This webinar provides information on using assistive technology (AT) in early childhood. Did you know that the most frequent users of AT are babies? That's right… infants and toddlers with disabilities use the widest variety of AT supports throughout each day to participate in routine activities. Dr. Sue Mistrett, from The Let’s Participate Project shares tips for customizing ordinary items and applying DIY and Maker Movement resources to design AT supports for every young child. We know that all children develop and learn by doing… Learn how AT can help. Get the PowerPoint and handout. Get the PowerPoint and handout..
- [Anna Maria] Hello everyone. It's four o'clock so we're gonna get started. Welcome everyone to today's webinar. Making and tinkering with AT, helping young children do. Today we're joined by Susan Mistrett. She is a senior consultant for the Let's Participate project. She has written extensively on this election and used the assistive technologies for the participation of young children and their families at home and education settings. So without further ado, let's turn it over to Susan so we can get started. Thank you.
- [Susan] Hello everyone. Welcome to Making and Tinkering with Assistive Tech. This is actually one of our first reports coming to the end of a very successful assistive technology project called Let's Participate. Move to the next slide. Oh. That's a little commercial. Okay, next. Ah. Okay, so Let's Participate is actually as I said, it started in 2012 and we are into a bit of an additional year in 2018. And what the project was is to take a look at assistive technology use by very young children. In early intervention and early childhood special ed programs. This project is actually based on the Let's Play model that colleagues and myself had done in Buffalo at the turn of the last century, believe it or not. So, learning much from that project we decided to expand Let's Play to Let's Participate because kids do lots of things to develop and grow besides play. But even though it is still most important.
Okay, next. Okay, these are, we could probably, yeah, just go through, go beyond this. This is kind of taking a look as a quick check in for those of you on the line. Thinking about your use of assistive tech, oh I can do it? Oh but then I have to... Yeah, but then, oh, I'm gonna have trouble going back. Um, how would you describe your use of AT with young children? Do you think about using AT rarely, sometimes, or pretty often with the kids that you work with and the families that you work with? At this point, what would you consider your level of AT skills and knowledge to be? Are you a specialist? Are you feeling pretty comfortable for the children and the issues that they deal with? Or are you on because you basically need a lot more, you feel like you need a lot more information? There's another, some of these questions we ask because you can probably get the gist of what the project found.
But in your opinion, which children benefit most from AT? Kids with common developmental delays? Those with significant delays and disabilities? Or kids with kind of temporary delays? What do you think, what type of child would benefit most? And what type of AT do you typically look for? Items with built-in support? Simple adaptations? Do you like the complex, specialized AT that really seems to work for certain kids? Or do you consider all of the above? These are some of the things that we are going to be looking at this afternoon. You'll have to excuse me. I'm trying to use two screens and I can't get over to the second screen. So, Anna Maria, can you just go to the next screen for me please? Thank you. Don't you love technology? Okay, so looking at the original Let's Participate project, the Office of Special Ed Programs were actually the funder. And they had back about six years ago, they were thinking about funding different ways to increase the assistive technology use by very young children. What they were finding is that report after report were telling about the potential AT benefits for children of all ages and of all disabilities.
But what we were finding is that AT was still not being used. Reports from longitudinal studies and IFSP and IEP service records were showing that only about 4% of children with disabilities were actually using AT. And they were puzzled by this. And they saw that perhaps barriers included a lack of training for therapists and teachers as well as families in the selection and the use of AT devices. So they were thinking perhaps if we provided more training, perhaps if we had models that would provide more training on an ongoing basis for folks, that the potential of AT for young children would be realized. They also thought that maybe they didn't know how to specifically kind of match, assistive tech to the child's needs. So maybe they needed a way to develop or craft a child's specific AT plan so that the AT supports would be unique to that child. They also wondered about funding. Everything is expensive as we know. And perhaps that was a barrier.
