We have included Bluebee Pals in our grammar skills. Last week, Sammy the bear helped my students practice their prepositional phrases. My students took turns hiding Sammy behind, under, in, and on various items in the classroom. Using a free text to speech app, Sammy would call out “Hey, where am I?” When found, my students would use our “location words” to describe where Sammy was hidden. Once a student correctly identified the location, he/she would give him a hug and Sammy would say, “I love you, _______!” They were SO motivated, and Sammy got a lot of hugs!
Using Bluebee Pals has helped me to personalize my student’s learning! I have students with autism that find it difficult to attend to their peers in conversation. My Bluebee pal is a very patient listener, and a persistent communicator who never gets mad or frustrated! It’s a great step towards conversational skills! It’s awesome to have a communication partner who you can rely on to have an interest in any topic!
The soft snuggle factor of a Bluebee Pal cannot be ignored! Pairing a Bluebee pal with Raz Kids or a book being read on YouTube, and my students love cuddling up to listen to stories!
I brought in some of my son’s old baby clothes and Sammy the bear practiced getting dressed to go outside in different weather conditions. After using a writing chart, we then created a book for Sammy to read to us! My AAC users have also shown great interest in sharing their voices with a Bluebee Pal! Anything that motivates students to communicate more is a win in my book!
What is assistive technology? Assistive technology is any device, software or equipment that can help kids with learning and attention issues work around their challenges so that they can learn, communicate and simply function better. These products can make a significant impact on student learning. They can help kids become more successful and productive students, which can help grow their confidence and independence.Ranging in levels of sophistication, assistive technology is an ever-growing and dynamic field.
Here are some examples of assistive technologies:
“No Tech”—These items include pencil grips, post-it notes, slanted work surfaces, paper with raised lines, tactile numbers, letters or objects, magnifying bars, work organizers and weighted pencils.
“Low Tech”—These items include answer buzzers or buttons, talking calculators, microphones, switches, and tap lights.
“High Tech”—These include specialized keyboards, software applications, Text-to-Speech technology, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, computers, word processors, augmentative communication devices, classroom amplification systems, and computerized testing.
Here are a few of our favorite affordable classroom assistive technologies:
Tips: Having the right AT tool can make a huge difference for your child’s education. A good way to choose an assistive technology tool is to start with a specific struggle or need that a child is displaying.
Bluebee Pals are one of our favorite assistive technology learning tools! Bluebee Pals “speak” when connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone or to apps on a tablet. Their mouths open and close and their head turns in a natural speaking position which makes them come to life. They are perfect snuggly study buddies for engaging students in reading practice while reading book apps, practicing skills in educational learning apps, and in practicing and learning social skills. Used with any targeted apps with voice narration, they motivate students to want to interact and learn. They are especially fun to use when recording your child’s own voice!
Nothing captures a child’s interest quicker than robots! They are very useful, hands-on tools to keep children actively engaged while learning, and can help with teaching a variety of subjects including STEM, motion, directionality, sequencing, estimation, problem solving, programming, and math skills. They also help students practice and build social skills while working in peer groups. You can create and measure angles, learn sight reading words, strengthen coding skills, or just use robots as a fun engagement tool. With robots, children think they are playing but they are actually learning. Robots are available for all ability levels, from beginning coding to advanced. They are particularly suitable for special needs students. Here are a few that are worth checking out.
Jimu Robot BuzzBot and MuttBot Kit
Bee-Bot and Pro-Bot, by Terrapin Software
Cozmo, by Anki
Audio Recorders and Buttons:
Many e-books have audio files and self recording features (for auditory feedback) and smartphones and tablet computers come with text-to-speech software that can read aloud anything on your child’s screen. If a child struggles with writing or taking notes, an audio recorder can capture what the teacher says in class so your child can listen to it again at home. Fun button recorders allow the user to make choices, practice speech, give messages, practice spelling words, and record short answers.
These inexpensive devices help kids who have trouble with pacing. Timers can be used as visual aids to show how much time is left to complete an activity. If a child has difficulty transitioning from task to task, timers can help him mentally prepare to make the switch.
Fun Time Timer by CodigoDelSur
Reading guides are good tools for kids who have trouble with visual tracking or who need help staying focused on the page. The plastic strip highlights one line of text while blocking out surrounding words that might be distracting. The strip is also easy to move down the page as your child reads.
For those with attention challenges and/or sitting still, students have the opportunity to wiggle or bounce while still being productive using wobble stools and exercise balls. Inflatable seat cushions are also available to help kids with sensory processing and attention issues. The cushion can provide enough movement and stimulation to help a child maximize his focus.
Depending on your child’s math issues, it might be appropriate for him to use a basic calculator in class. There are also large-display calculators and even talking calculators. A talking calculator has built-in speech output to reads the numbers, symbols and operation keys aloud. It can help your child confirm that he has pressed the correct keys.
Free Talking Calculator by Roundhouse Software LLC
Recently I had the opportunity to work with Laura Jienke, founder of the brilliant Bluebee Pals in a preschool in Naples, FL – we had a blast! The teacher had been celebrating Dr. Suess’s Bday & NEA’s Read Across America the nationwide reading celebration that takes place the whole month of March. When Laura asked me to read a Dr. Suess book I was more than happy to since there had been some talk that his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was not politically correct. (That book was written in 1937 and the world was a different place, use it as an opportunity to share some history – don’t ban the book…) Bluebee Pals Celebrate with Creativity her at the Methodist School Day School!
The classroom looked like it was straight out of a Martha Stewart magazine!
The lead teacher made us feel right at home, the classroom not only had a Suess theme it was crawling with Bluebee Pals and cool creative projects like this graph. The teacher graciously gave the circle time over to myself and Riley the Zebra to share one of the masters famous books ~ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, the children helped to read the book and eagerly engaged in a counting activity. We also shared the Bluebee Pal dedicated app and got the kids off their bottoms and actively taking turns with the screen. I don’t know who had more fun, Laura and I or the children!
What is grammar vs syntax? To learn more about this, click here.
Looking for more information about grammar and syntax? Check out this resource by Anne Rowley
Many students with speech and language delays and disabilities have difficulty learning syntax and grammar. How can we help children learn to use better grammar and syntax in conversation? Incorrect syntax and grammar can affect overall communication if a message is misunderstood. This can lead to frustration and interacting with others that are less familiar. It also comes out in writing, which can affect academics.
There are many apps available that help target grammar and syntax. Below I am going to give a brief description of each with a link to the full review with tips on how to use Bluebee Pal.
Bluebee Pals are a welcoming friend encouraging learning and communication. Bluebee Pal can also be an ideal model to model correct syntax and grammar with specific apps.
Syntax City is a state-of-the-art application designed by Barbara Fernandes, M.S; CCC SLP, that targets a variety of grammatical elements in fun and engaging way for varying ages and abilities. The theme sets the tone for children visiting a variety of places within the city. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals: See below for the locations and goals that are being targeted: -Gym: Do/Does -Beach: Third person singular agreement -Bakery: Was/Were -Ski Resort: He/ She -Farm: Past tense verb agreement -Grocery: Has/Have -Park: Is/Are -Zoo: Regular and Irregular Plurals
To find out more information about this app and download, click here.
Grammar Apps by Super Duper
Super Duper Publications has a variety of apps that target grammar and syntax. Which apps? Here are some to download! Fun Decks such as I and Me, Adverbs, Understanding Double Negatives App, My Mine and Me are just to name a few. For a full list of apps to download that target grammar, click here.
Using Fun Decks with Bluebee Pal can be endless fun with these apps! For example, when you start the Super Duper Plurals app, Bluebee Pal will say “Max has many colorful _____” The child can listen to the sentence and then choose “balloon” or “balloons”. This app priced at $3.99 gives the option of tracking data, adding additional players.
Create Your Own Sentences with Pictello
What better way to practice what you learned than to create your own social stories and sentences with Pictello! Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals.To learn more about this app and using it with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Methodist Day school (Naples, FL) offers preschool classes for students 2 years old through 5 years old. Their program is set up so that each year students continue to build on the learning blocks of the previous year until reaching Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, which is a government-funded program to help prepare students for kindergarten. Methodist Day School was founded in 1961 under the auspices of First United Methodist Church, having the unique distinction of being the oldest preschool in Collier County.
2 Year Old Class Program: Fine motor skills, Gross motor skills, Eye/Hand coordination, Reinforcement of colors and shapes, Introduction to numbers & ABC’s,Table manners, Continuation of verbal skills. Students will participate in art, dance, and group activities to help encourage learning of age-appropriate skills.
3 Year Old Class Program: Pre-writing skills, Number and letter recognition, Cutting skills, Gluing skills, Language skills, Communication Skills, Cognitive Skills. Personal/Social skills such as dressing, using bathroom, and washing hands independently or with minimal assistance. Students will participate in creative play, music, art, exercise, and games to aid in learning the skills needed at this age.
VPK ~ Kindergarten Prep Program: Uses Creative Curriculum which includes: Math skills, Pre-reading skills with sight words, Beginning writing, Cognitive concepts, Comprehension, Communication skills, Dramatic play and Creative movement.
Bluebee Pals Affordable Assistive Technology Tool
This school welcomes technology as a positive re-enforement for enhancing early childhood learning. Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools acts a the teacher’s helper in engaging children in life skills and academic lessons.
In these photos, Bluebee Pal Riley the Zebra is reading the Dr. Suess App as the teacher participants by asking specific questions. In the other photos, Bluebee is representing the Bluebee Pals Educational/Life Skills App focusing on learning goals.Literacy * Daily Living Skills * Learning Actions * Expand Vocabulary *Sequencing * Making Choices * Categories. Bluebee brings joy and fun when singing to a variety of educational music apps. https://youtu.be/dRdxflMv15M
These soft huggable tactile companions offer endless education and diverse learning methods by allowing teachers to think outside the box. Engaging and motivating children to learn in a fun and low pressure setting; Bluebee’s are an wonderful affordable educational tool compatible to hundreds of apps with a narrative from inexpensive free apps to more technical speech therapy apps.
Pathways Strategic Teaching Center is a comprehensive education and treatment program servicing children with autism and related disorders. Founded in 1998 through a collaborative effort between Trudeau and local parents of children with autism, Pathways is committed to utilizing scientifically validated teaching strategies to improve the lives of children with autism and their families. Our organization is Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a division of The Trudeau Center. They are a school for students with special needs, aged 3-22, who are diagnosed with Autism and other related disorders. Our students are instructed based upon the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis, and receive speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, and other support services as needed. https://trudeaucenter.org/pathways-strategic-teaching-center/
Bluebee Pal Project
The founder of Bluebee Pals, Laura Jiencke met Megan Broz (Assistive Technology Professional) at the November Boston ASHA Conference and discussed Pathways Strategic Teaching Centers participating in the Bluebee Pals Project. Ms. Broz works with children with Autism in preschool classrooms and requested the opportunity for her staff to utilize Bluebee Pals as an assistive technology tool in a variety of speech/language and occupational therapy programs.
As a school for children with Autism and developmental delays, we are always seeking new and motivating ways to engage our students. During classroom groups facilitated by speech pathology and occupational therapy, our students were all introduced to Bluebee pals – and it was a hit! Students were following directions given by Lily the Lamb, dressing her for the season, and interacting with both her and others in the classroom. Some students requested to have more time with Lily and enjoyed exploring ways to “play” with her.
Students of all ages found ways to interact with Bluebee pals, many demonstrating increased motivation in and attention to the activities. Bluebee was not a replacement for the people involved, just a support to the human interactions that were already occurring. It was great, and we are continuing to develop activities to use with Bluebee pals! We are also really excited to explore the Bluebee Pal App! https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Want to enhance your child’s communication? Join us March 22 12:00-1:00 EDT at UCF CARD for this week! The Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool that “speaks” when paired with any iOS or Android device via Bluetooth connection. Bluebee Pals engage children during educational and therapeutic activities by providing the voice output/narrative during reading activities, fine motor/gross motor tasks, speech-language tasks, playtime and more! Learn how Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools can help your child increase participation in and attention to tasks to improve their functioning in all settings while having fun! Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lunch-bite-using-bluebee-pals-…
The University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities provides services within the geographical region that includes Orange, Lake, Osceola, Sumter, Brevard, Volusia, and Seminole Counties. Florida is home to many individuals with autism and related disabilities. In response to the needs of these people and their families, seven regional, nonresidential resource centers have been established.
The Centers serves both children and adults of all levels of intellectual functioning who have autism spectrum disorders, dual sensory impairments, or sensory impairments with other disabling conditions. A constituency board comprised of family members representing persons with autism and related disabilities meet quarterly with the Center staff to provide guidance on policies, priorities and activities.
The Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush affordable assistive technology tool that “speaks” when paired with any iOS or Android device via Bluetooth connection. Bluebee Pals engage children during educational and therapeutic activities by providing the voice output/narrative during reading activities, fine motor/gross motor tasks, speech-language tasks, playtime and more! Learn how Bluebee Pals can help your child increase participation in and attention to tasks to improve their functioning in all settings while having fun! Vist the Bluebee Pal Website. https://www.bluebeepals.com
Personalized learning refers to efforts to tailor education to meet the different needs of students. It involves “instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated” (The United States National Education Technology Plan 2017). To put it simply, personalized learning is a learning experience designed for each student with their specific needs in mind. Typically, technology is used to facilitate personalized learning environments. There are a multitude of resources available to address personalized learning.
Bluebee Pals are fun, motivating and engaging and can be easily integrated with any of the featured apps!
Here are a few App Recommendations:
Splash Math Grade K-5 Math Learning Games by StudyPad, Inc.
This math learning app features interactive content, personalized/adaptive learning, games, progress reports, a scratch pad for rough work and more. In the adaptive learning feature, topics start easy and build based on the user’s progress. Medium and hard levels are unlocked based on performance. For even more engagement, connect your Bluebee Palto narrate and provide feedback!
This app offers a variety of learning tools and games in hundreds of topics. Users can learn a language, master vocabulary words, learn to read, improve spelling and more. It’s customizable and tracks answers so users can easily see what they’ve mastered so far and what they need to work on more. Bitsboard personalizes games based on the individual player’s skill and knows when the user is ready to move on to the next challenge. Bitsboard games are fun to play with Bluebee Pals!
Ideal for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, BrainPOP Jr. offers standards-aligned movies, quizzes, games, and activities covering Science, Reading & Writing, Math, Health, Social Studies, and Arts & Technology. It encourages young learners to ask questions and form their own ideas. All text is read aloud to facilitate comprehension.Bluebee Palsare great friends to help you work and learn!
Articulation Station Pro provides students with the opportunity to record and listen to their own voices as they practice pronunciation of sounds and words in conjunction with a narrator who speaks them. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, the app lets students play with letter sounds through word games, sentences, and stories. Through these activities, students can build self-awareness, correct pronunciation and letter and word recognition. Activities can be tailored to meet individual student articulation needs. Your Bluebee Pal easily connects to the app and helps students listen and practice. Record student productions within the app and your Bluebee will speak in your students’ own voices. They will be captivated!
Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard that allows you to instruct in real time through interactive learning and lets students demonstrate knowledge by becoming the teacher (the best way to know if you know something is to explain it to someone else). It is an excellent tool for creating and designing presentations, forcing students to articulate their understanding, and collaborating with their peers.
This is an interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool you can use to teach/explain any concept. Screencasts allow teachers to duplicate and provide each student with his or her own teacher-created personalized video lesson. Each student controls the lesson and can work independently. They can pause, rewind, and listen to their teacher again. Additionally, those who miss class no longer lack the instruction, instead receiving the same lesson presented to their classmates.
Seesaw: The Learning Journal by Seesaw Learning, Inc.
Seesaw is a student-driven, digital student portfolio that inspires students to take ownership of and do their best work. Students are able to express themselves and reflect on their learning. Teachers find or create activities to share with students. Students take pictures, draw, record videos and more to capture learning in a portfolio. Parents and teachers see their child’s work and leave comments and encouragement.
Nearpod is a classroom tool for teachers to engage students with interactive lessons & assessments that students can access on any device. Teachers control the lesson, pushing content to student devices, which students complete at their own pace. Nearpod increases student engagement with lessons that require their interaction. Use Nearpod to collect and deliver video, web content, images, slides, PDF’s and assessments to your students in an single, organized collection for the lesson.
Students need personalized learning when it comes to classroom management in addition to instruction. Class Dojo provides teachers with a platform to track student behavior and assign positive and negative remarks. In addition, teachers can send instant messages to specific parents and share photos from the class. Students can choose their own avatar.
Google Classroom:A member of the Google Apps for Education suite of services that helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with their classes.
Easterseals Massachusetts focuses on the full potential of every person and is changing the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s everyday lives. They provide essential programs and services to children and adults with disabilities throughout the state. Easterseals ensures that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Their occupational, physical and speech therapists, assistive technology specialists, as well as our youth, employment, and transition teams are experts in their fields and provide services in a wide range of settings.
Easterseals Massachusetts is recognized nationally as a leader in assistive technology, their services are an excellent resource for children and adults with autism who need high and low technology solutions for home, work or school in order to increase their independence.
The Bluebee Pal Project & Easterseals
“I spoke with my team and everyone is thrilled and loved your product! .Our plans are to place 2 in each AT Loan Center and then use them directly with clients and our AAC Specialists, OTs and SLPs are so excited! Bluebee Pals will be a great communication and learning tool for all the assistive technology departments within Easterseals.” Kimberly Sokol: Vice President of Rehabilitation & Support Services-Occupational Therapist. http://www.easterseals.com/ma/
As a speech therapist working with young children, it can sometimes be hard to find ways to keep them engaged in therapy. The Bluebee Pal is a great interactive learning tool that is a fun and engaging way for the students to work on a variety of speech and language goal areas, especially when working with groups of children who all have different goals to be targeted.
The Bluebee Pal can target speech and language concepts such as making choices, categories, following directions, learning action words, expanding vocabulary, sequencing, inferencing, object function, wh-questions, articulation—the list goes on! The student’s love using the iPad and seeing the BluebeePal talk to them. The Bluebee Pal is another great assistive technology tool to have in a speech therapists toolbox…Laura N. Husted, SLP-M.S., Clinical Fellow-SLP
My mother knew the importance of using stuffed animals in times of trauma. She made and donated thousands of stuffed animals over 45 years as a volunteer at our regional hospital. The stuffed animals she made were simple dolls, and kids were encouraged to draw on them or just hold them close when stressed. They proved to be invaluable when working with kids and helped caregivers and first-responders to not only identify the problem a child might be experiencing, but also know what path to take in diagnosing and treating a child who has experienced upheaval in their life.
Stuffed Animals Utlized in Times of Trauma.
What is trauma exactly? Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association as an emotional response to a negative event. It can vary in its intensity amongst individuals, and a person does not have to directly experience an event but can witness it from a distance. This makes trauma both elusive and deeply personal. The effects can be immediate or manifest days, months , or years after an event. Identification is the first step in giving kids the help they need.
Bluebee Pals can be an essential tool in the classroom or the clinic in discovering kids who have experienced trauma or distress. Sometimes talking to an inanimate friend provides the space and unconditional support in which to express oneself. Kids can project any attribute onto a stuffed animal through that thinly veiled line between reality and fantasy to make it so
– “Leo is a good listener, Lily loves me, or Parker gives good hugs and keeps me calm.”
There is also a foundation of science in support of using a stuffed animals such as Bluebee Pals. When we hold something tight against our body, we activate our core. Try it – hold onto a pillow or stuffed animal tightly – feel it? Do you feel it in your belly? That “gut level feeling” comes shining through when activating our core. This posturally supported position can give rise to wakening our awareness as well as a sense of confidence when sharing or speaking. The deep pressure and proprioceptive benefits also release neurotransmitters that help us calm and focus.
Bluebee Pals are an assistive technology device that provides children with the confidence to try something new. And because of Bluebee Pal’s adaptability, he speaks the language of children. Whether it’s learning a new skill from playing an app or the chance to communicate through an AAC program or a phone call, he is a loving and consistent presence that supports children everywhere.
According to The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) , “Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Social and Emotional Learning can take place in both the home and classroom. With empathy and creating positive relationships with others. we can be happier and meet goals of social closeness. The goal of social closeness is so critical for children with complex communication needs. To learn more about Social Emotional Learning, check out this video below.
I love this concept of Social and Emotional Learning because it challenges parents, teachers and students to think outside the box. How can we take this concept and apply it to the Bluebee Pal? How can we teach children with more complex cognitive abilities the concept of feelings and emotions? This can be a tricky concept but very attainable. In my experience, I have learned to meet goals of social and emotional learning through multimedia strategies. I used materials such as books, cards, etc but also role play and use video modeling, which I find extremely helpful. Below I will list some helpful apps to start with how integrate our friend, Bluebee Pal!
Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. When creating a story, choose between Wizard or Expert depending on how much support you need. Name your story and then choose your voice, transition feature and filling out the “About Me” section.To learn more about this app, click here.
Let’s Be Social Pro
This app includes 40 written lessons and 5 video lessons developed by ASHA certified SLP’s. This app gives you ability to create customized lessons using your own pictures and text, Let’s be Social a therapeutic tool designed to help special needs professionals and parents teach social skills to those with delays in pragmatics. In order to meet social emotional learning, understanding social communication is key! To learn more about this app, click here.
Breathe Think Do with Sesame
This app helps teach skills such as problem solving, self control, planning and task persistence.This bilingual (English and Spanish), research-based app helps your child learn Sesame’s “Breathe, Think, Do” strategy for problem-solving. With app, there are challenging situations that can make a child frustrating. The app helps your child to make the monster breathe so that he can be calmer. Each time time the monster breathes, then you have to create a plan to help him. This free app helps teach vocabulary, strategies and problem solving. To learn how to use it with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Touch and Learn Emotions
Touch and Learn is an app that introduces new concepts related to feelings in a fun and exciting new way. This app focused on helping kids interpret body language and understand emotions. When the app starts up, the child has to answer the question, “Who is __(sad, tired, happy etc.?” The pictures included in this app are high quality and perfect to use for this task. This app can also be used to elicit conversation about facial expressions and other nonverbal communication. To learn how to use this app with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Let’s Use Language Pro
Written by ASHA-Certified SLPs, Let’s Use Language uses stories to teach the language concepts of: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites.This app includes 40 lessons and provides a context for learning language. The app is well organized and gives users the ability to create their own skill set or edit the current lesson plan menu.To learn more about this app and how to use it with Bluebee Pal, click here.
Let’s Use Language Pro is written by ASHA-Certified SLPs. This app uses stories to teach the language concepts of: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites.This app includes 40 lessons and provides a context for learning language. The app is well organized and gives users the ability to create their own skill set or edit the current lesson plan menu. This app relates well to the concept of Social and Emotional Learning with it’s embedded appropriate social behaviors in each story.
When you open the app, you have a choice of Vocabulary, Sequencing, Categories and Opposites. When you open the vocabulary section, you have a choice of various stories to choose from. These include; Visiting the Farm, Ella and Carly’s Day at the Beach, Playing Outside, Eating Lunch at School, A Day at the Zoo, Planting Flowers, Madison Gets Ready for Bed, Emma Goes to a Birthday Party, The Life Cycle of a Caterpillar and Tom’s Soccer Game. Once you open up the story, you can have the story read to you and then answer the questions related to the story. This is an excellent activity that works on reading comprehension (if you read it yourself), auditory comprehension (have the book read to you), answering “wh” questions and learning new vocabulary.
In the sequencing section, there are 10 stories to choose from. Once a story is selected, you have the option to either read it yourself or have it read to you. Then there is a sequencing activity. This is an excellent opportunity to work on sequencing, recalling information and time concepts. The pages are organized well, which makes the app easy to use and child friendly.
The categories sections is set up similarly to the sequencing and vocabulary section but the questions target categories. The opposites also includes 10 different stories with questions targeting opposites. I really love this app because it easy to navigate and consistent in the layout, which is so important for both a child and parent. This is also helpful for a therapist who is using multiple apps and materials.
How to use Learning Language Pro with Bluebee Pal:
Connect Bluebee Pal with your preferred device via bluetooth.
Once connected, let the fun begin! Choose a story such as Eating Lunch at School and Bluebee will read the story to your child.
Once the story is complete, Bluebee can ask the questions. Try this for each of the sections. Bluebee loves to help children learn language concepts and work on social language!
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is a free app created by Sesame Workshop that teaches your children (appropriate for ages 2 to 5) how to breathe, calm down and work through stressful everyday challenges. For example, Little Monster has trouble putting on his shoes. He is getting very frustrated. What should he do to work through his frustration? With this app, your child will help Monster breathe, calm down and then choose a solution to this problem (which helps a child learn how problem solve).
The app includes five different situations to help your child problem solve and learn how work through various problems. Your child has to finish each activity before moving onto the next one. As your child helps Monster breathe, the color of the background changes and his facial expression turns from upset to calm. Breathe Think Do with Sesamehelps teach your child new vocabulary, follow directives, learning simple problems solving skills and most importantly learn social emotional strategies to calm a child. The visuals and simple layout of this app is perfect for young children and will help your child put on their thinking cap.
The app also is also bilingual!
For many parents who have children with low frustration tolerance, attention issues and difficulty with transitions, this can be a wonderful app.
How to use with Bluebee Pal:
Connect Bluebee Pal to your preferred device via bluetooth.
