Jul 10, 2016

Summer Learning, Talking and Special Delivery Messages

It's been 2 weeks since my last post.  I've been hitting the letters hard with Ainsley. We have altered her routine. She LOVES to watch videos first thing in the morning (Netflix) so we started using our old DVD's instead. Anything with letters, phonics, word building etc.
  • Leap Frog (Letter Factory, Word Factory, Amazing Alphabet etc. they're all good)
  • Sesame Street  Do the Alphabet, All Star Alphabet
  • Animal ABC's
  • Your Child Can Read
  • Richard Scarry's Best ABC Video Ever
  • Martha Speaks
After a week or so of this she decided she'd rather play with toys than watch her morning videos. A result that is just fine with me. Now she's motivated to stand in her stander for "real" videos.

In addition to reducing and modifying her video time we started:
  • Daily review of the alphabet sounds with flashcards.
  • Interactive electronic book reading (tap words to speak) like Little Critters or Berenstain Bears  from Oceanhouse Media
  • Reading of our own personalized stories that I made with Pictello.
  • Nightly reading of (actual paper) books using modeling with our new AAC system
  • Daily writing practice with writing/tracing or phonics worksheets (workbooks)
  • alphabet activities like: this, thisthis, this or this
  • playing old Computer Games on my sister's old laptop (Pooh, Clifford, Richard Scarry, Franklin, Madeline, Little Bear etc.), she's got great mouse skills
  • IPad games like: 
For awhile that was great but now she's back to sneaking her favored games like Cut the Rope or Clumsy Ninja. I have to watch her closely and not get distracted which is easy for me to do. I'm probably going to have to look for some new materials to keep things fresh.

I think the work is paying off. She appears engaged and interested most times I work with her. 

We've seen some super exciting attempts with the AAC at long sentences after modeling them that way. She may not use the correct verb and word order but they are LONG, like the 10 word sentence below that SHE MADE BY HERSELF (The word I was there but it was too long to fit!) after talking with Steve, while I was finishing cooking dinner.

Earlier in the week during meal time she used the following phrases and her message was pretty clear! There is no question that she understands exactly the purpose of these phrases.

Today she got out her AAC device and brought up the word Disney Infinity and tried to copy it onto a piece of paper (D, then Infnty it's hard to read because it was written on some dried glue from a previous "project") which she then brought to Steve out in the garage to lure him into playing with her.  Of course we had to reward her with some DI time for her efforts! She was so proud and so were we! This looks like the beginning of writing at a new level!

A video showing one of the personalized book I made with Pictello (DisneyWorld 2015). 

We haven't had as much fun as we could but we did manage to get the kids to see Finding Dory and that was on Adrian's summer to-do list.  Evie and Adrian are off to camp today. Adrian was picked up by a friend and will be at Camp Colman for a week, returning just in time for his 13th birthday!

We made the road trip today to take Evie to camp. Sadly Evie's childhood friend chose ballet camp over horse camp this year but Evie still wanted to go. I'm proud of her for taking a chance and going anyway I hope she has a great time! Ainsley did awesome navigating the gravel trail in her walker!

Steve and I are very a bit jealous of these kids and their wonderful annual camp experiences! They've been going since they were SEVEN. 

It feels weird to have them gone but of course we still have Ainsley here. She goes to Camp Korey in 2 weeks. She is so excited! She had SO much fun last year! If you click on the link above you will see a picture of her riding on a horse on their website. 

I'll leave you with some recent photos of the kids that I took on the 4th of July. Hope you're having a great summer! Hopefully we'll get some sun soon here in the Pacific Northwest. 


  1. Long time reader of your blog, but this is my first comment. Do you know how to use Guided Access on the iPad? It locks the user into the app and you can only get out of the app with the passcode. I use it on my classroom iPad so my students have to stay in the app I have selected for them.

    1. Hi Mama K. Thanks for your comment. Yes we have used Guided Access. We tried it for the short time Ainsley was at school with the IPad. It made it difficult to adjust the volume and prevented reconnecting with the Bluetooth amplifier when it disconnected. Thankfully Ainsley is good about not opening apps at school but if she starts we will have no choice but to use it. At home we have her educational apps on the first page and the "fun" apps in a folder on the second page. I really wish Apple allowed password protection for specific folders. If it becomes a problem we may also uninstall her "fun" apps and put them on a separate device. This is the reason many people advocate an dedicated AAC device but then it is more convenient to carry one device than two.