So perhaps if we could address the funding issues by maybe looking at some programs to recycle that. Maybe those would be ways of creating new models so that again, the potential of AT would be realized by the younger children. Okay, so why are we looking at AT? I'm sorry, could you move it to the next screen? Thank you. Okay, so why are we thinking AT for young kids? And we're talking really young. We're talking infants, we talking toddlers, and then finally we're talking those big kids, those preschoolers. Well, here is the basics of the Let's Participate model. All children, regardless of ability or disability, the way they develop is by participating in everyday home, school, and community routines. These are routines and activities that happen over and over again. So practice and use of materials, and use of different ways of communicating and moving through different activities is how young children develop and combine skills.
What we found is that a lot of these kids with disabilities, when talking to the families about their daily routines, some routines are going fine. In other months, families were having problems with it. Whether it was getting dressed, getting out of bed, calling for Mom and Dad when they got up, if we're all talking about just early morning routines. Having breakfast, holding a spoon, sitting up at the table. Or, not getting upset if something was not exactly right. So, what we found is that the AT supports we were using would help kids to more actively participate in the context of daily routines. And this was a bit of a move from what we had looked at previously before let's say, 2010. We also know AT would work best if the supports were uniquely tailored to every child and family needs.
Some families are really into high tech and find it very exciting that a little one could benefit and get involved and interact with some high end technology that they liked to use. Other families are, you know, the lower the better, the easier the least wired, the better. So we have to take a look at certainly the child and family's needs, the values and the routines. The busyness of the routines. Who else is there? How many people are interacting? What's going on in the child's context of participation? We also know, again, from past experience, and from lots of research that has come out, that the family and the teacher in preschool's input is critical in selecting the AT and evaluating success. They are the ones who know what the child should be doing. They're knowing the child's struggles. They're knowing the child's, all the things he can do. And they're putting it all together and saying what's gonna work in this environment? So, these were some of the things that we started off with looking at the Let's Participate model.
Okay, what does this... So what do we know about assistive technology? Basically, the feds don't give us a whole lot of direction. This one definition of assistive tech was in 1991. First time. And has been kept consistent. It was added to in 2004 slightly with one more phrase. But basically, what does this mean for young children? Do you see young children in this definition? An item, piece of equipment or product system acquired commercially, modified customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities. No wonder a lot of people said well, I'm not sure assistive technology is for young children. Because I don't really see, I don't see the children I work with in that definition. Or that being a support that could help them. So this definition has not changed. What has changed is the way we interpret, we read that definition for children. These very, very young children.
We know that AT for young kids looks very different. Because its purpose is not employment or rehabilitation. It is, its purpose is to do what young children do. They grow and they develop and they learn. So over the years, the Office of Special Ed Programs has actually defined that the purpose of assistive technology for children birth through two years old in early intervention is to develop. We are to look for assistive technology supports that help them develop. When children reach preschool, as we know, as part of the three to 21 system, their purpose is to not only develop, to continue to develop but also to learn and to be educated. So this is about the only, very little clarification that we have received from OSEP but that's enough to get us going. So, as we take a look at what our AT definition is. AT is any thing, so it has to be an item, that helps a child with a disability do something that he or she can't do without it.
So, basically, the definition hasn't changed. It's just been expanded and translated for those of us who work in early childhood programs. Do means the many things that kids do to participate in a particular activity. So as we were implementing the Let's Participate model in actually, in Massachusetts is where the four sites are. Where we implemented the model. We actually had three early intervention sites in the Boston area. And we had one inclusive preschool site that we implemented the program in. And what we found different from previous uses of assistive technology in young kids, we found that our model trended more kids. When we started off in fact, when the RFP came out for the model demonstration programs, at that time the reports research was showing only about 4% of the population of special needs children were actually using AT. But we also correlated that that was almost 100% of that 4% were children with low incidence disabilities.