With Bluebee Pal providing the verbal instructions, you child can “choose an activity”
Once the activity is chosen, you can work through how to breathe and stay calm with Bluebee Pal! Practice breathing with Bluebee Pal as your child helps monster breathe. How can you help Bluebee Pal breathe and stay calm? After tapping on Monster’s tummy, tap on Bluebee’s tummy!
“Read Across America” is an annual, nationwide reading celebration that takes place the week before and on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Across the country, thousands of schools participate by bringing together kids and books to emphasize the importance of reading and learning. You can help your child to read, learn and grow, during this special week, and year-round, too! Here are some suggestions to get you started…..(And Every Day, too)!
As a Speech Language Pathologist, I often use our classroom Bluebee Pals during therapy to work on reading, talking and playing skills! My students really relate to their Bluebee therapy friends, and look forward to learning with them! Teaching and learning begin at home. Parents are the first and most important teachers in the early, developmental years. Young children learn essential, foundational speech, receptive and expressive language, social, pre-reading, cognitive, numeracy and communication skills necessary for future academic success through meaningful play and lots of language rich learning opportunities.
Read, Read, Read!
Read to your child daily. Reading helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Parents provide many natural educational interactions while reading, talking about the subject matter and elements of the story, questioning about the story, and practicing story retelling.
During Read Across America week, books by Dr. Seuss are highlighted. Here are a few of our class favorites. Have your own Dr. Seuss celebration at home by reading with your favorite Bluebee Pals!
Parents need to talk to their children! Talking and commenting on the world around them is a great, natural way to teach children. Examples: In the grocery store: “How many yellow fruits do you see? How many green vegetables? Let’s buy three red apples”. In the car: “Let’s see how many blue cars we can count” or “How many things can people ride in to go somewhere”? “Let’s look for things that are orange”. “Can you find a stop sign? What colors are in a traffic light”? At home during interactive play: “Oh, wow, I see that you are racing your red car and your blue car. Which one do you think will go faster”? Simple commenting and talking about what you and your child are doing and seeing and asking questions is a powerful educational tool. Commenting on the world around them will build and reinforce basic concepts, numeracy, turn-taking, pragmatic skills, receptive and expressive language, critical thinking and reasoning skills, problem solving, grammar, and more.
Play, Play, Play!
Play with your children! Lots and lots of learning takes place during play! Play dolls, play trucks, play games, play marbles, play pretend! Provide opportunities for you preschoolers to interact with peers! Beginning games such as Candy Land, Spot It, Pop the Pig, I Spy, Zingo and more are great for practicing social skills, turn-taking, sharing, numbers, colors, matching and categorization skills. Playing and learning through songs and finger-plays such as “Itty Bitty Spider, 5 Little Ducks, etc, is a great way to teach rhyming, sequencing, memory and basic concept skills. Learning through play provides powerful opportunities for cognitive growth.
We are proud to introduce our latest Bluebee Pals Project site Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a program of the Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center located in Rhode Island. Pathways Strategic Teaching Center is an educational and treatment program that serves persons with autism and related disabilities. Founded in 1998, the program provides speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and behavior analysis in home, community and educational settings.
With an intensive staff-to-student ratio (often one-to-one), individuals ages 3 to 21 years are provided individually tailored curricula to increase communication, pre-academic/academic skills, daily living/self-care skills, play/social skills and behavior skills. Clients work towards tolerance of small and large group settings and are even provided assistance with transitioning via a transition apartment classroom where daily living and vocational skills are taught.
The staff at Pathways Strategic Teaching Center have been using Bluebee Pals weekly to encourage participation in otherwise non-preferred activities and tasks as well as a teaching/therapeutic tool for sustaining attention and targeting specific therapeutic and academic goals. Finding them “very simple to grab, connect, and start using so material making and therapy planning was not made more difficult” has allowed for Bluebee Pals to help increase success and participation in therapy groups, arts and crafts activities, reading and playtime. “We have thoroughly enjoyed our experience with Bluebee Pals and are encouraging parents of our students to investigate the possibilities for home.
We are expanding our opportunities and integration of the Bluebee Pals into our daily programming, and we are excited to find a larger variety of ways to use it!” stated Meghan K. Broz, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP of Pathways Strategic Learning Center. We are thankful for Pathways Strategic Learning Center and their creative use of Bluebee Pals to enhance their state-of-the-art program! https://www.bluebeepals.com/autism/
We are thrilled to incorporate Bluebee Pals Educational Learning Tools into our Speech and Language Program at College Place School District(College Place, WA). Bluebee Pals were provided to our school through the Bluebee Pal Project. College Place School is a diverse population of 1300 + students from K-12th grade. The District is comprised of one high school, one middle school, and one elementary school. CPPS offers a broad range of course offerings and programs that align with Washington State Learning Goals are offered to students at all grade levels.
Davis Elementary School offers a complete curriculum with a core focus on literacy, mathematics, and social sciences. Bilingual and English acquisition courses are offered. In the 2014-2015 school year, Davis added the Highly Capable Program for gifted students to Kindergartners – 5th grade students. John Sager Middle School includes a unique learning environment for students. The middle school also offers the Highly Capable Program, special education, and elective and exploratory classes.
College Place High School will support a four-year, comprehensive program with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Business. Currently, the High School is serving 9-12 graders. The core curriculum, a vocational program, honors, special education, and elective courses are offered. All students will complete a Personal Finance course as a Board directed requirement. College Place High School also supports Sea-Tech and Running Start programs for students. For more information regarding Washington State, Graduation Requirements
College Place School District-Camille Granitz-SLP
After I watched the Bluebee Pal Tutorial Facebook Live Stream Video presented by University of Central Florida, I was hopeful our school would be a recipient of Bluebee Pals through the Bluebee Pal Project donation program. We are happy to provide data and feedback from our usages and successes with Bluebee Pals. Our speech therapists and educators are anxious to implement Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools into our programs.Thanks for considering us for a donation of Bluebee Pals.
We just received Bluebee Pals them today! We are so excited to start incorporating them into our therapy.Thank you so much! We will update you with our success..
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has become widely recognized as the most effective treatment for autism spectrum disorder. ABA therapy follows a comprehensive treatment plan to produce socially significant improvement in behavior, while decreasing problematic behavior related to symptoms of autism. ABA teaches children how to learn from their environment, a skill that their typically developing peers already have. Bluebee Pals are a great tool for teaching children to learn from their environment. Bluebee Pal’s engage children in learning in a way that is fun in motivating, providing a unique way to present learning opportunities.
Bluebee Pals can be used for teaching individual skills and group social skills. The speaker function of Bluebee Pals help children to build speech skills, as they learn to echo words or respond to verbal prompts given by a Bluebee Pal. Children can develop receptive language skills by following directions given by a Bluebee. Since ABA is intense by nature, we’re constantly looking for the best ways to keep learners engaged. Creating an environment of engagement is a way ABA professionals help children succeed. Bluebee Pals provide a unique, engaging ways to teach skills.
ABA programming is teaching children self-regulation and social skills that will help them to be successful throughout life. Bluebee pals help children through hands on learning experiences. Bluebees can be used in social skills group by using the speaker feature to share a fun story that teaches a lesson about sharing. Children can be more engaged in the lesson, by using the Bluebee to prompt intraverbal responses throughout the story. After the story, children can then engage in a social skills activity that involves taking turns with the Bluebee.
Adding individualized support to a child’s natural environment helps a child learn in a way that is similar to peers. Bluebees Pals are a great tool for adding extra support by turning everyday experiences into fun learning opportunities. Additionally, Bluebees are a great tool, as their individualization allows them to be a learning tool throughout many stages of development. Bluebee pals add to ABA programming by creating unique ways to keep children engaged in intensive learning.
Bluebee Pals are uniquely suited for use during group circle time reading practice! Children love reading buddies, and Bluebee Pals make awesomely perfect reading friends!
It’s easy to do without spending a lot of extra time! Just connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth (Android or iOS) to your favorite storybook apps; make your own classroom books using a story creator app; carry-on a conversation, type in the text of your own book, or make up your own stories by using a text-to-speech app; or utilize narrated YouTube book videos! Here are some ideas to get you started. Have fun!
1. Book apps
Connect your Bluebee Pal to any of your storybook apps to make storytelling come to life! Your Bluebee Pal will “read” any story, with natural head and mouth movements! Children will become immediately more engaged and attentive! Pause the app at any time to discuss the book and ask questions with your students! Some book apps allow the user to record/retell the story with their own voice! Some of our favorite book apps:
Even Monsters Are Shy by Busy Bee Studio: Ben helps his new monster friend overcome his shyness.
Talk For Me – Text to Speech by Darrin Altman: Interact with your Bluebee Pal by typing in text for your Bluebee to speak! Ask and answer questions, carry-on a real time conversation! Make up your own stories or type in the text of books for your Bluebee Pal to read.
Do you want to expand your child’s language? Help them learn vocabulary? Reading aloud is one of the best ways to meet these goals! Let Bluebee Pal read to your child with these recommended apps below! To learn more about the link between language development and reading, click on this article here.
Recommended Reading and Literacy Apps
One More Story
One More Story is an app that I have used with students for years in order to help improve cause and effect, vocabulary, literacy and auditory comprehension. With this subscription based app, you can access over 76 books including Pete’s a Pizza, Bear books (Barefoot Books), Mouse Paint and much more. With each book, the story is read to the individual with a voice that varies in intonation and matches the mood of the story. The story is also accompanied by background music that helps to keeps the student’s focus. To read more about this app and how to use it Bluebee Pal, click here.
Clicker Books is a book making app that helps supports students with varying abilities. The app includes speech support which helps students to review and self monitor what they have written within the Clicker Book app. You have the option of creating your own book, using a sample book or editing your own book. Within each sample story, you have the option to “read”, “talk”, “write” or “illustrate”. Clicker’s “SoundShift” button allows students to listen to any word on the page, or in the word predictor, or spell checker. Inside the Clicker Books App, there is also word predictor that helps suggest words that fit within the context of the student’s writing (for example, if you type “drink” words related to beverages would be proposed). To learn more about this app, click here.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It doesn’t have to be the holiday time to read this classic book! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss’s books are timeless and this app tells the story of the Grinch with animated voices and interactive features. It comes with a voice-over narration, so the child can either read it themselves, listen to the book with the voice that comes with the app or records the voice. The app comes with the following features: Tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track the time spent reading that is available in the Parents section. This last feature is ideal for reading logs which teachers require you to time how long your child needs to read for each night. The activities included in the app are mini-games such as Memory Match, puzzles, word searches, and a sequencing game. There are also 28 hidden games in the app itself. To read more about this app,
Nick Jr. Books app is a collection of digital books featuring stories from the most popular Nick Jr friends, including PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Dora and Friends, SpongeBob SquarePants, Team Umizoomi, Wallykazam, and Blues Clues. Within each ebook, there are 3 reading modes including auto-read, read-aloud and read myself. Interactive effects and character animations are included on every page. This app includes parent tips and reading comprehension questions that help children expand on vocabulary. The app is free to download, and comes with 3 free books: Blaze: Blaze of Glory, PAW Patrol: Pup, Pup, and Away, and Team Umizoomi – Carnival. With an in-app purchase, you can buy 49 additional books. Other features include a parents section for account management and app settings, daytime, and nighttime modes, interactive elements on every page, reinforcement for reading each book, developing Spanish reading skills with 4 Dora books in Spanish and offline reading. To learn more about this app, click here.
A Day in the Market
A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) is about a little girl’s very first trip to the market with her mother. The market is an exciting cultural adventure as she meets lively vendors, see a variety of foods and items and finds a special item that she wants! To find out what this special thing is, you can download this app for free and read the storybook. For an additional $2.99, you get access to the book in two other languages, a sorting game and interactive scenes that bring the book to life. To learn more about this app, click here.
The StoryBots App is an educational and lively app that includes over 250 educational books, videos, and games. This free app includes characters from the hit Netflix original series, “Ask the StoryBots” and “StoryBots Super Songs and also has the ability to add your own photos such as Bluebee Pal’s picture to make the stories and videos personalized. This app is used in more than 20,000 classrooms around the world and can help get your child engaged in literacy, math, and history activities. To learn more, click here.
Record your own story for your child to hear read aloud! Imagistory is an inventive and creative app that brings wordless books to life. After recording the book, attach your Bluebee Pal for a fun and inventive way of storytelling. Imagistory is created for children ages 3 and up and gives children the opportunity to be creative with their storytelling and narrative skills. The stories that are created by the app can be recorded and saved so you can listen to them again later and share them family members, the staff at a school, etc. To check out this app review, click here.
