Featured in Your Life

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Featured in Your Life

Click here to download PDF Living with Autism My daughter Nieve was diagnosed with autism when she was just two. After a short and successful natural birth she was suddenly rushed into the special care baby unit where she remained for two weeks. She had swallowed meconium. This is the early stool passed by a newborn soon after birth. This lead to a lack of oxygen to her brain. Was this the root cause of her autism or would she have been autistic anyway. It’s hard to know. Many children are born with autism, without undergoing any trauma. I intuitively guessed Nieve was autistic. Certain behaviors stood out when she was very young. The distinct lack of eye-contact, not reaching out to be cuddled and never crying throughout the night. She seemed the perfect baby. However, as time went on, we could see the differences in her development. Being very inquisitive, I embraced Nieve’s autism. I wanted to understand her strengths and weaknesses. I literally read everything I could get my hands on. I started to diarised many of her experiences. One Saturday, we were coming out of a chip shop whilst it was raining very hard. I had no umbrella and was moaning about being wet. Whilst everybody was cowering under the bus stop, she stepped into the rain. The look in her eyes said it all; she was transported into a magical watery wonderland. Spinning with delight as she looked up at the sky. Part of me was fascinated by the situation. What most people would consider as an inconvenience was simply magical to her. However, as a “responsible” parent you start to become self-conscious of other parents around you who are sensibly keeping their children out of the torrential rain. I tried in vain to get her to step back from the rain. Autistics like to do things on their own terms and have extremely cast iron wills. My calls to step back were met with very sharp and loud shreaks. If she hadn’t already drawn attention to herself, now the whole world was watching. In the end it was easier to join her in the rain and just head for home with very soggy chips. Some members of the public are very well meaning but can get very cross or tut when a child acts a certain way. Especially when they look “normal” but are creating a scene. At first I hated using the ‘She’s autistic’ card but sometimes you do have to explain. Especially when you have a nine year old lying flat on the floor of Tesco’s kicking and screaming like a robot. All because a magazine was supposed to be in that day but simply wasn’t. When life works like clockwork, the world is great, when the tiniest thing is wrong, out-of-place or somebody appears they were not expecting, all hell will...

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Leigh Times – 25th Sept 2013 – Leigh man’s ipad app to assist those with learning disabilities

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Leigh Times – 25th Sept 2013 – Leigh man’s ipad app to assist those with learning disabilities

A Leigh-based parent has released his debut pioneering educational iPAD app to assist those with autism, dyslexia or learning difficulties to read and create stories in a fun way. The application was designed by Ian Jones, the parent of Nieve Jones, a nine year – old autistic girl, who loves books, but struggles with words. The app gives parents or teachers the ability to create their own storyboards. Familiar pictures or videos can then be assigned to each word. The child is then able to follow a story by either reading the words, or by seeing the image assigned to each word. The image acts as a visual clue to each word. The user can also click the individual words to hear them spoken. For example, a parent using the app could use a photo of a familiar family scene; or any photo the child is comfortable with in order to build a story around it. The user would then assign a picture or video of their actual mum, dad or dog to each of the words, thus creating the connection between words and images in the story. Mr Jones who designed the application for his daughter said: “The inspiration for the application came from a bedtime reading session with Nieve. I would point backwards and forwards between the word ‘dog’ and an actual picture of a dog. I suddenly realised that Nieve was more able to follow the story, when there was a concrete association between the words and a related image.” From the book, Thinking in Pictures, Dr. Temple Grandin, a highly successful autistic herself, writes, “Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete with sound, which run like a VCR tape in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures.” To get the most out of the application, the designers recommend using images and videos from the child’s own environment. This helps create a fun environment to learn and help build a strong association between the words and...

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Autism Diagnosis was a relief – Echo 17th Sept. 2013

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Autism Diagnosis was a relief – Echo 17th Sept. 2013

