Sunday, August 28, 2016

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Pokemon Apps for Kids

It's no secret that we like Pokemon around here.

In fact, both boys live and breathe Pokemon at the moment and have since last summer.

J sleeps with his giant Pikachu from Build-A-Bear every night, while K cuddles with his "baby Pikachu" that we won at West Edmonton Mall's Galaxyland earlier this summer. And there's not a day that goes by where tiny Pokemon figures hang out on our kitchen table while we eat.

So when my husband surprised me with an iPad back in May, we, naturally, had to check out what was available in terms of Pokemon apps for kids. If your kids are just getting into Pokemon due to the popularity of Pokemon Go, then you must check out these other apps too!

Pokemon apps for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Pokemon Apps for Kids

1. Pokemon Shuffle - One of J's favorite games, Pokemon Shuffle is a puzzle game similar to like Bejeweled, but instead of lining up jewels, you line up Pokemon heads to battle an opposing Pokemon. Tons of fun and the music is catchy!

2. Camp Pokemon - This app is so much fun! It allows kids to hunt for Pokemon, throw pokeballs, and play a variety of other Pokemon games.

3. Pokemon Go - Get outside and collect Pokemon in the wild! Such a great way to get active with the kids.

4. Pokemon Trading Card Game - If your kid is a fan of playing the physical card game, then they'll love the online version as well! I also recommend using this app to learn how to play the game. So if your kid is just starting out and wants to learn all the rules, then playing the online app is the best way to learn!

5. Pokemon TV - Just like the name suggests, this app is a giant collection of Pokemon TV episodes.

6. Guide for Pokedex - Although this app is not an official Pokemon Company app, it is still a nice app for Pokemon fans. It is basically an app version of the entire Pokedex so kids can scroll through and learn about their favorite Pokemon.


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Saturday, August 27, 2016

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Speech Apps for Kids to Work on Classifying, Associations, & Categorizing

The ability to categorize and classify objects is an important language skill. It helps with vocabulary, comprehension, and expressive speech skills, for instance.

Since comprehension difficulties and expressive speech delays are a common feature of hyperlexic kids, it is a good idea to build their classification and categorization skills in order to improve their comprehension and encourage expressive language. This list of speech apps for kids focuses specifically on making those connections between objects.

Speech apps for kids with autism or hyperlexia to practice classifying and categorizing objects as well as making associations from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Apps for Kids to Work on Classifying & Categorizing Objects

1. Category Therapy - I really like how this app starts off by focusing on concrete categories and then moves to subcategories and abstract categories. It offers four different games to play for each level of difficulty and covers tons of different categories. You can try the free lite version first.

2. Let's Name Things Fun Deck - A flashcards style app with bright and colorful illustrations, this app presents a category for kids to name things that fit within it.

3. Early Child Education Associations Game - Simply drag and drop the things that go together in this bright and colorful app!

4. Describe it to Me - This app is a must have because it covers so many different skills, including identifying categories of objects.

5. Autism & PPD Associations - This app uses short scenarios to help kids making associations between objects to figure out what goes together. It is complimented by a quick animation when kids pick the right answer.

6. Autism & PPD Categories - Similar to the above Autism & PDD Associations app, this app uses short scenarios to help kids practice categories.

7. Categories Learning Center - Another great app from Smarty Ears that uses a variety of games to practice categorizing objects.

8. Go-Togethers - As the name suggests, this app focuses on pairing words that go together in semantic associations. We love Smarty Ears apps, but haven't tried this particular one yet. It does look like a great app though.

9. Associations from I Can Do Apps, LLC - This app uses five different activities to work on building associations and it uses bright photographs.

10. Categories from I Can Do Apps, LLC - Similar to the associations app above, but focuses on choosing the correct categories for the objects in the photographs. It also uses five different activities to practice this skill.

11. Factory of Categories - This app uses four different activities to practice categories: choosing the correct category, naming the category, picking the odd one out, and selecting one more similar item to match the category.

12. Categories with Splingo - This app encourages kids to drag and drop items into the correct category. We haven't specifically tried this app out, but we love their other app Pronouns with Splingo (find out more here).

13. Name That Category Fun Deck - Another flashcards style app with bright and colorful illustrations. Bundle up and save on this Name That Category app bundle.

14. Autism iHelp - Sorting - Clean and simple app for encouraging kids to practice their sorting skills with drag and drop functionality.


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Speech apps for kids with autism or hyperlexia to practice classifying and categorizing objects as well as making associations from And Next Comes L
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Friday, August 26, 2016

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Social Skills Apps for Kids

Children with autism and hyperlexia need to be taught social skills and the hidden rules of different social scenarios directly.

We like to build these skills through reading, play, social stories, and apps. It is important to use visuals to support social skill learning. Here are some of our favorite social skills apps for kids with autism and hyperlexia.