Go Away Big Green Monster App
There has not been a child that I have met that doesn’t love the book, Big Green Monster. Go Away Big Green Monster is an interactive and engaging book about A Big Green Monster. Reading this book can help a child learn body parts, numbers, attributes, colors and additional basic concepts. It can also facilitate the concept of commenting and improving of descriptive language. This interactive app builds upon the book experience by slowly revealing each part of the Big Green Monster. This is done with animation, sound and visual effects. With this app, you can either “Read myself”, “Read along with Ed Emberley (the author of the book), “Read along with a friend” or “Sing Along”. This choice of either choosing an adult or a child to read the story is unique and clever. Each page introduces a new body part which the reader adds on in each page. By the end of the story, don’t get scared though! Each body part goes away till the Monster is disappears! To read more about this app, click here.
Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To learn more about Pictello, click here.
Crepes with Suzette App
Crepes with Suzette is a beautifully fun and engaging story book that has recently been back on bookshelves and available for purchase! I have always loved this book because it’s interesting illustrations and embedded language. Each time I read this book, my children want crepes after! Crepes with Suzette become alive with the Crepes with Suzette app! With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. My children and I had a lot of fun with this app and they learned a ton of new words in different languages! To learn more about this app, click here.
Do you want your child to learn new languages and expand their vocabulary? How about exposing them to art and the city of Paris? Check out Crêpes by Suzette App by Monica Wellington! Crepes by Suzette is a wonderful and interesting book about a crepe maker in Paris. This crepe maker travels the city and with the illustrations, music and interactive features of this app, you get the sense of what Paris is like. This book was originally published in 2004 and has recently been republished again after a short time out of print. After reading this book, you and your child will want to make crepes!
About the app, Crepes by Suzette
After downloading the app, check out the variety of interactive features. With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. As your child turns the page on this app, you child can activate each character who will speak the key word in different voices. For example, in this page below, after the text is read the reader can activate Suzette, the postman, the bird, the bunny, the dog, etc. Each character will say “Bonjour” in a different voice. When you navigate back to the vocabulary page, you can learn what Bonjour means and how you can translate it into five different languages. There is also a link to the “art” page which describes the art within each scene. Download here.
Bluebee Pal Goes to Paris
Connect your Bluebee Pal to your favorite device via bluetooth.
When you open the app, choose “Read to Me”
Bluebee Pal will read this interactive story to your child! Touch the different pictures in the scene and you will hear the target word. For example, the phrase On y va in French means Let’s go in English.
Touch the “video icon” from the home page and you will see short clips of artists in Paris. Press on vocabulary and you can learn new vocabulary in six different Learning ! This app is endless fun for your child and Bluebee Pal. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/
Meadow Drive Elementary School – Mineola Union Free School District Meadow Drive Elementary School is located in suburban Long Island. We serve over 350 diverse students in grades Pre-K through grade 2. We have had a 1:1 iPad initiative for over two years. Our school has a dual-language program on each grade level, where students learn in both English and Spanish. We have several students who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication as their primary form of communication, some using bilingual (English/Spanish) AAC apps.
We met at the ASHA Conference last week in Boston. My intern, Laura, is now featured on your Facebook page. I spoke with my principal about the Bluebee Pal Project and she was super excited about the Bluebee Pal donation. We were thinking that the Bluebees would be an amazing assistive technology tool to our Dual Language classrooms, paired with our Spanish speaking apps! The other SLP in my school was hoping to use them with ourPre-k phonological awareness groups, andI plan on continuing to use them with my life-skills students.Barbara Peters, MS CCC-SLP..https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Bluebee Pals have been an amazing, versatile addition to my therapy toolbox! I’ve used “Sammy the bear” with students with ADHD and ASD, as a step towards improving their ability to attend to a communication partner’s request! My AAC users are so motivated to make him talk when I pair the Bluetooth with their AAC apps, and having “Sammy” as a bilingual communication partner using bilingual AAC apps is so exciting! “Sammy” has also been part of whole group literacy lessons where we took turns dressing him up in clothes to go outside on a cold, winter day. We created a book describing what we did, and when “Sammy” reads the book at the end of the activity, my students are SO excited!
Barbara Peters, MS CCC-SLP- Language Pathologist
The students love Bluebee! We named our “Pedro el Perro” and “Sally la Cebra” so they get excited when they come out to sing songs.
I’ve been using them with footsteps2brilliance to sing the alphabet and other nursery rhymes. The students are so engaged when they come out and love singing along!
Dual Language Teacher, Miss Bauer
We love our Bluebee amigos! We named them: “Chippy el leon y Corazon cordero”! We use them to read to us in Spanish and sing songs for us! They love following along to the books with our new pals! Gracias!
Dual Language Teacher, Miss V.
My students LOVE Bluebee pals!!! They are so engaged when “Sammy” comes out to say hi and teach them some new fun lessons/skills! My students have shown an increase in language development because of “Sammy”, our Bluebee Pal!!
Bluebee Pals tech companions have become an effective personalized learning tool in many classrooms. Educators are mesmerized by the diversity of the various applications Bluebee provides to teachers and parents. Bluebee connects to a variety of reading, educational and music apps; educators are expressing how Bluebee motivate and engage children to learn. Bluebee Pals are very affordable and can be purchased by purchased order https://www.bluebeepals.com/purchase-orders/ or directly at Amazon and bluebeepals.com. https://www.bluebeepals.com/store/
Bluebee Pals educational plush learning tools have been implemented as an assistive technology tool in Pre-K classrooms for mainstream and special needs children. Many therapists and teachers are incorporating Bluebee Pals into their lessons plans and therapy sessions and witnessing positive results in learning. The personalized learning approach engages children to listen as Bluebee participates in directives in conjunction with the teacher.https://www.bluebeepals.com/general-education/
Bluebee Pals are a plush tech learning companion that connects all Apple and Android devices(phones, tablets & laptops) through Bluetooth and pair with all educational, reading and game apps. Introducing these tech companions motivates and inspires children to learn while increasing communication and social skills. In 2018, Bluebee Pals released their premium BluebeePal Pro 4.0 with robotic head movement and a “free” educational and lifestyle App. The app introduces a Bluebee Pal House with rooms and games to teach Pre-K children social/emotional skills, speech/ language and basic curriculum.
They are part of the growing trend of personalized learning providing students more opportunities to become architects of their own learning path as technology adapts to their specific needs. Personalized learning consists of customized learning paths. These paths adapt to the learner as each student accesses the curriculum and moves forward. Students set the pace and take responsibility for the learning process. https://www.bluebeepals.com/special-needs/
Pathways Strategic Teaching Center located in Coventry, Rhode Island is a comprehensive education and treatment program servicing children with autism and related disorders. Founded in 1998 through a collaborative effort between Trudeau a human service organization and local parents of children with autism, Pathways is committed to utilizing scientifically validated teaching strategies to improve the lives of children with autism and their families. The organization is Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a division of The Trudeau Center. The school is for students with special needs, aged 3-22, who are diagnosed with Autism and other related disorders. Students are instructed based on the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis and receive speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, and other support services as needed.https://trudeaucenter.org/pathways-strategic-teaching-center/
Bluebee Pal Project and Autism
The founder of Bluebee Pals, Laura Jiencke met Megan Broz (Assistive Technology Professional) at the November Boston ASHA Conference and discussed Pathways Strategic Teaching Centers participating in the Bluebee Pals Project. Ms. Broz works with children with Autism in preschool classrooms and requested the opportunity for her staff to utilize Bluebee Pals as an assistive technology tool in a variety of speech/language and occupational therapy programs.
Pathways Strategic School
As a school for children with Autism and developmental delays, we are always seeking new and motivating ways to engage our students. During classroom groups facilitated by speech pathology and occupational therapy, our students were all introduced to Bluebee pals – and it was a hit! Students were following directions given by Lily the Lamb, dressing her for the season, and interacting with both her and others in the classroom. Some students requested to have more time with Lily and enjoyed exploring ways to “play” with her. Students of all ages found ways to interact with Bluebee pals, many demonstrating increased motivation in and attention to the activities. Bluebee was not a replacement for the people involved, just a support to the human interactions that were already occurring. It was great, and we are continuing to develop activities to use with Bluebee pals! We are also really excited to explore the Bluebee Pal App!
Meghan K. Broz, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP: Pathways Strategic Teaching Center-Coventry, Rhode Island
Have you recently purchased the Bluebee Pal 4.0? To learn more about its interactive tools features, click here. Now that you have your Bluebee Pal, it’s time to download your free companion app, The Bluebee Pals App includes key features that help building speech, language and learning with your child. To learn about what speech and language goals you can target with your Bluebee Pal app, click here.
Features of the App
Introduction Video: This video explains how to connect your Bluebee Pal to your device and get started!
5 Life Skills Rooms: The Bluebee five rooms teach activities of daily living including bathing, brushing hair, brushing teeth, bedtime routines, various kitchen items including meals. Each room is a scene based display with various hot spots to help your child build vocabulary, improve visual awareness and become more familiar with specific objects that belong in a room. These rooms are common to all children regardless of your cultural background. What is your child’s favorite room? For those parents who struggle with specific life skills, this can be an opportunity to explore a routine in a fun and interactive way (e.g. brushing teeth, brushing hair, etc.) If Bluebee can brush his teeth, then you can do it too!
10 mini games! Included in this free app are 10 educational games to inspire kids to learn while they are playing. Skills practiced include early academics, letters, colors, puzzles. These games are brief, simple and interactive games that children of all ages and abilities can enjoy.
Link to Parent/Educator Resources: Need more information? Within the app, you will find a direct link app reviews based on specific interests such as discipline or specific area that you would like to focus on for your child. For example, if you would like to work on specific fine motor skills, check out Jo Booth’s app reviews. If you are looking for iMum’s app reviews, click right within the app for suggestions and recommendations from this reputable app reviewer.
Bluebee Mini Library: These are curated apps that come highly recommended by our app reviewers for use with Bluebee Pals. This links to the many apps that I have reviewed as well as my colleagues. You will never run out of ideas on what to do with your Bluebee Pal!
Record your own voice! With this feature, you or your child can record your own voice and hear Bluebee play it back. This is a fun feature that can encourage a child to vocalize and/or verbalize and get feedback on what their voice sounds like. If your child is minimally verbal, get him or her to record a simple sound such as a vocalization or a sound they can create.
What I like most about this app:
Lots of choices for a child! A child can pick their own Bluebee, their favorite colors balloon, a room of their choice or a game. The choices are endless.
This can be a great learning opportunity with errorless play and a lot of opportunity for language stimulation.
A wonderful way to grow vocabulary and word association when accessing different objects within a room.
The app is not overstimulating and is organized well.
The app is a perfect companion for the Bluebee Pal Pro!
Want to learn more about the Bluebee Pal app? Check out this video here:
I wanted to write an article to talk about the updated features of the award winning and interactive Bluebee Pal 4.0. I have been writing for Bluebee Pals for many years and have seen a significant transformation in how Bluebee has changed and interacted with the current technology. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with Bluebee Pals, let’s review! NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion (life skills /educational app) that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. The new Bluebee 4.0 allows the “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs. To watch a video of how this interactive tool works and can be used in the classroom, click here.
Head Movement, Why is this so important?
Why is head and mouth movement feature so important? When we communicate, we use all different ways to communicate. In one study, it was determined that 93% of our communication is nonverbal. Even if this number isn’t exact, it’s pretty close because most of our communication is nonverbal. What is nonverbal communication? Nonverbal communication is any communication we use with our body that is not speech. This includes facial expressions, gestures, head movement, eye contact, etc. With this new feature of head and mouth movement, a child can be more engaged with Bluebee Pal. Head movement is a type of nonverbal communication and important in the way we interact with each other. Check out this article that explains it more. To learn more about nonverbal communication and why it’s so important click here.
What are some other features that you can use with your child and the new Bluebee 4.0?
Use your Bluebee Pals Pro as a wireless speaker phone. Talk to your child or friends through the Bluebee Pals Pro by placing a call to a cell phone paired with them. When there is an incoming call, your ringtone will sound from Bluebee Pals Pro (this function may vary in different brands of cell phones).
2018 was an exciting year for Bluebee Pals with the Bluebee Pal App launching and the Bluebee Pals Project expanding. A major expansion took place in O-Town (what we Orlando natives like to call our town along with “The City Beautiful” and home of “The Mouse”) over the course of the year with numerous additions to the Bluebee Pals Project.
The new additions included The Academy for Autism, Advanced Learning Academy, Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool as well as a live broadcast at the UCF AAC Lab & FAAST Atlantic Regional Demonstration Center.
With the help of therapists at the Academy for Autism and preschool teachers at Calvary City Christian Academy, we were able to create video tutorials to help speech therapists, occupational therapists and teachers use Bluebee Pals to increase success in their therapy and classroom settings. If you haven’t already, check out these tutorials by visiting the www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials (you can also click on the button at the top of the website home page). We encourage all therapists and educators to view and share this resource to ensure your Bluebee Pals are working well for you and your clients!