These are kids with pretty significant and more severe conditions. Usually less than 1% of the population. And what we saw was with that definition, we didn't see anything about any child with a significant disability. We saw any child. So if a child is determined to be eligible for services, then let's also take a look at how assistive technology can help those kids with high incidence or more common disabilities. So, we're looking at at our numbers then was went up to about 25% of children with disabilities were considered for and benefited from AT. So the change was and again, in looking at the literature and looking at the research at a time, we did not stay and only take a look at how AT supports could help children with significant disabilities, but expanded that population and group to all children. To children with low and high disability and delays. Okay, wait a minute. Sorry, I'm having mouse problems again. There we go. Okay.
We also found that having more children leads to more uses. Families and natural environment and then the inclusion policy really impacted the use of assistive tech. Again, going back at about 2010, we saw that a lot of times AT was used for skill building interventions. There were a lot of therapeutic and special educators who saw the use of assistive technology to build particular skills. And they said, oh let's see what kind of AT do we have that addresses that particular disability? Well, as trends have changed, we've also seen where services are delivered and how they are delivered move to much more inclusive settings and natural settings where the people who are in charge of making decisions for the kids are families and preschool teachers. So we took a look and said let's expand again many more uses of AT. Not just to support the child's disability and what he can't do, but to build on what kids can do and what they need to do as they participate in their very active lives and everyday routine activities.
We've also have seen in 2013, and again in 2018 because Dr. Dunst is coming out with an updated version of this meta analysis of hundreds of AT studies. And what he found back in 2013 was regardless of disability condition or age of the child, AT was seen to be beneficial in increasing all sorts of functional skills but also in increasing the independent participation of children with disabilities. So, look for that. That should be coming out this year. Actually, probably pretty soon. I know that Carl and his group were putting some finishing touches on it. So again, the changing trend. More and more people are using AT. We're also taking a look at more users. When we started out, we started working with a group in Massachusetts who definitely use the AT users and the AT deciders in Massachusetts were usually deciding use for children with significant disabilities.
And AT specialists and AT consultations is what the models were. And this probably was the reason that the feds thought we needed more device training. And instead what we found, is that there's more users because when we look at the context of daily activities, it's the teachers, the families, all of the people in the context are the users of AT with children who need them. So AT has now gone from a specialist model. And is going to AT is everyone's responsibility. So, as we move then through these expanding trends as more people consider AT solutions across different environments, the range of the types of AT support's expanded. Not just specialized devices for kids with low incidence, but just in time supports for any child with a disability to help them participate in what they are doing at that time.
So, again, more users now lead to more AT options. We start re-looking at a range of simple to complex items meeting the definition of AT to help more kids improve their capabilities and participate more. So as you see some of these pictures, certainly the pictures on the left are still specialized AT designed for disabilities. And certainly for children with significant disabilities, those are absolutely critical. But, we also take a look at children who perhaps at eight months old, are not sitting up by themselves and need to actually be in that position to see the world in a different, from a different perspective, in an upright perspective. So we look, we look all around and we can find things that are off the shelf, are modified, and we look at a full range of simple to complex supports and technologies.
What you're seeing there is the Bumbo chair. And also, that iPad. That we know is incredibly adaptive, depending on the software that is being used. So let's take a look, kinda going back to our original definition. The sources of AT haven't changed. They're still off the shelf, modified, or customized as these blocks show. We look now though at off the shelf, including those universally designed products. That have been designed with a wider range of users in mind. With adaptive features that can be used for children across an age range and across an ability range. As they develop through different stages from birth to five years old. We also look at and know we are actually the wizards of these modifications that we can take an off the shelf object and do some special things to it. Not so special things that we do every day. And make it actually more usable for that young child. And then there's still the specialty items for disability.
