Review TapToTalk, Nonverbal Communication App

A photo taken of my iPod Touch

A photo taken of my iPod Touch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TapToTalk is an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) application for handheld devices and computers that creates more positive conditions to help the non-verbal and partially verbal communicate better with those around them.

The program is available in over 20 languages and is used across the world.  The app is free to download but there is a lot more available when the Designer is purchased.  With the Designer a personalized version of TapToTalk can be created for each individual and shared amongst many different devices and used with parents, teachers, therapists, etc.  With the Designer you can put in your own pictures, text and audio to better suit your user, and choose from a large TapToTalk library to customize things for your use.

I spent 10 or so minutes working with Tap To Talk with my daughter one morning. She will be 2 later this month and doesn’t really communicate verbally very often. She uses sounds and various types of communication, but not many words.  She really loved the site and was able to click on some of the words herself.

After that day she has been much more verbal. She now says ball, “I want”, “bird” and a few more things she was not saying before we tried the program and that was just a few days ago.  She also tries to verbalize a lot more than she was before.  It is like a code was discovered in her mind that verbalizing is now a preferred method for her, even though she is still working on the combinations.

Of course Tap to Talk can be extremely useful to people of all ages who are non-verbal or have particular communication and cognitive differences.  I wonder how it would work on the phone, since I know a family member with a speech impediment caused by cerebral palsy and understanding her on the phone can be much more difficult than in person.

It works by including several categories that a person may deal with on a day-to-day basis, such as numbers, choices, help me, as well as learning topics.  There are pictures in each category and you click on a picture and the word is announced by either a male or female voice, you choose.  Also, sentences related to the object in the picture are verbalized.

TaptoTalk Designer can be purchased for $99.95 for a year of $175 forever.  Remember the app is free to download so check it out first if you know or work with any non-verbal or partially verbal people who may be able to benefit from this tool.  There is also a 30-day-no-risk-refund policy. Visit taptotalk.com to try it out.

Tap to Talk can be used on: Kindle Fire, iPhone, iPad, iPod
Touch®, Nook Color, Nintendo DS products, Android™
phones and tablets, Blackberry™ Playbook®, plus PCs,
Macs, netbooks and tablet computers.

Disclaimer: I was provided with information to review this app, however all opinions are my own.

Extended Breastfeeding Vegan: Still Nursing

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Topinambour)

The breastfeeding relationship can ebb and flow over the course of a natural duration.  Natural duration, is commonly called extended breastfeeding, but it is not extended when it comes to the history of humanity across cultures.  The natural duration of weaning is between ages 4 and 7. With all the breastfeeding controversy I wanted to share a particular report I read last year.  I think it would be great to add some stories here and my breastfeeding inspiration to paint a vivid picture of the breastfeeding diorama.

One story:

A woman could not breastfeed.  Her nipples were inverted and she did everything she could to try breastfeeding her daughter but it didn’t work.  She used her love and passion for the “womanly art” to write a guide for mothers participating in WIC in her area about breastfeeding.  I hope this woman is a Lactation Consultant or working in the birth/postpartum, maternal/child health field today.  We need more people like her in the field!

Story two:

I did a breastfeeding counselor training while pregnant with my first daughter.  I was inspired by the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the fact that babies were suffering because they didn’t have clean water for formula.  I thought they could find out which women were lactating and make sure the babies were fed.  Breastfeeding was something I’d never thought of before.  5 years later my two daughters are still breastfed. I know that I was able to keep this up through support and accurate information.   I can understand how easy it is to not breastfeed or to not stick with it if you don’t have qualified support or accurate information, and sometimes it really is impossible.  However breastfeeding is a powerful act and unfortunately I see so many times that people criticize women who breastfeed for an “extended” period of time, by saying they’re doing it for themselves.

I believe this is the farthest from the truth.  I believe that mother’s who continue to breastfeed their children after whatever is thought of as reasonable in their inner circle, do so for the children.  I literally think there are zero women out there who are clinging to their children and forcing them to breastfeed.  I literally think there are zero moms who don’t look forward to having their bodies back.  Yes, it is awesome to snuggle up and watch your children so closely while they nurse…but its not always so pretty.  You may have to go through stages of biting, quick snacks, wrestling, twiddling, non-stop nursing marathons, and so on.   Children learn more about empathy through these stages, when they are patiently corrected and shown the impact they have on mommies.

So without going through the whole list of benefits for the child, the parent and communities, let’s just say that no one is breastfeeding strictly for their own benefit.  It’s a team effort.

UPDATE May 2017:

I stopped breastfeeding my kids about ages 6 and 4.5.  I now have a new baby.  One person I talked to about extended breastfeeding is Sophie Emma Rose.  She dedicated herself to normalizing extended breastfeeding also known as child-led weaning.  Check out her Youtube Channel here.

Consider donating to her son here: https://www.youcaring.com/sophieemmarose-819142

Correcting Engrained Childhood Issues…

If you love your children or the children in your life(and I’m sure you do) you may want to protect them from some of the issues that could stunt their emotional growth.

Sometimes it may look as if you’re being harsh to your children or those you don’t want to influence them negatively.

It could be another child, a family member, a neighbor, or a television show. It could be an idea or a philosophy, it could be an illness.

But inevitably life hands all of us blocks. Things that seemingly get in the way of our progress, but perhaps they actually offer us the ability to progress more steadily, with more fulfillment and understanding. This is so for our children.

For children life can be extremely involved. Children are like sponges and some things they just can’t process completely. This doesn’t stop them from trying however. They do their best and sometimes this leads to issues. I certainly remember things from my childhood that I misunderstood and took deeply into myself. I’ve also seen the wheels rolling in the minds of other children as they put ideas together to see their way around a difficult issue.

What do we as adults do to help them with them? Is there anything we can do? I think it depends on the issue what the best response is, but most importantly I think children need to be heard and need to know they are supported. If you can’t do it yourself, try to find someone who can.

Adults are not superheroes, we can’t all offer everything to the children in our lives, but we can be honest and acknowledge what they’re going through. Please don’t ignore your children’s issues. It may be painful, and we don’t want to look at the things we feel we can’t solve, but its important to bring awareness to each situation you witness, and to let the child know they are not alone, that they can find their way out.

If you ignore the issue may become several unnamed issues that are too difficult to tackle as they spider-web around the whole world of the child. They may grow up and become an adult that looks fine on the outside but is choked up by the spinning inside. Or they may become an adult that is so caught up and dissheveled they can barely function. Or they may encounter a breakdown at a very early age.

As parents we can’t be responsible for the outcomes of anyone else’s lives, even our children. We have to let go and allow…but we can bring focus to what we notice and what we feel is important and be aware of the issues so that they may reach the light of day and be uncovered before they become too many issues to see clearly.

These things will come up. Sometimes they will be solved quickly and sometimes they may take years before anyone can really understand the answer, but it is worth it to just allow the truth to sit out in the open. I hope this inspires adults to show awareness of their own childhood issues that may need to be released, as well as the issues of the children in their lives.

–Nanny Naturale