The University of Central Florida AAC Lab houses the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) Atlantic Regional Demonstration Center. The AAC Lab and FAAST Center provide valuable resources, training, and services to persons in need of assistive technology including Alternative Augmentative Communication Devices, low-tech and high-tech equipment to aid with access to technology and daily living tasks, adapted toys and more! Bluebee Pals are part of the FAAST Center’s AT Lending Library making them available to those in need across the region.
Bluebee Pals were invited to provide a “tutorial session” as part of the “FAAST Fridays” monthly training series in December of 2018. The tutorial was presented in-person and also broadcast on the UCF AAC Lab Facebook page for virtual viewing. We thank the UCF AAC Lab & FAAST Center for inviting us to be part of their series of informational sessions. Shannon Stuckey, a school-based SLP, participated in the tutorial and was the winner of a free Bluebee Pal! Congrats Shannon!
It’s clear that 2018 was a stellar year for Bluebee Pals with increased implementation in the educational and therapeutic settings in Orlando and across the Nation! Happy New Year to all and keep checking back to see what 2019 will bring!
NEW YORK December 23, 2018 — Bluebee Pals has been selected for the 2018 New York Award in the Onlne Toy Store category by the New York Award Program.
Each year, the New York Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the New York area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2018 New York Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the New York Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About New York Award Program
The New York Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the New York area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The New York Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: New York Award Program
CONTACT: New York Award Program Email: PublicRelations@awardedlocal.org URL: http://www.awardedlocal.org
Mott Road Elementary School speech-language pathologist Jacqueline Cullen introduces the plush BluebeePal, Parker the Monkey, a student by speaking into an iPad microphone. The interactive learning tool is not only soft and cuddly, it also captures attention and enhances learning experiences by moving its head and mouth to relay recorded messages, talk, read, sing and play games with children.
Meet the Bluebee Pals: Soft, fuzzy and huggable, these stuffed animals are helping Fayetteville-Manlius elementary students with autism engage and focus while in the classroom. Through an existing partnership with researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District was asked to collaborate on a study to determine if students diagnosed with autism are more focused and attentive following directions from an adult or a Bluebee Pal. In June 2018, the district received a donation of 10 Bluebee Pals from LauraJiencke, CEO and founder of Kayle Concepts, through the company’s Bluebee Pals Project, a nonprofit organization that donates the cuddly characters to be used as an assistive technology tool to enhance speech therapy and special education instruction.
The 13-inch tall stuffed animals equipped with state-of-the-art technology connect with apps through smartphones, tablets, laptops or any Bluetooth-enabled device. Their mouths and heads move while they read stories and sing songs, engaging young students and assisting teachers with instruction. “Who doesn’t love a stuffed animal that is soft and cuddly?” said Lisa Miori-Dinneen, F-M’s assistant superintendent for special services. “I think it’s innovative to pair it with technology to engage and motivate children’s learning while providing comfort at the same time.” The district’s speech and special education teachers in each of the district’s three elementary schools are informally using the Bluebee.
So far, the Bluebees have proven to be a motivating tool, said Mrs. Miori-Dinneen. Children on the autism spectrum typically lack eye contact and engagement, but videos of the F-M students using the Bluebees show them intently watching the Bluebees’ mouths move, holding them closely to their ears to listen to them talk and following the directives the Bluebees give, such as touching a specific image on an iPad screen.https://www.bluebeepals.com/#
“It’s definitely novel and a nice enhancement to engage kids in instructional activities,” Mrs. Miori-Dinneen said. Recently at Mott Road Elementary School, speech-language pathologist Jacqueline Cullen used an iPad microphone app and a Bluebee to relay a set of directions to a student. The student watched and listened to the Bluebee, then immediately followed the directions to stand up and clap three times. The Bluebee also read an e-book displayed on the iPad and asked the students questions about the pictures on the screen. “Since the inception of the Bluebee Pals Project in 2015, Bluebee Pals have become an effective assistive technology tool for therapists and educators in obtaining language and educational goals with children with autism,” Jiencke said. “We are thrilled the FayettevilleManlius School District has utilized Bluebee Pals in its classrooms and the positive impact they provide as a creative learning tool in achieving communication and educational objectives.”
The Bluebees project is in addition to two other research projects the district is participating in with Dr. Howard Shane, a Harvard Medical School associate professor and director of the Center of Communication Enhancement at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. (VIS) is a communication method that uses visual supports-such as videos, pictures, and iPads-to enhance and expand the language and communication skills of students diagnosed with autism.Just in Time (]IT) instruction focuses on the effects of language and behavior of children with autism when directives are delivered through wearable technology, such as an Apple watch. F-M is the first and only school district that Dr. Shane and his colleagues have worked with.
ARTICLE Published: Fayetteville Manlius School District Newsletter Fall 2018
The iMums wanted to share their favorite Christmas holiday-themed apps favorites with you
Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities, and an extra carol. The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media have been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents onChristmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story.Santa’s Suit is Missing by Ginger Whale Apps is a story about Christmas Eve and it is snowing at the North Pole. It is your first day in Santa’s workshop, but all the work is done, the presents are packed, and the other elves are sleeping. You are feeling disappointed to have missed all the fun, when suddenly your Santa Phone beeps – Santa needs you!! Santa has lost his suit and needs a new one before he heads off to deliver the presents. You rush to the village to find him the perfect outfit. What will you get first? Boots? A hat? A suit? There are lots to choose from, will you get him a traditional Santa outfit or something different? Maybe a ballerina outfit or an astronaut suit? A Jester’s outfit or your own unique combination? Once you made your choices you take the suit back to Santa – but what will he think? You’ll have to read Santa’s Suit is a missing story to find out.Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas.’Twas The Night Before Christmas by BlackFish is a traditional version of ’Twas The Night Before Christmas, with fun interactive elements, seasonal music and sound effects this is well worth downloading. I like the ability to customize the book and to record your own narration and that you get it both as a stand alone book and in the bookshelf app. Overall, if you are looking for a nice traditional version of ’Twas The Night Before Christmas, illustrations with a warm, cozy feel, fun interactive elements, seasonal music, and sound effects this is well worth downloading. I like the ability to customize the book and to record your own narration. I also like that you can choose to have it as either a stand alone book or in the bookshelf app (without having to buy it twice) and that the two link up seamlessly. I would also recommend checking out the Blackfish children’s Bookstore app and downloading the free books to check them out.Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24, over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills.
Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschwareis a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys!The app features an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!
A Very Yo Gabba Gabba! Christmas by Cupcake Digital a universal app for iOS that features five mini games within the app including building a snowman with accessories, making a Christmas tree complete with ornaments, creating and dancing with gingerbread men, making your own holiday drinks including the addition of whipped cream, sprinkles, and other treats, and making snow globes with friends from within the app! As you complete the various activities your creations are displayed on the screen along with the sleigh. This app is designed for preschool through early elementary school.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Learn & Play by Oceanhouse MediaEvery page is a present waiting to be unwrapped, a present given such careful thought, it is guaranteed to delight and bring a smile to its recipient. This highly interactive app brings a beloved Dr. Seuss Christmas book to life with outstanding narration and excellent animations. It tells the story of a Grinch who hates Christmas so much he decided he would stop it from happening in a town called Whoville. He thought that he could accomplish this by taking everything away that was related to Christmas such as presents, Christmas trees, and decorations. To his surprise, his scheme did not work. The spirit of Christmas, you see, was not found in the physical things that represent it, but inside people’s hearts. What a beautiful lesson to learn and remember this holiday! Emergent readers will enjoy the Read To Me and Auto Play options where words are highlighted as the narrator reads the story.
Most kids love to listen to music and sing. Singing is one of the best activities during the holidays for young children and can be done anywhere – in the car when out and about or to reinforce everyday routines at home or school. Singingpromotes development on so many different levels. Not only does it build language and vocabulary skills, but also teaches kids about social and cultural traditions, enhances thinking skills and provides an overall sense of well-being. And if fingerplays or movement is added, it helps kids retain the material by synching speech and other sensory systems with the body. Did you know that your Bluebee Pal comes ready right out of the box to help your childrenlearn the joy and comradery of singing with others?
Finding appropriate music can sometimes be hard or frustrating. Here are a few of our favorite ways that bring our Bluebee Pals to life. Follow these easy steps to get started.
Turn on your Bluebee Pal and pair it with a device. Usually, this is found under “Bluetooth Devices” within the settings tab. Devices such as a phone, tablet, or even an AI device such as Amazon Kids or Google Home can be paired with Bluebee.
Select your album, playlist, or app, and tap the play button. Like magic, Bluebee will automatically begin to sing. The realistic head and mouth movements will transform Bluebee into a real-life friend.
Set back and enjoy yourself! You can add microphones to make it authentic. We have found the plastic dollar store type microphones work well as they help amplify voices – but not too loud.
Spotifyis one of our favorites as families can search for music or songs, make playlists, or explore playlists made by others. Spotify can either be used as a free service or as a subscription service. The difference being that the subscription service offers the options to download music to your device, listen offline, and to eliminate pop up ads that may interrupt or be inappropriate for kids in play.
Amazon Music, Google Music, or iTunes are all subscription services that function much like Spotify. There are free options to use in home or with a hotspot, but to download music, create playlists to listen offline, and to eliminate ads you’ll need to subscribe.
YouTube is a favored and universal hub for children’s music and educational videos. Be sure to view any music video to check out its content before playing it for a child. Even You Tube Kids may have some content that is inappropriate slip through YouTube’s filters. Report anything that seems off putting.
Whatever your choice, remember that holidays are a time to connect, share, and enjoy each other. Happy Holidays!
As a mom, I’m conscious of my kids time on their tablets or devices. I think about #screentime and try to make sure we have a good balance of both device time and outside play. We have even figured out ways to use our tech toys beyond the typical games and use them for education, role play and fun.
Ideas to Enjoy Bluebee Pals Beyond the Screen!
1) Have a tea party with your favorite Bluebee Pal – now that they are weighted you can even place them in a chair and they will sit.
2) Have your child pretend to deliver mail to various people including your Bluebee Pal. They can use a catalog or make their own mail for delivery. Have them describe who they are delivering the mail to, counting, and colors
3) Bluebee Pals make great friends talk to. Encourage your child to sit and read with your Bluebee Pal turned off. This time of year especially we enjoy sitting and reading books at night. I encourage my son to help turn pages, count and he loves snuggling with Parker.
4) Play dress up. Dress up your Bluebee Pal in your favorite costume, shirt or clothing that your child may be wearing or have outgrown. My son loves fitting Bluebee into sweaters (3T or larger) works best.
5) Hide and seek – hide your child’s toys around the house. Have them play hide and seek to find them. When my son finds an object I have him tell me what it is, what color is it and place it in a basket. This is a great game for babies, toddlers and preschoolers and can be modified based on age.
6) Play musical chairs stuffed animal style – turn on some music and pair your Bluebee and then move around the stuffed animals until the music stops.
7) Play freeze dance – this is a great activity that can be done both inside and out and is a great way to get energy out. Kids dance to their Bluebee Pal with music and when the music stops they freeze!
8) Make an obstacle course for those chilly or snowy days when you can’t spend much time outside. Use couch cushions to make pillows, stomp your feet, clap your hands. Get your Bluebee involved too!
9) Cleaning up toys – my kids hate to clean up their toys after they play. We make it a game complete with music (the Cleanup song) and baskets to put the items in. We set a timer for 30 seconds and see who can clean up the most toys.
I hope these tips are helpful to you in thinking about ways to get kids active, having fun and playing all at the same time. Adding in Bluebee gives it that fun extra reward!
Do you want your child to be a better reader? A better writer? A better communicator? Experience increased academic success? Instill in them a love of reading at an early age! One of the early predictors of academic success in young children is the amount of reading they do.
As a Speech Language Pathologist, many parents ask me what they can do at home to help their children. My advice always includes daily reading. Based on experience, I highly recommend that parents use Bluebee Pals to help cultivate a lifelong love of reading and create a special bond with their children! I have used Bluebee Pals in my classroom as reading buddies for several years and I have seen the difference they can make in exciting children about reading and learning! You and your child can use Bluebee Pals as daily reading buddies with traditional books, or with book apps! A combination of both is an excellent way to spread reading enjoyment. Bluebee Pals, along with interactive digital books, make books come alive!
*Set aside daily time reading time. Find somewhere quiet without any distractions.
*Ask your child to choose a book and sit close together. Encourage your child to hold the book/tablet/Bluebee Pal themselves and/or turn the pages.
*Point to the pictures and encourage your child to talk about the book. Talking about the characters and their situations helps children understand relationships and is an excellent way for you to get to know each other or discuss difficult issues. Give your child plenty of response time. Ask them what will happen next, how a character might be feeling or how the book makes them feel. If there are illustrations, relate them to something your child knows. Ask them to describe the characters or situation or what will happen next. Encourage them to tell you the story by looking at the pictures.