So, as this one, just pointing out one of the examples on the screen. Those little walking wings. Now, there's every child as they're developing, gets to a point where either you have to hold both of their hands to have them walking or they're hanging on to something. And these are developed so that any family if they choose to buy this product, can help their child and support him in his early walking efforts. Now, that's terrific probably for any family who is looking for something like that. And but for children with disabilities, that might be just the right thing, just the right type of support so they can really get up and moving in a way that, in using supports that any child might use. So what we're gonna do today. We're gonna focus on the off the shelf AT and modifications.
We're going to learn how tinkering, which I'm sure a lot of you are on, because you're probably pretty good at tinkering yourselves with ordinary items can help young kids participate. And how all of these supports are considered AT. We're gonna explore the do it yourself, the DIY and the makers movements as resources for you to expand your selection and use and consideration of assistive technology supports. And to discover your potential for providing AT for young children. So, let's start with some off the shelf universal items. Years ago, even in the Let's Play project, we started where we working with kids with pretty significant disabilities. We started realizing that even though we understood and said wow, you know we have this bath seat for that child and it really helps him to be independent in the bathtub.
And he can play and kick and it's a perfect support for him but what we were finding in early intervention that by the time we got that item, that assistive technology ordered and purchased, the child had very often outgrown it. So it didn't seem to be a good use of anyone's time or money to be only looking at specialized equipment. So the universal design approach started again around the same time in the mid 90s looking at a much more flexible adaptable approach to design for all sorts of things to be used by a wider range of people. So that's what we do. We look for items with flexible adaptable features. And as you see 'em here, we see an overhead gym with things hanging. But those now are adjustable. We also take a look at fidget toys. And we look beyond specialty catalogs to things that we hear from other people, from teachers and families about what works with their kids.
There's our Bumbo again. We can use these things in new and in multiple ways. Look at the curved handle spoons. A lot of times your universal items are actually come from specialty catalogs that a very wise manufacturer has mind to say, hmm, what parent wouldn't buy a curved handled spoon as every child has to develop and learn how to use those utensils as they're feeding themselves? We also, that little sleepy bear is a Zazu. It's shake and sound activated. To help a child soothe them back to sleep. So there's lot of different ways we can take a look at this. We also look at those stretchy shirts. Instead of buying a very expensive compression shirts, as we begin to understand the sensory needs of a lot of our kids with disabilities, and how clothing impacts them, we also find that buying just an extra tight shirt, Under Armour shirt, can also work in the same way. So, this is where we have to share our ideas and keep it going.
Okay, if you could just click it. One of the questions we do ask is what? You know, I see a lot of this stuff, why are you calling this AT? When is it AT? And, the answer to that question is it depends. It's AT if an item is used by a child with a disability and it helps them to do something that they can't do without it. Then that item becomes AT. Even if it's AT for a single activity, even if it's AT for just a short amount of time. To get a child to the next developmental level. If it helps that child get there, then it is that child with a disability's assistive technology support. So, where are we going to start looking for some of these things? Besides off the shelf things, which you knew knowing kids as you do, go shop, go shopping and take a look at different things and at different features that they have. We also have a new source called crowdfunding. These have some great ideas that are bringing new and exciting products to market.
This Vidget is a great example. And its design is very flexible. In fact, as you can see these pictures this Vidget could be used as a table. It can be used as a chair. It is designed to, not to tip over. To be balanced, balanced. And to understand that many children need to wiggle and need to move and need to still stay seated. So, this has addressed a lot of the different features that they hear from families. And right now it is part of a crowdfunding project. There's lots of examples that you could go to. GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, lots of different examples. The picture up there is that Lego Tape. That can be placed actually on any surface and can be built on any surface. Making it easier for the child to access. And again, very flexible. It can be put together. It can be used with different sized Lego Blocks. And this was just came out commercially for the holidays this year. But up until then, it was not considered a commercial project but was a crowd funding example. Pretty exciting.