This  article was featured in the Evening Echo paper on the 17th Sept. 2013. IAN JONES lives with his wife Laura, daughter Nieve and pet dog Betsy in Leigh. Nieve, nine, has autism and Ian, a graphic designer, has recently designed a pioneering reading app for iPads that aims to help parents and teachers of children with autism, dyslexia and other learning difficulties. We find out more about his family life. What’s been the scariest moment as a parent so far? “When Nieve was born, she was in intensive care for two weeks at Southend Hospital, because she swallowed meconium in the womb. It was touch and go if she’d survive.” Was it a shock when she was diagnosed with autism? “Not really, as we knew something wasn’t right. She was a wonderful baby and would sleep all night, but she never cried like other babies or jabbered away like her cousins. Then we started to notice the lack of eye contact and her pulling away when we tried to hug her. When the doctor told us she was in the middle spectrum for autism, it was almost a relief, because we knew what it was.” What’s the most difficult thing about being a parent of an autistic child? “I suppose it’s not being able to be spontaneous and having to stick to very regimented patterns. It can also be hard sometimes that Nieve doesn’t like being cuddled very much. But then on the other hand, she does some amazing things.” Like what? “Well, she is very creative and loves to draw. A while ago her bedroom was full of her pictures, probably 1,000 of them. Then suddenly one morning, she decided she didn’t want them anymore and tore all of them down. Then a few weeks later, she suddenly said ‘I want my pictures back’ and she spent that afternoon drawing them all again.” Have you had a good response about the app? “Yes, I’ve had positive feedback from people from the UK, France and even someone in Israel who asked if I’m going to produce an app in Hebrew! I never set out to create this app to make a business out if it. I did it to just make my little girl happy, but it’s great that it’s taken off.” Do you have a favourite family book? “There’s a book called the Reason I Jump that has come to mean a lot to us as a family. It looks at what autism is like from the view of a 13-year-old Japanese boy.” Does Nieve like books? “She does, but she struggles with words. Thats where the idea came to me for the app – when I was trying to read to her at bedtime. I suddenly realised Nieve was more able to follow the story when there was a concrete association between the words and a...

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Evening Echo – August 2013

Posted in Press

Evening Echo – August 2013

A CREATIVE dad has designed a new app to tackle autism after he was inspired by his nine-year-old daughter. Ian Jones started designing computer games with his brother for the Commodore 64 and Omega when he was just 15. Now he has launched a pioneering reading application for Apple’s popular iPad that aims to help parents and teachers of autistic or dyslexic children or those with learning difficulties. He was inspired to create it as his daughter Nieve has autism. Ian, of Western Road, Leigh, said: ”The idea came to me when I was trying to read to her at bedtime. “Nieve loves books, but struggles with words. Because she has autism she is very good with visual things and memories, but words are like Japanese to her. “I suddenly realised that Nieve was more able to follow the story when there was a concrete association between the words and a related image. “The app is about creating an association with things through pictures. “I had searched the app store for something like this, but it was all picture cards for communication. “I designed it on the principle that you can add images or videos to words, helping Nieve make the connection.” Parents can create a storyboard with familiar pictures or videos assigned to words. The child is then able to follow a story by either reading the words, or by seeing the image acting as a clue and then triggering the memory of the word. Ian, a website designer by profession, said: “The app uses advanced text to speech technology, which allows the book content to be read out loud when appropriate. “The user can also click the individual words to hear them spoken. This is done by Nieve’s friend Jena.” The Visual Reading app comes with seven built in stories. Price: £11.99 - $16.99 (PRO - All new/future books are unlocked) Price: £3.99 - $5.99 (LITE - Books unlocked via In-app-purchase) View as PDF View Article on Echo...

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Press Release – Reading application for Autism & Dyslexia

Posted in Blog, Featured, Press Releases

Press Release – Reading application for Autism & Dyslexia

Parent launches pioneering reading application for Autism & Dyslexia and Young Readers Press Release No. 13/07/18 18th July 2013 Download PDF Here An Essex based company releases its debut pioneering educational iPAD app today. The app is built to assist those with Autism, Dyslexia or those with learning difficulties to read and create stories in a fun way. Young Readers can take advantage of the features too.  The application was designed by the parent of Nieve Jones, an eight-year old autistic girl, who loves books, but struggles with words. The app gives parents or teachers the ability to create their own storyboards. Familiar pictures or videos can then be assigned to each word. The child is then able to follow a story by either reading the words, or by seeing the image assigned to each word. The image acts as a visual clue to each word. The app utilizes advanced text-to-speech technology, which allows the book content to be read out-loud when appropriate. The user can also click the individual words to hear them spoken. For example, a parent using the app could use a photo of a familiar family scene; or any photo the child is comfortable with in order to build a story around it. The user would then assign a picture or video of their actual mum, dad or dog to each of the words, thus creating the connection between words and images in the story. Mr Jones who designed the application for his daughter said: “The inspiration for the application came from a bedtime reading session with Nieve.  I would point backwards and forwards between the word ‘dog’ and an actual picture of a dog. I suddenly realised that Nieve was more able to follow the story, when there was a concrete association between the words and a related image.” From the book, Thinking in Pictures, Dr. Temple Grandin, a highly successful autistic herself, writes, “Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete with sound, which run like a VCR tape in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures.” The application works on this idea by allowing the user to place familiar media above the words. The application comes with seven built-in stories and a default library of 760+ common nouns that automatically appear as the user types. The internal image library is designed to grow as personal content is added. To get the most out of the application, the designers recommend using images and videos from the child’s own environment. This helps create a fun environment to learn and help build a strong association between the words and images. The application is built for the Apple iPAD for iOS 5 and greater. Price: £11.99 - $16.99 (PRO - All new/future books are unlocked) Price: £3.99 -...

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