*Above all else…make reading fun and enjoy the time together with your child!
If you are planning on celebrating your holiday with Bluebee Pal, check out these holiday app recommendations! With the recommendations are tips for facilitating language, learning and fun!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a perfect app to pair with your Bluebee Pal. Features include: tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, read along with highlighting narration, read it yourself, or enjoy auto play, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track minutes spent reading, pages read, and more in the Parents section. There are also tons of activities as well! The app includes seven different mini games and games that are embedded in the story.
Your child will have endless fun with Toca Hair Salon: Christmas Gift. This app also pairs well with Bluebee Pal providing all of the sound effects and sharing in on the fun of giving Santa a makeover. This app is free, creative and can help your child explore all different actions, colors and different hair styles. After decorating Santa, let your child explore how to make their Bluebee festive for the holidays! Maybe a bow or a festive ribbon can do the trick!
Check out this free and inventive app titled, My Hanukkah. Include in the app is a story, activities and coloring pages. Bluebee Pal can help make this app even more interactive by reading this story to your child. The colorful pages and soothing voice combined with the interactive features of the app will keep your child engaged and learning. The activities included in the app are Play the Piano, Shapes, Spot The Difference and Brachot. The app also comes in 5 different languages! My Hanukkah also includes a game to create your own song for Hanukkah so that Bluebee can help sing along.
Do you need more recommendations of holiday apps? Check out my post from last year with Holiday Apps for Bluebee Pal. To check out iMum’s Top Christmas apps, clickhere.Check out my other app reviews for Bluebee Pal here.
The ASHA Convention is the premier annual professional education event for speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Bringing together approximately 15,000 attendees, the Annual Convention provides unparalleled opportunities to hear the latest research and gain new skills and resources to advance your career. More than 300 unique businesses exhibit each year, making the ASHA Convention an exceptional one-stop opportunity for attendees to find practical solutions and for exhibitors to reach ASHA members and related professionals.
NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with a FREE companion(life skills /educational app) that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs.
The Bluebee Pals Learning App is a robust life skill and cognitive development tool for children ages 3 to 7. When connected to a Bluebee Pal, children can immerse themselves in activities in five life skills’ rooms and play 9 educational mini-games. In addition to our app, Bluebee Pals pair with all apps with a narrative providing endless entertainment and education for all mainstream and special needs children.
The Bluebee Pal Project featured a booth of theNEW Bluebebe Pal ProTech BuddiesandLife/Style Companion App!
Bluebee Pal Pro is a “plush learning tool to learn, communicate, and connect to technology” that comes in a variety of animals and colors. Once connected via Bluetooth to a tablet; Bluebee can add extra engagement to your storytelling experience. Instead of the voice coming directly from the iPad, allow Bluebee Pal Pro to tell your child’s story. It also can be an excellent strategy to use in a group therapy or classroom with one Bluebee Pal or more. The Bluebee Pal Pro can be passed around, so each student gets the opportunity to use this helpful tool. This assistive technology tool is excellent for turn taking, increased engagement, language and learning goals.
To read an article written by Punam about Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Bluebee Pals PRO Learning Tool with Companion Life Skills/Educational App click here.
Building literacy with Bluebee Pal can be fun and engaging for children with Bluebee Pal. Whether it’s just beginning to expose your student to letters and sounds or building more complex phonological awareness, Bluebee can help build these skills. Some apps to check out are Letter Schooland Endless ABC.
Learning daily living skills is an important part of becoming more independent. Part of what making following steps for daily living more complex and challenging with so many steps involved. Check out how to use Bluebee Pal with Choice works here.
Learning to communicate! Communication devices are a type of assistive technology for both children and adults with complex communication needs. I have written many apps reviews on how to incorporate Bluebee Pal. To check out these reviews, click hereand check out the AAC apps listed on the left sidebar. To learn core words with Bluebee Pal, click here
Make your AAC assessment interactive with AAC Genie and Bluebee Pal! Check out this articlehere on how to best use both the app and Bluebee Pal.
The iMums wanted to share some of our Christmas and holiday themed app favorites with you. Below is a short summary of each of the apps along with links to our reviews as they have been completed. We hope that you will enjoy these apps as much as we have with our families. Many of these are ones we load onto our devices year after year to enjoy – and some stay on all year round! In our family, we pick a new holiday themed book to read every night – these are some of our digital favorites among The Mums. Come visit us at The iMums for more great tech and app reviews! Looking for more great app reviews – check out this page on Bluebee Pals. Reading with our kids is one of the favorite things to do with our iKids.
The iMums Christmas apps #1 Charlie Brown Christmas by Loud Crow Interactive is a real taste of nostalgia – featuring both the pictures and audio from the classic Christmas movie, with the addition of narration by Peter Robbins, who was the original voice of Charlie Brown. You can switch the narration on or off and the text is highlighted as it is read. The original music from the movie plays in the background and a nice feature is that you can control the music volume independently of the narration. Version 2.0 of the app added the director’s cut as a free in-app purchase. I would recommend installing this before starting to use the app as it adds 4 scenes, 2 activities and an extra carol. Read iMum Mary’s review
The iMums Christmas apps #2 The Bernstein Bears and The Nutcracker by OceanHouse Media has been released just in time for the holidays. In this story Brother, Sister, and Honey open their presents on
Christmas morning. Among their presents is a Nutcracker Bear which Papa reminds them is from The Nutcracker ballet they saw on TV. At first, the cubs weren’t too interested in it, choosing instead to play with their new toys. It didn’t take very long for the cubs to get bored. With plenty of time before dinner, Papa suggests they entertain themselves by using their imagination. The cubs think this is a splendid idea and soon find themselves lost in the world of The Nutcracker. Read Fides review.
Merry Christmas Mom and Dad- Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media, Little Critter attempts to make Christmas special for his Mom and Dad. He tries different things such as making cookies, picking out a Christmas tree, and wrapping presents, but each time the results are not quite what he was hoping for. Even though Little Critter messes up at everything he tries, you can’t help but fall in love with him. He is charming and funny as he explains what he did and what happened when he did it. My kid and I really enjoyed this story. Read our review.
The iMums Christmas apps #4 Felt Board Christmas by Software Smoothie has become a quick favorite in out home this season. It is similar in every way to the original Felt Board but comes with a huge assortment of Christmas themed pieces such as the nativity, Santa, reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread cookies, snowmen, ornaments, and stockings. Read Fides review Felt Board Christmas – Software Smoothie
The iMums Christmas apps #5 Santa’s Suit is Missing by Ginger Whale Apps is a story about Christmas Eve and it is snowing at the North Pole. It is your first day in Santa’s workshop, but all the work is done, the presents are packed, and the other elves are sleeping. You are feeling disappointed to have missed all the fun, when suddenly your Santa Phone beeps – Santa needs you!! Santa has lost his suit and needs a new one before he heads off to deliver the presents. You rush to the village to find him the perfect outfit. What will you get first ? Boots? A hat? A suit? There are lots to choose from, will you get him a traditional Santa outfit or something different? Maybe a ballerina outfit or an astronaut suit ? A Jester’s outfit or your own unique combination? Once you made your choices you take the suit back to Santa – but what will he think ? You’ll have to read Santa’s Suit is Missing story to find out. Read iMum Mary’s review
The iMums Christmas apps #6 Tacky’s Christmas by OceanHouse Media is a seasonal offering in the popular Tacky the Penguin series of books written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, and brought to the app store by Oceanhouse Media. The story tells the tale of Christmas in Nice Icy Land. The penguins are busy choosing and wrapping gifts. Sadly, in Nice Icy Land Santa doesn’t visit (you may need to explain to your children why Tacky is pretending to be Santa), so Tacky has volunteered to dress up as Santa. The friends are also busy making Christmas ornaments and singing carols when they realise there are no trees to hang their ornaments on. Tacky volunteers to help out by being both Santa and the tree (at the same time). As usual with Tacky, things don’t quite go to plan, but he ends up saving the day and everyone has a Happy Christmas. Tacky is an odd bird, but a nice bird to have around – especially at Christmas. Read iMum Mary’s review
The iMums Christmas apps #7 Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a virtual cookie shop without the mess! Do you enjoy decorating cookies with your family? Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose is a universal app where children make a recipe, bake and then decorate a virtual cookie with none of the mess associated with baking at home. The app features 24 , over 200 cookie cutters, photo cookie dough, and 85 different toppings. You can practice recipes with tasks like naming the various objects in the recipe, sifting, rolling, mixing and using cookie cutters to shape the cookies. The recipes can be used in real life to make cookies and help your child practice naming items, measuring, sequencing and fine motor skills. Read iMum Alison’s review
The iMums Christmas apps #8 Five Little Monkeys Christmas by Loeschware is a Christmas themed app featuring my favorite little Monkeys! The app features an an interactive counting game with a musical touch based upon the popular nursery rhyme. This app helps toddlers and preschoolers practice early literacy skills with word highlighting, repetition, addition and subtraction practicing early math skills and of course lots of fun. The app features three different musical scores including, “rock”, “country” and “pop”. This is perfect to work on counting, expressive and receptive language as well as a fun way to learn!
The Witch and the Christmas Spirit is by SlimCricket is a brand new app for iOS. The Witch is getting read for a Halloween adventure when her friend Peepo the Elf calls and says that a terrible illness has spread across the North Pole. He asks the Witch to come and help Save Christmas! Will they be able to? Enjoy this Free app with IAP that includes games, 3D pages and more! The Witch and the Christmas Spirit – SlimCricket
Our educators, therapist, parents and even kids ambassadors use a variety of our products at home, classrooms, and work in different settings including therapy, Pre K-3 level teaching, and professional development presentations. Bluebee Pal Ambassadors have firsthand knowledge of our products, and an understanding of how they enhance the learning process for students, teachers, homeschoolers, and the education community. They know the challenges and changes that teachers and students are facing and help us to adapt to the continuously evolving education system.https://www.bluebeepals.com/ambassadors/
How Bluebee Pals Ambassadors Support US
App Recommendations and App Reviews with Bluebee Pals.
Submitting Workshop Proposals: Bluebee Pal Seminars utilizing Apps and Smart Boards with Bluebee Pals.
Evaluating our products for content, ease of use, and how well they assist students in the learning process.
Writing stories for publications and blogs.
Providing feedback on Bluebee Pals products, website, and general marketing information
Bluebee Pals Learning Companions: Who are these huggable interactive animals tech companions that provide parents an opportunity to re-enforce learning and social skills in home settings. These exciting NEW learning buddies with FREE Life/Skill Companion App are a wonderful holiday gift for any child ages 3-8.https://www.bluebeepals.com
Helen Wagner( Speech Therapist): I often use our classroom Bluebee Pals during therapy to work on reading, talking and playing skills! My students really relate to their Bluebee therapy friends, and look forward to learning with them! Teaching and learning begin at home. Parents are the first and most important teachers in the early, developmental years. Young children learn essential, foundational speech, receptive and expressive language, social, pre-reading, cognitive, numeracy and communication skills necessary for future academic success through meaningful play and lots of language-rich learning opportunities.
Read, Read, Read!
Read to your child daily. Reading helps develop vocabulary, attending, sentence construction, grammar, pronoun usage, social-skills, turn-taking, imagination, creativity, sequential thought, emotions, wh-questions, comprehension, receptive/expressive language skills, critical thinking and problem solving, and so much more! Reading daily to young children is one of the most language rich and meaningful learning opportunities that parents can give their children. Parents provide many natural educational interactions while reading, talking about the subject matter and elements of the story, questioning about the story, and practicing story retelling.
Talk, Talk, Talk!
Parents need to talk to their children! Talking and commenting on the world around them is a great, natural way to teach children. Examples: In the grocery store: “How many yellow fruits do you see? How many green vegetables? Let’s buy three red apples”. In the car: “Let’s see how many blue cars we can count” or “How many things can people ride in to go somewhere”? “Let’s look for things that are orange”. “Can you find a stop sign? What colors are in a traffic light”? At home during interactive play: “Oh, wow, I see that you are racing your red car and your blue car. Which one do you think will go faster”? Simple commenting and talking about what you and your child are doing and seeing and asking questions is a powerful educational tool. Commenting on the world around them will build and reinforce basic concepts, numeracy, turn-taking, pragmatic skills, receptive and expressive language, critical thinking and reasoning skills, problem-solving, grammar, and more.
Play, Play, Play!
Play with your children! Lots and lots of learning takes place during play! Play dolls, play trucks, play games, play marbles, play pretend! Provide opportunities for you preschoolers to interact with peers! Beginning games such as Candy Land, Spot It, Pop the Pig, I Spy, Zingo and more are great for practicing social skills, turn-taking, sharing, numbers, colors, matching and categorization skills. Playing and learning through songs and finger-plays such as “Itty Bitty Spider, 5 Little Ducks, etc, is a great way to teach rhyming, sequencing, memory and basic concept skills. Learning through play provides powerful opportunities for cognitive growth.