We've also seen there are some 3D projects who are actually creating customized wheelchairs with large 3D printers. A lot of these are very exciting and just as a whole new marketable resource for us to find some pretty exciting and customizable things for the children that we work with. The maker movement is sometimes the crowd funding examples actually are maker movements. Where groups of people from different backgrounds get together and work on a particular design to help meet the needs of children with different abilities and disabilities. You may have engineers who know electronics with metal makers. And people who do PVC piping. And coming together to use their kind of, it's not a do it yourself, it's do it as a group mentality to address certain specific problems. One of them that is pretty exciting is from the University of Delaware. And it's called Go Baby Go. And Go Baby Go is just one of several projects that recognize the need for very young children to move independently through space. And how mobility is really interconnected with social interactions, communication, self confidence, and just feeling good about yourself. So, we're gonna take just a quick look at this video before we go on.
- This baby driving race car is a low tech version of the baby driving robot. For our focus, research wise, is to see if mobility can drive your social invasion. It's fairly clear that if you're not out acting in the world, it's very difficult to make friends. And what better collaborator to bring kids towards you than Mater, Lightning McQueen, and Barbie? Quickly we were able to instead of waiting for a robotic device or a standard powered chair that's 250 pounds and not set up for a one or two year old, the ride on cars, Mater gave us the ability to skip to going. To get you in a car very quickly. Modify it very simply. And next thing you know, you're, here we hop. In my line of research, we're trying to couple mobility and socialization and family dynamic and try to normalize that process. And frankly turn you into a knucklehead on the playground. You could not ask for a better collaborator. And Mater is a low tech plastic based toy. But little by little, we're probably gonna put some computerization on there. Some sensors on there. A GPS to tell when you're out on the playground. A webcam to show your face while you're on the playground. The untold secret is that it's a low tech aspect of this might not stay very low tech very long. We're still gonna work on the high tech but in parallel we're also gonna work on lower tech solutions.
- [Women Together] Yeah!!
- [Susan] Okay. Yes, so what's so exciting also about this maker movement is folks getting together and lending their expertise to work together to solve a problem for kids. But they don't just stop there. These maker movements are more than willing as Dr. Cole was saying that the directions are on YouTube. If you go to their website at the University of Delaware, they have written instructions, they have YouTube videos to show you how. And they will also send some of their staff out to you if you can get a group of families together to actually adapt a car for a child in their communities. So it's really pretty special stuff. And certainly a wonderful resource for all of us who again, work with kids. Another one is maker movement is this Bumbo wheelchair. Now we've seen the Bumbo chair certainly for quite a while. Well there are several groups who have recently made different adaptations to the Bumbo cars in order to turn it into a mobility devices for very young children.
As many of you know, it's very difficult to get a wheelchair for a very young child because first of all they're gonna outgrow it again. And need something different in probably a few months or a year or two. So, this type of very supportive Bumbo chair when added with a base and wheels, it is an incredibly exciting time for this type of customized mobility system to be shared with other families and therapists across the world. Do you just wanna click on the red one? There are several, if you do Bumbo wheelchair, if you Google Bumbo wheelchair, or even on YouTube, you're gonna come up with dozens of different examples. The reason I'm pointing out to this little boy with the sunglasses on is his parents put his together with pictures and step by step instructions on a website called instructables. Which is a do it yourself online community to share with other families how you go about making these type of adaptations to an off the shelf chair used by many, many young children with and without disabilities. Okay.
The last example that we're going to show you is a group in New York City in case any of you are near there. They have a fabulous website. And they're called adaptive design. And what they will do is work with you and your child to address a particular problem that you may be having. For example, maybe you need to make sure your child is safely in a bike seat. And they will work with your bike and your bike seat and actually customize an adaptation so your child is safely supported and held as you ride your bike with your child on the back. There's a lot of customization that's going on which of course is DIY, but a lot of 'em have really, really significant customizations for children with disabilities. Who have very unusual needs. And certainly one of them is fabricATe, Suzanne Milbourne. Again at the University of Delaware, who actually also has a very similar project to Let's Participate.
