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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