Playonwords LLC Announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks 2018, Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys, Games, Books and Media That Spark Fun and Encourage Language
Respected speech-language expert Sherry Artemenko announces her Top 10 PAL product lists by category representing the only industry recognition promoting language development through great play. Parents and educators alike value Sherry’s nearly four decades of experience and benefit daily from her popular blog, playonwords.com, consulting practice, media appearances and articles.
PAL Top Ten Seal Playonwords.com: Play is how children develop emotionally, cognitively and in language.
ELKHART, WIS. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 30, 2018
Regular interaction with children guides Playonwords founder, Sherry Artemenko, to a unique set of the best toys, games, books and media that have the chemistry to develop language while delivering great play. Today, Playonwords is announcing it’s annual “Top 10 PAL Award Picks of 2018” by age and product category. Our Top 10’s take the guesswork out of giving great holiday gifts. Parents and grandparents use our lists to shop for smart toys with lasting play value.
Winners are assessed and reviewed by Sherry with input from parents, kids and educators. Observing kid’s play in action, combined with her critical eye for language potential, Sherry awards products and writes insightful reviews offering practical tips on how to maximize the educational value in each winner on playonwords.com.
Language catalyzing PAL winning toys and games are powerful additions to a child’s learning tool box, since children learn through play, and language is integral to learning! Our 2018 Top 10’s include a number of great winners that inspire imagination and story-telling with engaging props from Schleich’s “Croco Jungle Research Station” to Geomagworld’s “Magicube Story Building” Promoting children’s literacy skills is a strong theme throughout this years’ winners as children can form letters with large, bendable Art Rods, practice language skills with an interactive Bluebee Pal, or respond to the newest 3D LeapStart Pad, learning concepts, letters, vocabulary and reasoning. The toy industry continues to value new games to build EQ (emotional quotient including social language skills) with exciting tools like EQtainment’s “Q Moment AR” and MindWare’s “Silly Street Character Builders.”
For Sherry, great play is not just about fun, or language development, it’s about going deep on both. Her expertise has been built on science and more than 17,000 hours of client experience. Each set of Top 10’s represents a breadth of themes and genres, but they all have one thing in common – they are trusted lists of fun products that boost learning through play.
Each holiday season, millions are spent on kids’ toys, games and books. These PAL winners above are not only great fun but also encourage rich language development. Think “tastes like ice cream, fortifies like spinach,” optimizing your toy purchases to build language while maintaining all the fun. Now’s the time to be intentional about your child’s toy chest, game drawer, bookshelf and tablet!
ABOUT PLAYONWORDS, LLC Playonwords.com was founded by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Sherry Artemenko. Her 35 years championing language rich play, esteemed PAL Award, popular blog, and insightful tips to parents set her apart as the leading advocate for the language component in toys.
Bluebee Pals Sammy and Lily made a visit to students at Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool in Orlando, Florida this past month. I introduced Bluebee Pals to PreK 2.5 year old and PreK 3.5 year old classrooms. They loved it so much that they told all their friends to join them, making Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool the newest Bluebee Pals Project site! Ms. Llesiris Cores Nieves and Mrs. Wanda Rodriguez were the first two teachers to begin using the Bluebee Pals with their young students. The preschool director, Ms. Nellie Rosado thanked me profusely for the donations and opportunity to become the next Bluebee Pals Project site. I knew that I had to invite Bluebee Pal creator, Laura Jiencke to witness the PreK teachers, students and Bluebee Pals in action!
Llesiris, a teacher that recently moved from Puerto Rico, loves the excitement and attention use of Bluebee Pal Sammy brings to her classroom as well as his ability to provide great English language models to the students. She incorporates Sammy into her circle time using tech-to-speak apps to call the students to circle time, greet the students and provide models for vocabulary. Sammy engages the students during educational songs including the number rock, social skills practice, and imitating body movements.
Llesiris provides her students with a wonderful fun-loving and structured environment with a repetitive sequence of movement activities and songs to teach numbers, letters, shapes, colors, greetings, student names and social skills. Her incorporation of Bluebee into her routine and lessons was seamless and fun for the students and staff!
Wanda Rodriguez, a teacher who was formerly a professional clown, took to use of the Bluebee Pal Lilly into her classroom immediately after receiving the donation from Kayle Concepts. She uses puppets including a lamb daily in her classroom routines. Lilly the Lamb has become best friends with the other puppet animals that Wanda uses in the classroom. Bluebee Pal communicates with the classroom puppets, translating their messages to the students and teacher. Wanda noticed her students love to hear Bluebee Pal sing and play music during their dance lessons and story time. Bluebee Pal often helps the students demonstrate their understanding of the academic content by asking comprehension questions and providing answer models.
What a joy it was to see the love Calvary City Christian Academy and Preschool had for the Blubee Pals. We appreciate their dedication to their students and the learning environment. What fun the Blubee Pals are having there! Keep it up!..https://www.bluebeepals.com
Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Bluebee Pals PRO Learning Tool with Companion Life Skills/Educational App
The world of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) has been evolving and progressing at a rapid pace. AAC is the use of a method of communication other than verbal language. “Alternative” indicates that the system is being used as an alternative to verbal language and “augmentative” indicates that the system is being used to supplement verbal language. AAC users may be completely non-verbal, have limited verbalizations, and/or have vast verbal language that is unclear to communication partners. AAC modes include the use of photos or symbols on communication boards and books as well as low (paper overlays on electronic boards) and high tech communication devices (touchscreen devices). High-tech devices used to be only provided by a limited number of companies that created the hardware (tablet) and software (communication vocabulary system) at a very high cost. The invention of tablets such as the iPad/iTouch and Android devices have made high-tech AAC even more accessible and affordable. Users can communicate their wants/needs, make statements, ask questions and participate in social interactions with the use of their Alternative Augmentative Communication system.
At the start, the field of AAC often focused on teaching AAC users to request highly desired items like food or toys and labeling nouns and verbs. The vocabulary taught and used was often very specific such as “I want cracker”, “bathroom”, “ball”. Over time a vast amount of research has guided therapists, users, and caregivers towards more effective AAC use. What we have learned is that 80% of the words we use in English to communicate across various settings are not specific nouns and verbs, but instead what we call “core words”. Core words are frequently occurring abstract words that can be used to communicate many messages across many topics. They are words like “it”, “go”, “you”, “see”. Many low-tech and high-tech AAC systems are providing core word vocabulary to the user on their front or home page to allow fast and effect communication across all settings.
The more AAC users hear and see core vocabulary being used by their communication partners on their devices and the more they are aided to use it themselves, the more they will be able to communicate with the world! Bluebee Pals, a plush interactive educational tool is being used by therapists and educators across the nation to increase participation in therapeutic and educational activities for students with Autism with use of their AAC devices as well as any technology (we are talking iPads, tablets, smartphones) they access! These furry companions connect to all iOS and Android Devices and pair with all apps with a narrative or voice output. Bluebee Pal’s patented technology allows its mouth and head to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language, singing a song AND connecting with AAC devices.
With their donation initiative, The Bluebee Pals Project, numerous therapy centers and schools have been gifted Bluebee Pals to use during academic lessons and therapy sessions.
LaVesta Feagin, an Assistive Technology Specialist at the Center for Independent Living, used Bluebee Pals to bridge interactions between the seniors at her center and visiting children during her “Foster Grandparents” event.“The kids and elderly loved activating the Bluebee Pals with the iPad and AAC app (Proloquo2Go)!They could talk to the foster grandparents with the Bluebee Pals and even had the grandparents using the iPads!”
“I have seen an increase in engagement with students. For example, a student that rarely ever participates with the class has shown interest in the Blubee and will participate with the group/teacher most of the time if the Blubee is used” -Rebecca N. – Curriculum Instructional Specialist – Florida Autism Center of Excellence (FACE)
“In my classroom, we are learning communication skills using our favorite tech learning tool, Bluebee Pals! Children absolutely love them and are so very motivated to interact with them! Through the use of our Bluebee Pals, my students have shown tremendous progress with their speech and communication goals”! -Helen H. Wagner, M.S., CCC-SL
“They are very easy to use, and with the Bluetooth you can make the intervention very client-centered. I also like how soft they are, you can barely tell that there are any electronics inside.” -Hannah Lambert, OTAS
Individuals who are learning to use their new AAC device have often only hear the voice output through the speakers of their device. By connecting their device to a Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth connection, the AAC user is able to control the plush companion and make it say whatever they wish! It is quite a novel and unique experience for the AAC user to experience their “voice” emanating from the plush companion!
Laura Jiencke, president of Kayle Concept and Bluebee Pal creator, is thrilled to see how her interactive tool has been able to provide children with Autism and AAC users with great entertainment while assisting in educating and developing communication skills. Bluebee Pals PRO can be purchased at www.bluebeepals.comas well as www.amazon.com. Interested in being part of the Bluebee Pals Project donation initiative? Submit a request at www.bluebeepals.com/contact-us/.
Punam Desormes, M.A., CCC-SLP: Bluebee Pals Ambassador and Speech-Language Pathologist in Orlando, Florida: Punam Desormes is a graduate of the University of Florida Masters in Speech-Language Pathology program. She has been working in the private and ESE school settings for 15 years. She also works as a clinical education at the University of Central Florida School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Ten Language and Learning Goals when using the Bluebee App
Making choices: Making choices with the Bluebee Pal App is easy with this app. When the app begins, a child gets the option of choosing a Bluebee Pal (choice between the Sammy the Bear, Leo the Lion, Lily the Lamb, Rylie the Zebra, Parker the Monkey, and Hudson, the Puppy). After the child chooses their favorite Bluebee Pal, they get to choose their favorite color balloon, category and then the room they want to explore.
Categories: Explore categories with this app including animals, furniture, toys, outdoor activities, games, sports, art, music and much more! With this app, there are so many ways to incorporate the learning of categories as a child is playing with the app. To carryover, this goal, take screenshots of the app and with a visual of various categories ask your child to put the objects in the right category. Another carryover activity is taking a screenshot of the house and then asking your child to place the right object in the correct room with some tangible symbols or objects. I love how the app incorporates errorless learning with specific tasks that require appropriate choices. This helps build language and learning in a fun and stress-free play environment.
Following directives: Throughout this app, the child is required to follow 1-2 step directives such as feeding Bluebee Pal, putting him sleep, brushing his teeth and much more! If your child needs more help with following directives, give prompts as necessary.
Literacy goals: This app is ideal for emerging readers! The mini-games help children recognize sounds and letters in a fun and interactive manner. With one mini-game, a child is required to put the right letter where it belongs on a qwerty keyboard.
Daily Living Skills: This app incorporates a variety of daily living skills including hygiene, cooking and cleaning up. During these opportunities, a child will be able to engage in these daily living tasks that they can relate to on a daily basis. This can be carried over into the home environment by going through the hygiene routine with Bluebee Pal and then doing the same with your child.
Actions: Learning actions is such an important skill and vital for creating grammatically correct sentences that are communicated well. This is a goal that should be facilitated and modeled as the child is playing the app. For example, the parent/educator can model, “Bluebee is ______his teeth” and have the child fill in the action. Bluebee engages in so many actions with this app so goals can be targeted in many ways and can also help build vocabulary.
Expand vocabulary: A child can expand their vocabulary by interacting with the various objects within each room. During each room activity, there is an opportunity for a child to explore different vocabulary. For example, when the child touches the water bottle, it says “water bottle”. This continues for a variety of objects in each room. Use this vocabulary during conversation to help your child store these new words in long-term memory. Also, focus on descriptive words as well!
Sequencing: When playing with this app, help your child recall various tasks in order. For example, when Bluebee Pal is in the bathroom, he first gets in the shower and gets wet, then gets washed with soap, and then finally needs to get dried with the towel or the hairdryer. When the sequence is done, review the steps in taking a shower and ask specific questions. For example, “What did Parker the Monkey do first?”
Negation: Learning and understanding negation is so important for various communicative functions such as requesting, commenting and expressing an opinion. In this app, a child has to follow directives with negations embedded it the sentences such as “Don’t forget to turn off the light.”
Inferencing Skills and Improving Visual Awareness: Explore various puzzles, a maze and mini-games and target inferencing and critical thinking skills. Throughout the story, a child has to figure out specific situations within a context. For example, after taking a shower, Bluebee Pal is wet. What does he need to do? Does your child or student have difficulty with visual perception? In one mini-game, a child is required to find all of the Bluebee Pals within the scene which can help build those visual awareness skills.
Rebecca Eisenberg, MS, CCC-SLP,is a certified speech-language pathologist, author, instructor, and parent of two children. She has been working in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for more than 15 years in a variety of settings and currently works with both children and adults with autism and other varying disabilities who have complex communication needs.