And she shared this video for us that she, it actually took about 20 minutes, but she sped it up to be about, I think about two minutes. So, Anna Maria is gonna show that to you now. It's called Belly Time for Lilly Lynn. And Lilly Lynn is a little girl who has a feeding tube. And so she can't experience belly time. She can't play on her tummy. And she doesn't get the benefits of being in belly time. Go ahead. This is meant to be sped up, so it's not weird. It's just that it, and a lot of you may recognize who that woman is there in that purple shirt. Okay. So did any of you recognize Therese Willkomm from the University of New Hampshire? We'll be talking about her again later. She is quite a wizard at this. And is probably the best sharer you have ever run into. Everything she makes she videos. It's online with instructions. If you are at any conferences, any technology conferences, be sure to look her up because she is just amazing. And is really inspirational for getting everybody to do it yourself.
So anyhow, I'm sure a lot of you have been using a lot of these materials for years. Especially when using with young kids. Maybe you didn't realize it was assistive technology. But if it meets the definition, then you're doing it. One of the most popular ways is modifying items that we find around the house. Or in schools and using them in new ways. This is an example of a laundry basket. We're using some pool noodles as bumpers to really make some customized seating supports and giving that little girl a special place to play. Where all her things stay within reach because of the size of the basket and she gets to sit up all by herself. We find the best ideas from families. From colleagues. From professional magazines and lots of friends. So, let's take a look at some of these ideas. Why do we do, why do it yourself? Well, it's certainly not new to AT practice. A lot of us have been adapting adaptations for years and years and years.
It's less expensive and what we also hear from families, at least the families in the Let's Play project for years and years, they didn't care how fancy a toy might be and how special it was. They wanted their kid to be able to play with toys that other children also enjoyed. So there was an isolating factor on sometimes using some very specialized AT. Again, this depends on the families and the families desires and goals for their kids. But certainly, this is a factor. A lot of these minor adaptations can make a world of difference for kids. It's also the better you get at it, the faster and easier it is. And it allows you to change the design as the child grows. We all know that the first five years are the most dynamic period of growth in any human's lifetime. So we have to be able to be flexible and adaptable as children move from activity to activity across environments. We know the people in those environment know the children best. And they're going to use something that they help select much more frequently than that something that someone else picked out. It helps us to solve problems. To build confidence.
And to just continue and continue with the next child that we come up with. Okay, here's one. This one's near and dear to my heart. That's my grandson. Who had some developmental disabilities at birth. And he is two and half years old here. Just about ready to walk. But not independent yet. And so in early intervention, he was almost walking and his family wanted some support. You know how families are very anxious to get those kids walking and talking. So we said okay, let's take a look here. Mom and Dad were not interested in the Gait Trainer or the small walker that was offered by the local early intervention because again, of that isolating factor. So what we did is we went shopping for a cart and Tyler's 2 1/2. So he was pretty tall so we needed to have one that was up a little bit higher that he could hang onto. We also took a look and said well, this is fine, but as he started walking the cart pushed and kinda got away from him.
So we realized it needed to be a little bit more stable so he could actually push against it until he developed the strength and the skills to walk all by himself. So, we tried putting weights in it, which that really didn't work very well. But they had new carpeting put in their house. And we decided to take Velcro and add sticky back Velcro to the wheels. Which allowed it to adhere to the carpet. So what had to happen then is Tyler had to push to get that cart moving. Now, eventually in a few weeks, months perhaps, he got pretty good at this cause he was getting stronger. So his Dad then removed the Velcro from two of the wheels to just slightly modify it so he wouldn't have to push so much as he was walking better and better. So, this was an early adaptation that we used in our family and it certainly got us thinking about all the other things that perhaps we could do some minor adaptation to that would really help him increase his independent ability to participate and move around the house.