Social skills apps for kids with autism, hyperlexia, or other special needs from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Social Skills Apps for Kids

1. Autism & PDD Stories & Language Activities Social Skills - We love these apps! Not only do they go over different social scenarios, but they focus on building comprehension skills. There are various apps available such as:

2. Choiceworks - Choiceworks is a must have app, in my opinion! You can create visual schedules for your child that are supported by visual and audio features. You can also add timers to the schedule. There is also features to support calm down and self-regulation strategies, as well as timers to make waiting less difficult for kids. Great app! Bundle up and save to get this app and Choiceworks Calendar.

3. Choiceworks Calendar - Love this app as much as the regular Choiceworks app, but focuses more on a calendar mode. You can create an entire month of visual schedules for kids to include appointments, holidays, special events, and more! Bundle up and save to get this app and Choiceworks.

4. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame - This free app focuses on building self regulation skills through video and interactive tasks. Your child will learn calm down breathing from this app and practice making plans for handling overwhelming situations.

5. Social Stories Creator and Library - This app has a great collection of social stories and even gives you the ability to create your own. Each social story includes images, text, and audio for multi-sensory learning. There is an option to also break down the story into its specific rules to reinforce the main parts of the stories.

6. Autism iHelp - Emotions - This app uses real photos of people and the written word to reinforce different emotions. Pretty basic, but I do like the simplicity of it.

7. Emotions: Flashcards to Learn to Recognize Feelings and Emotions - This emotions app offers a few different ways to play: flashcards, matching, and picking the correct emotion. I also like the odd one out games. The app uses real photos of children and adults. The only thing I wish it had was the emotion written out below the photo to support the spoken words.

8. The Social Express II - J used this app a lot when he was doing occupational therapy and really enjoyed it. It uses videos to help kids learn and practice social rules. It is a subscription based app though, so it is a bit expensive for my liking, but still a great app for working on social skills.

9. Look at Me (android only) - A free app that is available for android devices only. It focuses on building eye contact skills.

10. Time In: Smart timer to visualize the passage of time - This app allows you to create step by step visual scripts for tasks such as brushing teeth, eating lunch, etc. As the name of the app implies, it is also a visual timer. The timer also features calming classical music.

11. Let's Be Social: Social Skills Development  - This app has lots of lessons and quizzes to help kids learn social skills. You can also create your own lessons.

12. Model Me Going Places 2 - This free app features narrated photo social stories (video modeling) for going to the hairdresser, going to the mall, going to the doctor, going to the playground, going to the grocery store, and going to the restaurant.

13. Social Norms - This app has over 50 illustrated social stories and allows you to create individualized stories. We haven't tried this one out yet, but it looks really great!

14. Look in my Eyes: Train Engineer for iPad - This app is a good one for little train lovers! It focuses on building eye contact skills. Again, we haven't tried this one out ourselves, as J isn't really into trains, but it looks like a fun app.


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Social skills apps for kids with autism, hyperlexia, or other special needs from And Next Comes L
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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Speech Apps for Kids to Work on Expressive Language & Conversation Skills

One of the biggest hurdles for J was building his conversation skills and expressive speech. He rarely initiated conversations, which is common in children with hyperlexia. However, he has made huge improvements in this area over the past two years.

One way that we have been helping him with these skills is by using speech apps to work on expressive language and conversation skills.

Speech apps for kids with autism or hyperlexia to work on expressive language and conversation skills from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Expressive Language Apps for Kids

1. Conversation Therapy - This app is more like visual conversation starters for kids. It uses photos and offers conversation prompts based on those photos. You can try the free lite version first.

2. Conversation Planner - Simple lessons that explain how conversations work, including identifying a talking partner and identifying conversation goals of oneself and the talking partner. It is really helpful for explaining the hidden rules of conversation.

3. Describe it To Me - This app is a must have for kids with hyperlexia or autism who are struggling with their expressive speech. It focuses on building expressive speech and vocabulary by examining the function, parts, categories, and more of different items.

4. Language Lab: Spin & Speak - This app works on conversation skills and social skills with its bright and colorful board game format.


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Speech apps for kids with autism or hyperlexia to work on expressive language and conversation skills from And Next Comes L
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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Speech Apps for Kids to Work on Idioms, Metaphors, & Figures of Speech

Children with autism or hyperlexia are literal thinkers. As a result, idioms, metaphors, and figures of speech can be tricky for these kids because they interpret them so literally.

I've discussed this issue of understanding idioms before (see point #10), but here are some wonderful speech apps for kids to practice idioms, metaphors, and other figures of speech.

Speech apps for kids with autism or hyperlexia to work on idioms, metaphors, and figures of speech from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Apps for Working on Idioms, Metaphors, & Figures of Speech

1. Popular English Idioms - This app focuses on 10 popular idioms (just like the title suggests!) and uses cute animated videos to teach the idioms.

2. Idioms in Conversations - Sorted into nine different themes, this idioms app uses audio stories to show how the idioms are used in the context of a conversation. It also gives a written description of the idiom's meaning.

