Please share this blog with your friends and neighbors!!
Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Snoopi Botten has done a number of amazing songs using the DecTalk speech synthesizer.  This would be a great last-minute present, as you can order from his website, download the songs as soon as you get your password.

The songs are really great, and make a wonderful present.  Please support Snoopi, who is a very talented songwriter and 'transcriber' into DecTalk!

Flame of Hope Store

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

QUICK! Holiday Apps & Ideas!

Christmasfy Me 

Fun app for taking a photo and adding Santa hat, beard, etc.

Idea:  I was working with a student working on access on her device.  We used hide / show to isolate GO & STOP.
Ex:  Okay, the beard (GO = make it bigger;  STOP = stop)

Christmas Sounds Free
Lots of sound effect apps but this one combines 16 good pics and interesting. sounds.
Idea:  We used this as impetus for a 'playlet' for a Communication Circle with a 5th grader using an AAC device.   Each student chose a sound, and wrote a line about it . . . using the device.  Then we performed it for family and friends.  FUN!

American Greetings eCard

Fantastic free app!  Great videos to watch & include.  Must be online to use videos.
Ideas:  Watch the video and comment, narrate, etc. before completing the card.
 I would love to have people share great Hanukkah or Kwanzaa apps that you've found.  ENJOY!!!

Word Spree Xmas

This very fun 'mad libs' has great Christmas story.
Idea:  Look ahead and have students write their guesses.  Use alternative pencils such as Alphabet Flipboards from the Center For Literacy and Disability Studies.
Alternative Pencil Link
Or you could download an AlphaBoard from AAC Intervention (Tip, Feb 2010):
AAC Intervention Website

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Annie's Attic

Ann Brundige Studio

This site has a range of free materials to support ALL teachers, but especially those working with students with significant disabilities.  Here are just a few of the things you'll find:
Links to Great Free Resources:
She especially focuses on free resources for fun and academic:
• Sound effects
• Clip art

Annie-Made Items:
These materials are available across a range of platforms:
IntelliTools Classroom Suite ®
• Clicker 5 ®
• PowerPoint ®
• Annie's Online Books


Annie's Resource Attic 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

JustWink App - Let's Ask for a G-Rated Version!!

 Just Wink is one of my FAVORITE apps . . . except!

You're in a classroom . . . sitting with, say, 4th graders.

You think you've found the perfect category of cards (Birthday, for Whoever).

So, you click on a card that says, "Sorry I didn't get you a gift"

And it opens . . . Whoops!  a (semi) curse word.

Now I am NOT a prude . . . but I do want to keep my job.

And you just can't judge these cards by their covers.  I've been burned again and again, and am just not using these with students.

Let's start a campaign to ask for JustWinkKids.  All the fun of these wonderful cards, without the PG13 rating!!

Here's what you do . . .
1) Go to this website:
Just Wink Website
2) Scroll to the bottom of the page
3) Click on 'Survey' and take their survey
4) When they ask if you would recommend the app, tell them 'very unlikely' then explain that you want a G-rated JustWinkKids

That's it!

We can change the world . . . an app at a time!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Look Me In the Eye - book review

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's

by John Elder Robinson

I'm not usually a fan of the memoir.  But as with Ghost Boy, this account is riveting and powerful.  John Elder Robinson is the older brother of Augusten Burroughs, whose memoir Running with Scissors gives a hint to stories about how John fares in a family that puts dysfunctional on the map.

If you think you aren't so interested in a story about Aspergians, how about tales of the man who designed (and created) exploding and rocket-filled guitars for the hard rock band KISS.  Whether telling poignant stories of figuring out how to make friends or crazy stories of his escapades, teachers, therapists and parents will see how his (undiagnosed until age 40) Aspergers had great influence on events large and small.  

Robinson is an exquisite storyteller who shares many truths as well as some great laughs and tears.  Very worth reading!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Change an App - YOU Have the Power!!