Here's some other ideas that we have picked up through our project that I just want to share with you today. These are object communication cards. And what they are is children who are moving from pointing at objects but not quite ready for symbols yet. This is that in between transition place. Where you can kind of cut of a cup or what do we have here? A rattle in half. So it's really becomes a two dimensional object, which is a nice transition from moving from the 3D object to the symbol. I also like to point out that a lot of times these are available commercially. But I found a set of standardized tactile augmentative communication symbols kit. And it was priced at $696. They're beautiful but so we thought ours worked perfect. Besides, you can use the actual bubble bottle that the child is used to seeing. Things that are familiar in his environment. Another plus to the do it yourself adaptation movement. We also look at those pool noodles.
How many different things can you do with pool noodles? The reason that we used this solution is that our little guy here needed to bring his communication system outside near water and all sorts of outside material. So, you can either make a slit or tape, or maybe with VELCRO the symbols on a very light piece of pool noodle. Or you can actually slide them right in there if you put a little slit in it. So, pool noodles are one of the adaptive materials that we use most frequently because it has an endless ways of using it. Whether it's on the side of a laundry tub as we saw before or it's used for a communication system. And VELCRO. What would we do without VELCRO? One way of using them when we have done a lot of our workshops, this is one of the favorite ones. We bring in some foam board, which can be cut with a scissors or an X-Acto knife into any size you need. And we cover it with VELTEX show loop which is actually the female VELCRO. And just tape it around the board.
You then can use pictures on it for communication pictures. You can make a schedule with different pictures on there by simply putting the hook VELCRO on the back of each symbol or on the back of any object. And it will then stick to the VELTEX surface. So, the first picture shows a little child having pieces on there, toys. And different textures to grab and move around. And the second picture is looking at communication symbols. You can really use these VELCRO boards for any type of communications or play activity. The next way you can actually create story blocks. Let's see if the photos came through on that one. Nope. Photos for some reason don't seem to be showing up. They will be when you go to the archive copy on the CTD website. What you can do here for children who have easier time grasping blocks, you can actually cover blocks with a little storyline and have the children put them right down a road or a street.
Again, doesn't make sense without seeing the picture. But, a very nice do it yourself type of activity for the kids. Here's a classic. A waterproof communication board. A lot of times during bath time or outside pool play, communication symbols again can get wet and messy. This is simply one of those waterproof sealed kick boards or kneel pads for the garden. And what we did was we took a communication board and covered it with Saran wrap. Or you can cover it with a gallon zip bag, whichever you have handy. And this way the child is in the pool or in the bathtub or in anyplace where you need a waterproof board. And you can simply with these minor adaptations use it there. We also had families who took a screenshot of their communication app on their iPad and printed it out as a picture so it was exactly what the child was used to on the iPad, which doesn't like water so much. Another idea is a carry strap for an iPad. There's a lot of children that we found in our early childhood programs who needed to carry their communication system around with them. And because they would move to, either they would go to the gym or they would go to a different classroom or story time or whatever. And so they needed to have their communication system to be very portable.
So what we did here is we took a couple of links and attached plastic lacing to it with again, good old VELTEX handle on it, and then made sure we had a sturdy iPad case on it. With the AAC app. And that worked great. Again, this took the teacher and the therapist probably about 10 minutes to put this together. As they understood the child and what the child needed to be able to do with that iPad. Another way, a lot of times the iPad's for communication purposes are terrific because they're less costly, they blend into an environment, but sometimes it's hard to find those customized key guards that we can find with higher end comm devices. But, what they did is they used good old Wikki Stix.