3. Idiom Land - With over 1000 idiom cards (you can get 50 cards for free to start) to explore, this flashcards style app uses a lovely illustration to show a literal translation of the idiom. When you swipe the card, the definition, as well as a sample sentence, is shown. It reminds me a lot of the book It's Raining Cats and Dogs: An Autism Spectrum Guide to the Confusing World of Idioms, Metaphors and Everyday Expressions.

4. The New Animal Metaphors & Idioms - This app is a little busy for my liking so if you have a child that gets overwhelmed by visual stimuli, then this one is likely not the best choice for you. However, the kids will enjoy learning about animals as they learn about animal themed metaphors and idioms. Definitely try out the lite version first.

5. English Idioms Interactive HD - This app is best suited for older children, teens, and adults and presents common idioms in the form of comic strips. You can try the lite version first to decide if it will be a good fit for your child.

6. In The Loop (English & Urdu) - This app features lots of idioms and can be sorted by definition, category, or even alphabetical. Each idiom has an animated video to explain the idiom. Please note that the videos are in English and Urdu, but it still presents lots of great information.


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Speech apps for kids with autism or hyperlexia to work on idioms, metaphors, and figures of speech from And Next Comes L
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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Classroom Supports & Accommodations for Kids with Hyperlexia {with Free Printable Hyperlexia Handout}

Ah, back to school season is here...

And that means J will have a new teacher who has never heard of hyperlexia.

If you are a parent of a child with hyperlexia, then you are likely in the same position. Or maybe it's your child's first year in school, which means you likely have even more work ahead of you! Don't worry. To ensure your child gets the support in school that they need, I have created a free printable hyperlexia handout for parents that can be given to your child's teacher.

I've also included some common classroom supports and accommodations for kids with hyperlexia that you can use as a guideline with your child's school support staff to make sure that your child gets the help that they need.

Classroom supports & accommodations for kids with hyperlexia with a free printable handout for parents from And Next Comes L

Classroom Supports & Accommodations for Kids with Hyperlexia

As a parent, the first step is to make sure your child's teacher learns what hyperlexia is. Once the teacher has a better understanding of what hyperlexia is, then they will be better able to make accommodations in the classroom.

And obviously, every child with hyperlexia is unique. However, it is best to use their strength (i.e., their amazing ability to decode written language) to their advantage. Writing it out is always the best strategy to help hyperlexic kids.

Here are some other suggestions to consider for your child's classroom:

  1. Use a visual schedule to provide structure to the school day's routine
  2. Supplement verbal instructions with written instructions
  3. Use social stories to explicitly teach school and classroom rules
  4. Provide access to whiteboards, chalkboards, or scrap paper
  5. Modify tests to include multiple choice questions or fill-in-the blanks
  6. Limit visual distractions in the classroom (i.e., keep walls as blank as possible)
  7. Use written examples of what is expected of the child in terms of school work
  8. Use mnemonics to teach specific concepts
  9. Use numbered lists or checklist of steps for classroom work that requires a lot of steps
  10. Label objects in the classroom to aid comprehension

Further Reading on Accommodating Children with Hyperlexia in the Classroom

There are a few really great resources on classroom strategies that I highly recommend printing off for your child's teacher. Pair them with the free hyperlexia handout below and your child's teacher will be set for the year!

  1. Pages 9-12 of the pamphlet What is Hyperlexia? provide a nice list of ideas and strategies
  2. Pages 8-9 of the pamphlet Hyperlexia: Overview is really great
  3. Chapter III of the article Hyperlexia by Kupperman, Bligh, & Barouski has some really great suggestions
You can also find more suggestions and strategies in the book Beyond the Letters.

Free Printable Hyperlexia Handout for Parents

I also prepared a free printable handout that you can fill in about your child to give to your child's teacher during the first few days of school. It's a simple way to introduce the teacher to hyperlexia and its signs, but most importantly, introduce your child's strengths and weaknesses to them. There is even a spot to fill in your child's current interests.


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This post is part of a monthly series called Parenting Children with Special Needs. This month's topic is support and you can find the other posts regarding this topic below.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

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Easy & Healthy Fruit Slushes Recipe

On a summer day like today, where the temperature was indescribably hot, nothing beats drinking one of these homemade fruit slushes.

My kids adore them because they're yummy and refreshing. I adore them because they are easy and healthy. They're just a wonderful summertime treat!

Simple and healthy fruit slush recipes made with real fruit and no sugar - a great cool treat for kids from And Next Comes L

Easy & Healthy Fruit Slushes for Kids

There are lots of reasons why we love these homemade fruit slushes. First of all, the recipe is healthy and easy to make. Also, the kids can make these slushes all by themselves! These homemade slushes make a great sensory snack too. The cold provide alerting sensory input and sucking the thick liquid through a straw is great for oral motor sensory input!

And obviously they're delicious!


Simple and healthy fruit slush recipes made with real fruit and no sugar - a great cool treat for kids from And Next Comes L
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