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These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities suggested.
Check out our ipad apps info pack for more great tips & recommendations.
Washable keyboardI have just ordered a Logitech Washable Keyboard K310, as my son destroys keyboards with drool and sticky fingers after he raids the kitchen for food, then sits back at his computer. It's a washable keyboard that is easy to clean and easy to dry because it’s submergible in up to 30 cm (12 inches) of water and has convenient drainage holes at the back.
Hearts and Minds
You can get an iPad from Hearts and Minds, an autism charity based in Manchester through their mobile phone recycling scheme. Basically you register on the website and collect 165 old mobile phones to get an iPad
Games accessibility guidelines
Games accessibility guidelines is a website that aims to make games accessible for all users. It helps developers understand and avoid the simple barriers that can prevent millions of people from playing. You can also let the developers know how you think games could be made more accessible.
New social networking platform for young people with ASD. It offers a safe corner of the web to self-reflect, explore friendships, share interests and build confidence. Parents download the software and register their child. All content is secure and curated by parents and moderators: http://www.squag.com/
Apps for mobiles
I have just discovered how much my ipod touch (would also apply to an iphone) keeps my 16 year old disabled son amused. You can download all sorts of apps, like whole episodes of teletubbies and Thomas the tank engine etc.
Get Online @ Home
Get Online@Home is a great site for finding an affordable, internet-ready computer. Families on benefits; housing, income support, DLA (full list on website) can get a refurbished basic internet ready PC for £95. www.getonlineathome.org
I recently trained with the Apple store in Westfield shopping Centre, and I was pleased to see people with physical and learning disabilities on the course with me. The staff catered for everyone, even offering more support for people who needed it. Book free workshops with the apple store here
Big Keys Computer keyboards
I found this company useful, they make a range of Big Keys computer keyboards using colour keys and large key sizing www.keyboardspecialists.co.uk
To teach people to use a mouse on the computer I have found using the game solitaire is the best and cheapest. Playing covers all aspects of using a mouse: left click, right click, double click & drag and drop.
Free downloadable switch games
For some great switch games you can download for free go to: Games
Your IT Now
Your IT now provides computer and internet training and PA services to adults with learning disabilities in Somerset. www.youritnow.co.uk
Adaptive technology advice
Chris Peak is an adaptive technology specialist, who works with children and adults with profound and complex disabilities. Chris writes a really useful blog on adaptive technology for people with complex disabilities, as well as being our resident ICT expert. Blog
The Land of Me
The Land of Me is a collection of apps that inspire creativity, play, learning and fun. They have also done extensive research into the benefits to children with SEN. www.thelandofme.com
IT Can Help
IT Can Help is a charitable organisation that offers free computer support to people with disabilities. They can diagnose and fix most computer-related problems, install and set up hardware, software, internet, email and accessibility settings. www.itcanhelp.org.uk
Apps for autism
My daughter is at the lower functioning end of the autistic spectrum and the touch screen interface of an ipod has been so beneficial to her. She loves the sensory apps & enjoys using her ipod as it's so intuitive. Good ones for us are 'kids socks' for android, Bubblepop 123, Drums, Newtonica player, Awesome, anything by Duckduckmoose for ipod.
a4cwsn.com is a really useful site for teachers, therapists and family carers. It provides videos that demonstrate how products, designed to educate and build life skills for children with special needs, work. Independent advice helps you decide whether a product is suitable for your purpose or not.
ipad protective caseThe Otterbox Defender case seems to be the most rugged case to protect the ipad. The anti -glare screen protector is helpful too. You can also get a stylus which will reduce finger marks which affect the visibility of the screen for those with visual impairment or visual perceptual problems which a lot of autistic people have.
MyZone helps children and adults with learning disabilities find things on the computer. It features large buttons and simple navigation. MyZone
Sensory ipod apps
These sensory ipod apps are great for people with learning disabilities: Koi Pond, Bubble Popper, Piano Free, Drum set
A.I Type makes typing easier and faster. Very useful for students with learning disabilities. www.aitype.com
Internet Buttons is a new web tool that allows you to support people who are less confident using the internet. You can set up a page of buttons, which link to sites and services the person you are supporting might find useful or enjoyable. www.internetbuttons.org
Turn on Sticky Keys
The Sticky Keys feature on your computer can be very useful for people using a keyboard with one hand or a dabber. It helps when a shortcut requires a key combination, such as Control+Alt. http://bit.ly/fHXon5
Williton Signers provide interactive books and games for children and adults with communication needs. www.willitonsigners.co.uk
Safer internet booklet
The charity, Dimensions, has produced an easy-to-read safer internet booklet offering tips and advice for people with learning disabilities. The guide also offers guidance on internet bullying.
Apps for learning
There are some great learning tools you can get as apps for the ipod. My students' favourites are "Adventure" and Lunch box". If your child enjoys by watching video clips, try the Functional Skills System apps, such as "Describing" "Dress" "Communication Skills" "Personal" and "Manners".
I came across this website the other day. It gives advice on how to apply for grants for special/adapted computer equipment, and a list of organisations to apply to. www.abilitynet.org.uk
Interactive Visual Timetable
The Down's Syndrome Association created this software, which really helps with sequencing of events. It's free and you can add your own images: www.helpkidzlearn.com
Dobson's Choice is a 'Google' for people with learning disabilities. It helps people who have no reading and writing to find over 1,000 great accessible websites. www.dobsonschoice.co.uk
Accessible gaming sitesSome good websites I have found for info on accessible gaming: www.gamebase.info and www.oneswitch.org.uk Also a US site called www.ablegamers.com The people behind these sites are really friendly and helpful too.
CBeebies Something Special
CBeebies Something Special have great signing programmes for children which my 17 year old son loves. He also loves their website which has all the programmes and games www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/somethingspecial/
An autism teacher from Surrey has designed her own interactive computer software for autistic children. The games are affordable and especially designed with reference to the P-Scale system. You Tube videos on the site let you know what you're getting in advance. www.senassist.com/
Free touch screen games onlineI am mum to 3 year old Fraser, who has severe learning difficulties. He spent some time at a Child Development Centre during his ASD assessment where he responded well to their touch screen monitor. So we got him one at home and I started making some simple cause & effect games. I've now put these on line for other children to enjoy. www.special-needs-software.co.uk/touch-screen-games-a-z/
New gamesIf you need games for a game console but are finding them too expensive, ask other parents at your school - they're bound to have unwanted games or superseded ones. Another option is Ebay. People are always updating games or getting ride of ones they received as unwanted presents.
Great website with lots of games, songs, and other resources for people with disabilitieswww.do2learn.com
We put a gel sticker on the computer mouse button to help Tim use the mouse more easily.
Computers for the Disabled
I've been recommended a charity called Computers for the Disabled. Apparently they supply quality recycled PCs and new parts to the disabled and housebound. www.cftd.co.uk/cftd.htm
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