And again, they took a picture of the screen so they knew exactly how many rows and columns and how wide apart the lines should be. And created a customized overlay using Wikki Stix on an iPad. Again, some of these are just clever. And I'm sure all of you probably have some ideas now too. Customized grips. We don't have a big call for pencils and pens in birth to five, but we sure do have spoons. We sure do have magic markers, crayons, paintbrushes, et cetera. So how do we customize that grip to be a little bit larger and easier to hold so that even the youngest children can begin to participate in these activities? Sponge hair rollers have been around a long time. They're very soft. Anything with a handle sticks right in it. You may need something that's a little firmer. So in any type of hardware store, you can find a foam tubing in all sorts of different sizes, widths, and colors. That simply slip on and slip off. Or, if you need something even a little bit more customizable for a particular grip, get some Model Magic. And have the child put it around the spoon, the fork, the marker, have a child hold onto it. And then let it dry for a few hours. And it will maintain the shape of his grip. And become a fully customizable grip for that child.
Okay, another idea with seating is to simply take a look at the height. We all like the children's feet flat on the floor. Okay, this little guy, the height of the seat was about 2 1/2 inches too high for him. So we just put the chair inside the box and so his feet rest solidly on the top of that box. I'm moving quickly through here because of course we're running out of time very quickly. Laundry basket support. We saw that originally. But did you think about taking that laundry basket from the bathtub which of course holds the toys nicely and gives the child some seating support. But you can also take it outside and put it inside a wagon. And so the child again, is more independent and can participate with siblings or whomever outside by taking a ride in the wagon. With just some very common paper towel to hold you up. Paper towel rolls, pool noodles. Put something in a basket in front and you've got a whole nice little play scenario. This Mom was terrific. It's a non-slip for new walkers by using that glue gun.
So, simply using slippers or soft shoes, use hot glue gun for skid proof grip bottoms. Okay, since we again, are getting tight on time, I want to refer to the handout because on the handout, you will be able to, between the handout and finding the archive copy of this Power Point, you will be able to find suggestions and ideas for lots and lots of things. What I would like to suggest you do though is to not just go to any do it yourself Pinterest type of resource. I would search by exactly what you're looking for. Communication aids, sensory aids. Search by perhaps assistive technology. Do it yourself technology. A lot of those examples of words to search for are on your handout as well as different sources that you can go to. Just gonna go quickly through here. Using pool noodles. Lots of different ideas for visual sequences as schedules.
Here's our DIY resources. Pinterest and YouTube will not only give you ideas, but will give you step by step instructions. These are also great for family workshops, for teacher workshops. We know sensory bags and babies. A lot of little kids do not like to get messy. These are still provide opportunities for children to explore new textures using materials. And in a way that also complements their sensory profile. Again, looking at lots of different bags and different ways of doing this. Most of these are dollar store things. Just keep going Anna Maria, I'm about three ahead of you. Another thing that's very very popular are different chewy types of things. A lot of these things can be very expensive. There's several different sensory websites. A lot of them are from the, called OT Mom.
Different ways of providing you for a customized way to find out what your child likes to chew on and to make sure that you have something that's safe. And yet, really addresses the need to help children pay attention to what's going on around them. There's YouTube subscriptions. We have included eight different sites that if you subscribe to are really terrific resources for young children with disabilities and ways that you can adapt everyday items as well as customize things. ATKansas channel has specifics on making a switch adapted toy. AT in NH, keep going. Okay, there's the switch adapted toy. This is Therese Willkomm who I mentioned before and showed you in that video. Subscribe to her site. It's absolutely fantastic. She has how to make iLeans, light boxes, universal cuffs, iPad stands.
All of these things have YouTube videos and step by step instructions available for free for anybody who is interested. Here is iLean where you take recyclable materials and turn it into an iPad or iPhone holder for kids that are very, very secure and will not go flying. Tots n Tech is no longer with us but they still have a YouTube channel showing how to make a lot of adaptations and assistive technology supports for young children. So let's as a final parting note remember, AT helps families and teachers to help kids. And you are a very necessary part of this process. I'd like to suggest that if any of you would like to share any ideas or pictures of ideas or instructions or other resources, I'm sure CTD would be delighted to compile them and put them up with the archive copy of this Power Point. Because it's really in sharing with each other that we find out the things that work best for ourselves and for our kids. Thank you so much for attending today. And...