
And I cried.
Not just a misty-eyed cry.
I cried those big, huge, fat tears.
And the only words that I could whisper to her were "I needed to hug a teacher today."
And she hugged me.
She said something to me, but I don't know what it was.
 
(For all I know she was telling me to stop hugging her and that she was going to call security!)
But I doubt that.
 
And I am sure that I was holding up the carpool drop off line, but I don't care.
Because I needed to hug a teacher today.
And that sad, angry, fearful, speechless weak Mom that I was five minutes ago was now gone.
 
Because I needed to hug a teacher today.
 
 


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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HWT for iPad (original)

This is huge!
Thank you sooooooo much iTunes and HWT for updating this app so us original iPad users can use it, too!
And by the looks of it, he loves his app!

Friday, December 7, 2012

SpeechBox App for iPad Giveaway WINNER!




Thank you to all who participated in this giveaway!
And a special thank you to SpeechBox App for designing an app that will surely help our winner!

Now, the winner of a copy of the SpeechBox App for iPad is........

NICOLE KAPLAN KELLEY!

CONGRATS!

Nicole, you have 24 hours to contact me via email at apraxiamom@gmail.com to claim your prize!
(NOTE:  If I do not hear from Nicole within 24 hours of this posting, a new winner will be chosen.)

Again, for more information on the SpeechBox App, visit their website at www.speechbox.com or follow them on their Facebook or Twitter pages.
The app is also available for iPad and iPhone at the App Store!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SpeechBox App for iPad Review and Giveaway!

 
In the world of apraxia, speech therapy, special needs and special education, there has to be an easier way to get your child to participate in therapy, isn't there?
Special needs or not, child or adult, there are days that we just don't want to work.
I have those days quite often, as do my children.
But in a child with a speech and language disorder, you really can't afford to take a day off, can you?
So we don't.
But as I ran out of new ideas in the realm of speech therapy creativity, I stumbled across an amazing app:  Speech Box App by the Jonah Bonah Learning Company!
 
SpeechBox™ was designed and developed by a father of a three year old with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, who also happens to be an iPhone & iPad app developer. After using a variety of other apps to work with his child he realized there was a need for a simple, easy to use, and customizable app to practice words with his child.

Once I downloaded the app, I was amazed at the ease of use!
On the home screen, you will notice several boxes which are labeled with all of the speech sounds.
What caught my eye immediately was that they were alphabetized!



Many other apps out there divide speech sounds into their appropriate category:  bilabial sounds, fricative sounds, velar sounds, alveolar sounds, affricate sounds, glottal sounds, liquid sounds, and so on.
(Are you impressed that I whipped those out like that???)
But having the sounds in alphabetical order makes it easier for the parent or caregiver to go directing to the sound that they are concerned, allowing them to immediately work on that sound with the child!

BRILLIANT!

Also, when you choose the sounds that you want to work on, you also have the option (at the bottom of the screen) to select initial, medial or final sound.

iPhone-and-iPad-app-developer-Dad, you get a high-five for that one, too!
When you are done with the picture you can swipe to remove it from the box or pinch it to put it back in the box.
Very simple.
Very easy to navigate.

"SpeechBox™ is a iPad app designed to work with Children with Apraxia of Speech, Autism, Down’s Syndrome, and other Speech Language disorders. Parents, Educators, Speech Therapists, etc. can work with Children and practice speaking simple words in a beautiful interface with engaging colorful pictures.
Within moments of opening the app you can get started practicing. There are no complex menus to navigate through before being presented with the pictures. You simply tap on a box, and it displays it’s contents. Selecting a picture is as moving around the pictures and tapping on the one you wish to view. When you are done with the picture you can swipe to remove it from the box or pinch it to put it back in the box.
Not only can you work with the over 700 beautiful retina quality pictures, but you can add your own pictures using the iPad’s camera or photo library. Now you can add pictures of friends, family and other common objects the child can practice with."

It is a fun way to select pictures, too!
I let my children tap the photo and then swipe it away when they got it right!
Giggles and speech therapy should always go together!

Creating custom boxes was also a "plus" for me!
I could make one for school, one for home, and one for family!
How many other apps out there let you do that???
Not many at all....except this one!

You could also custom-record names of pictures.
Your child may respond to your voice (or your therapist's voice) in a different way than they would with the automated voice most apps come with!
If you choose not to custom record, this app allows you to choose between male or female voice, too.


And you can add/customize new pictures as well!
I have reviewed many apps and have tons and tons of apps on our iPad.
Simply put, this app is my all time favorite!!!
Hands down, I love it!
And I cannot thank iPhone-and-iPad-app-developer-Dad (who also has a child with a speech and language disorder) for designing an app like this!

So, on behalf of that awesome Dad (and Jonah Bonah Learning Company) they would like ONE READER to have a copy of this app as well!

 Here are a few ways that you can enter:
1.  Leave a comment on this blog post about the app.
2.  Leave a comment on SpeechBox App's facebook page and tell them that you heard about this app from me!  You must make sure that you "LIKE" their page as well!
3.  Leave a comment on my facebook page.
4.  Follow SpeechBox on Twitter.

***PLEASE NOTE:  if the selected winner already owns SpeechBox App, they will get a $20 iTunes gift card instead.***

The contest runs from Wednesday December 5, 2012 through Friday, December 7, 2012.
Winner will be announced on my Facebook page on Friday, December 7, 2012 after 12:00 noon CST. 
Winner to be chosen at random.
The more ways you enter, the better your chances to win!
 
For more information about SpeechBox App as well as the developer, visit their website here.  Or it is available in iTunes by clicking here!
 
Thank you, SpeechBox App, Jonah Bonah Learning Company, and all involved in this app!
 
GOOD LUCK!!!!
 
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Glad I Can Translate!

Today, I wanted my son to put his socks on.
Seeing that he is 5, he should do this independently.
And 98% of the time he does do it independently.
But then there's that 2% which comes into play once in a while.

Like today.

"Mom! My foot is broke!"

Now, I switched to RN mode STAT!
Wait.
Didn't hear him fall.
Didn't hear him jumping around.
I hardly think he broke his foot.
And he wasn't crying.
Check. Check. Check. Check.
I took that assessment as "all is well".

Then He walked up to me with a sock, inside out and twisted.

"Mom, my foot is broke".

Thank goodness I could translate that one!