Changing An App - Ideas

Have you ever tried an app that is 'close but no cigar'??  YOU have the power to change it.  I have had multiple changes made to apps!

First Try - Great for Special Ed Apps:

 My first strategy is always to just e-mail the app developer, with very specific ideas for change. 

For example, I e-mailed the developer of iHow-To Book with ideas for having students 'read it in your head' BEFORE hearing the sound, plus other ideas. 
iHow-To Book

Kensei was immediately responsive.  Changes were made, so that a great app became even more flexible for a wide range of students!!  We even found out that he lives relatively close to my daughter in NYC, so we have been able to meet up.  See our review at the link below:
SpedApps2 Review: Read Aloud Books

2nd Try - For General Purpose Apps

Many of the apps that we LOVE are used in far different purposes that was originally planned!  One of our favorites is Sticky Notes.  It's a great app for making reminder notes for yourself.  However, we use it to support tasks as disparate as:
• Idea generation for writing
• Editing in writing - supporting students with word order
• Syntax in speaking - supporting students with spoken word order
• Visual word sorts for phonics
• Making words for phonics

Sticky Notes Link

Here is a link to one of our reviews, in the 'phonics' section:
SpedApps2 Review: Sticky Notes

Note that this app has THOUSANDS of reviews.  Guess what - my e-mail to that company was ignored.  So, my strategy is to review the app, giving it only 4 stars, and explaining what is needed to get 5 stars.  Then, I'm going to ask everyone to do the same!

Here is what that app needs (feel free to modify this for YOUR iTunes review!!)
 • Would like to have optional recorded feedback (that is, a sound for each note)
• Would love to have LARGER FONTS (we often have a note with only one letter, so it needs to be BIG!)
• Would be nice to be able to 'set' the color of notes (e.g., when you make a yellow note with black font, it predicts that the next note will be the same)
• Would like simpler backgrounds, such as flat black (many backgrounds are 'busy' which is a problem for students with visual impairments and students with autism spectrum disorder)


Okay people, your homework is to write a review for Sticky Notes asking for the changes above (and others you might suggest!)  Together, we have the power!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Workshop List!

Musselwhite Workshop List - And 30% Discount Through January, 2013!

I have some unexpected time in my schedule from  November 1, 2012 - February 6, 2013.  Anyone who books a workshop for that time period gets a 30% discount!

This could include:
• Workshops (1 day - multiple days)
• Consulting
• Project development

Follow the link below to get a listing of sample workshops.

Musselwhite Workshops Sample List

Light Tech Backups for High Tech Devices

How are you handling light tech backup systems for individuals who have high tech devices with complex language systems such as Unity or Word Power?  I am especially concerned about how to provide supports for students who use:
• Eye gaze or head mouse systems
• Switch scanning

When not well-positioned, these devices are typically just not available.  I know this is NOT a new question, but I feel like the gap between 'in-the-chair' and in other positions such as on the floor, relaxing in a bean bag chair, and in bed is getting wider as we are more successful in supporting access.

It seems too much unguided 20 Questions happening.  While PODD systems are amazing language systems, how would they translate for people who are already accomplished users of another language system?

Eagerly looking forward to a discussion and some great ideas!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Balanced Literacy Workshop!

Balanced Literacy Workshop in Phoenix - only $30!

Just trying to spread the word that Deanna & I are doing a one-day overview of the Balanced Literacy Club project.  This workshop in intended for professionals and parents supporting students who:
• Use or need augmentative communication devices
• Are beginning readers (reading & writing below the 2nd grade level)

Check out the link to the flyer.

Balanced Literacy Workshop Flyer


Sunday, January 15, 2012


Just wanted to make sure that my blog followers know about Maria Kowch's blog as AppHappy. She's a brilliant mom, yoga instructor, and looks at apps with a clear eye. Our group in Phoenix has learned so much from her!

For example, Maria gave us a heads up about the MYB (move your body) or eye tracking games that are out there. FUN! With so many new apps each week, and so many apps blogs to track, I just can't keep up. But Maria is really helping!!!