Advance Learning Academy is a private school in Maitland, Florida that values the uniqueness of all children. They are dedicated to creating a diverse community of learners by providing innovative, effective instruction that promotes academic excellence and social growth. The Bluebee Pal Project has donated Bluebee Pals to this creative school who promotes education through creative forms of technology. Thinking “outside the box” in personalized learning is a must to any early developmental education.
Small Class size—-Innovative, Evidence-Based Curriculum—-Integration of Technology: Advance Learning Academy will provide scientific observations based on implementing Bluebee Pals Learning Tools into their curriculum and measuring students performance. Their mission is to create a diverse community of learners by providing innovative, effective instruction that promotes academic excellence and social growth. The curriculum is flexible and adaptive to allow students to learn where they are and then advance their learning. Children are given the opportunity to acquire knowledge a variety of ways… not just one. It’s not one-size-fits-all and it may happen for a student through critical thinking, communication, collaboration or even creativity.
Message from the Principal: Our school’s focus on active learning allows for more student engagement and improves motivation. We know that part of providing a 21st-century education is not only having the technology but connecting students and learning in innovative ways. Our expert faculty develops individualized goals for every student to help create a program that is tailored to their specific needs. We provide a variety of special activities – art, music, yoga, physical education, and gaming as well as an engaging After School program. Programs like positive behavior support help improve behavior, develop classroom families and a positive, healthy school climate.
The social and emotional aspects of learning are important elements of our educational program. We want all of our students to feel safe, respected and loved. We are a school that treats parents as partners in their child’s education. Learning must occur both at school and at home. Together as a team, we provide the very best education for our students.
Stacy Taylor, MA, B.C.B.A. President/Clinical Director Advance Behavior & Learning 140 Advance Point Maitland, FL 32751
Bluebee loves Halloween with all its fun activities.Dressing up and trying out new roles for pretend play gives kids a chance to take on another’s perspective. Young children often have a blurred line between reality and make-believe, so putting on that princess’s dress is the way to being royal – at least for a while. However, there’s a lot of novel stimuli coming at your child during Halloween, so it makes sense to use Bluebee to help your child prepare for changes in routines and what to expect. The Halloween Holiday Apps listed below are all grand ways for kids to explore what the celebration is all about. It also habituates a child to the sights and more importantly the sounds of the holiday. Here are some of our favorite Halloween apps to get you started:
Yum Yum Letters: Learn and Trace by Kindermatica is an outstanding app for beginning to grademovements and make markings within a pathway. Kindermatica has seasonal themes within the app to keep its content current. The Halloween Theme contains a spooky but friendly spider, pumpkins, and atmospheric fun. With Blueebee there to deliver the instructions to the app, your child will be unstoppable. On opening, each letter is introduced as well as its formation. The letter is then formed by using either the finger or a stylus. Bluebee always uses a stylus, and I would encourage the use of one if your child’s hand is ready for a writing utensil. One of the things I love about most handwriting apps is that kids must practice proper letter formation to proceed, and Yum Yum Letters has kids practice the formation of each letter three times with slightly different backgrounds and prompts to help ensure carry-over and promote independence. Once they have practiced, they are rewarded with a game – that furthers spatial skills involving symmetry.
I look forward to Sago Mini Monsters Halloween update every year. This is an app that can be used for children that have mastered single causation in play, and need more of a challenge. The Halloween version has kids bring up a monster face from the green slime pits. He is then dusted off and painted, given new accouterments, and then feed all sorts of treats and goodies. There is a price to pay – and as Bluebee knows – if you eat a lot of treats, you need to brush your teeth. I love how daily routines are reinforced in this app. Brushing teeth is often hard to incorporate into a young one’s day. And practicing this in-app presents an opportunity to familiarize them with the sequence to the task and make it non-threatening. In Sago Mini Monsters, Bluebee plays the music to the app, helping children to self-regulate and attend through the rhythms presented.
Go Away, Big Green Monster!Is an action-packed app that can be Read Along with the exciting author and narrator, Ed Emberley, Read Along with a child narrator, Read by Myself, or have the Story Sung in an upbeat jazzy tune. The benefits to this playing are both learning about the vocabulary for body awareness, but the ability to anticipate and sequence a story. We use this app in therapy all year round as its liveliness is simply infectious.
Trick or Treat Little Critteris an interactive storybook by OceanHouse Media that explains the customs of Halloween to little folks. It describes in detail the expectations and roles to play at Halloween as well as all the great benefits to Trick or Treating. It always amazes me how a few kids have no idea what is going on during Halloween because no one has explained it to them. Often there is not an older sibling or friend that explains what the holiday is like in Kid’s Terms that would make it remotely interesting and something that they should invest time and effort into participating. Too many kids, the thought of dressing up in something uncomfortable, staying out late, and all the noise is just too much. Once they have an idea of the benefits to be reaped in terms of attention, candy, and fun…they are all in. OceanHouse Media is a company that always comes to the rescue in explaining the world and its customs to kids.
BabyLit Build and Play Frankenstein tells the tale of Victor Frankenstein and how he came to make the lonely purple monster as well as a play section of dressing up Frankie. In the parent’s section, there is a summation of the original book. Although the summation is not meant for young children, it does provide parents with talking points of appreciating all life and the richness of our differences the world over.
Bluebee Pals took a road trip this week to see Puddingstone Place, a comprehensive treatment center for children with special needs and their families. This amazing center offers Speech, ABA/Behavioral Services as well as Occupational Therapy that transcend typical school-based approaches. Treatment emphasis is on using evidenced-based clinical practices developed at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Visual Immersion System (VIS™) created by the world renown expert on communication disorders, Dr. Howard Shane, is cutting-edge, thoroughly researched, and centers on the whole child. By using state of the art technology, it takes advantage of children’s strong visual preferences in learning. Most of the children seen at the center have a diagnosis of Autism or ASD, but Puddingstone Place welcomes all children with needs and includes seeing children with:
Global developmental delays
Pragmatic Communication Disorders
…And children with other diagnosed and undiagnosed developmental, sensory, and communication delays.
The Visual Immersion System (VIS™) helps kids become more effective communicators by capitalizing on children’s strong visual skills. Visual supports can be customized using both low tech and high-tech options that makes treatment relevant to each child. The flexibility helps kids to make sense of what is being taught and be able to generalize material to facilitate function. Check out Dr. Shane’s Book on the Visual Immersion Therapy for more information: Enhancing Communication for Individuals with Autism: A Guide to the Visual Immersion System.
On arriving we were greeted by the center’s energetic and dedicated staff. The rooms were open and inviting. It felt comfortable and child friendly. Decorations were cheerful and uplifting without visual and auditory clutter that often distracts or overwhelms children. The staff who are already familiar with Bluebee, fell in love with Bluebee with the newest Bluebees that have both head and mouth movements for more realistic interactions. Heads were spinning with the possibilities of what Bluebee may bring to enhancing the lives of children. Laura Jiencke, the founder of Bluebee Pals and the Bluebee Pals Project, described treatment ideas as well as pictures of the Bluebee in action. Did you know that Bluebee can be used with AAC devices, musical playlists to promote movement, and pragmatic language skills through the use of the phone feature?
Bluebee Pals wants to thank all the staff for their hospitality, and best wishes for success!
The NEW release of the 4.0 Bluebee Pals was the top choice for (#FAVOFTHE MONTH) in Creative Play Retailer Magazine this July. In addition, these huggable tech companions were featured on the cover of Creative Play this April and won “twoawards”: 2018 Plush Toy of the Year and Product of the Year.
The trade magazine covering the children’s retail industry. What makes Creative Play Retailer stand alone is its ability to provide the specialty store market with top rated reviews of products that are endorsed by Creative Child Magazine, parents and educators.
NEW 4.0 Bluebee Pal Pro is an interactive plush learning tool with FREE companion life skills and educational app, that connects to all iOS and Android Devices and pairs with all apps with a narrative. Our patented technology allows Bluebee’s “mouth and head” to move while reading stories, teaching through educational games, learning a language and singing songs.
The wonderful thing about Bluebee Pals is that they are a ready and able playmate, confidante, and teacher hidden inside a stuffed animal. They can be paired with any device that is Bluetooth enabled or used as a beloved toy unplugged.
Try using your Bluebee Pals to:
Rehearse upcoming events by acting out what is going to happen and have Bluebee respond with any anticipated concerns. Children can also rehearse independently by playing an app with your Bluebee Pal as a guide – which helps build independence and confidence.
Master language skills, manners, and turn taking. Simply listening to a story read by Bluebee will help increase vocabulary.
We’ve all gone to “tea parties” and I’ve heard that Bluebee loves a bit of cake with his tea. During your party, practice sharing portions. There are many food playsets that have a portion component. Games with definite turns are also a way to teach waiting – although your child can take Bluebee’s turn too! Using the phone component with Bluebee can add to imaginative and pretend play by having Bluebee communicating directly with your child.
The Academy for Autism is a private school serving up to 60 school-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 2005 by two parents with Autism, the Autism Academy has focused on providing affordable specialized private education for low and middle-income families via research-based curriculum in classrooms set up with the TEACCH Model ( https://www.autism.com/treating_TEACCH ). The Academy for Autism also houses a therapy clinic on-site where students receive speech-language, occupational and physical therapies throughout the school day.
The Academy for Autism recently became a Bluebee Pals Project site and received 16 brand new Bluebee Pal Pros for use in the classroom and therapeutic settings. I had the pleasure of meeting with the Academy for Autism team just after the donated Bluebee Pals arrived! The team of teachers, teacher assistants, speech and occupational therapists gathered to learn about how to incorporate Bluebee Pals into their academic and therapeutic activities to increase engagement and participation. Several therapists and teachers had already paired their Bluebee Pals to classroom tablets and cell phones to play their student’s favorite songs and academic apps. Together we explored this tech tool deeper and discovered many ways that the Bluebee Pals could enhance lessons they were already providing daily.
The occupational therapists shared that many of her students were working on handwriting goals. These tasks can be tedious and boring for some students. – Bluebee Pals to the rescue! Bluebee Pals can be paired with apps such as Handwriting Heroes and Kiddopia – ABC for students to work on letter tracing while their plush friend talks and sings along. When paper and pencil handwriting tasks are required, Bluebee Pal can add excitement by “telling” students what letters to write via letter songs and text-to-speech apps controlled by the therapist or teacher.
TouchMath Counting app came to life when paired with Bluebee Pals by an Academy for Autism classroom teacher. TouchMath,(www.touchmath.com) a leading multi-sensory math teaching approach, is frequently used to help students with special needs learn numbers and operations. When paired with the app, Bluebee provided fun and interactive auditory feedback as the user activated touch points on TouchMath numbers.
The Academy for Autism teachers got some laughs in when using Google Hangouts to surprise each other with Bluebee to Bluebee calls! From there the teachers and staff did what they do best, kept the creative juices flowing as they came up with numerous apps and activities to use as they begin their journey within the Bluebee Pals Project! We can’t wait to see what they come up with!
****Punam is a Speech Therapist and Teacher/Mentor for kids with Autism. As a strong advocate of Bluebee Pals, she will be tailoring insightful articles and reviews of products that she has handpicked to go hand-in-hand with Bluebee, helping your child advance.
Bluebee Pals were donated to the Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District as an assistive technology tool to engage communication and learning in special needs classrooms and participate in research with Boston Children’s Hospital. Our tech buddies provide companionship and encourage communication when connected to Bluetooth enabled mobile/ tablet devices and paired with apps with a narrative.
Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District and Boston Children’s Hospital( SOURCE www.fmschools.org)
Fayetteville-Manlius School District special education staff and administrators established a partnership with researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Northeastern University to introduce a researchbased, cutting-edge instructional methodology and strategies to teach students diagnosed with autism and moderate to severe communication disorders.
“Imagine a room filled with technology that has the potential to shape how children on the autism spectrum learn. Then picture a team of teachers, therapists and IT specialists driven by the singular purpose of accelerating communication and learning for these children. Well, stop imagining because that is the essence of the Mott Road program,” said Dr. Howard Shane, a Harvard Medical School associate professor and director of the Center of Communication Enhancement at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Shane served as a consultant for F-M during the 2015-16 school year and provide training in 2016-17 to all of the district’s special education staff on his Visual Immersion SystemVisual Immersion System (VIS) is a unique communication method that uses visual supports – such as videos, photographs and pictures, along with technology such as iPads and Apple watches – to enhance and expand the language and communication skills of students.
During the 2017-18 school year, the district formally partnered with Dr. Shane, along with Dr. Ralf Schlosser, a professor from Northeastern University, and other researchers, to bring VIS to a Mott Road Elementary School class of seven students diagnosed with autism. Fayetteville-Manlius School District is the first and only school district that they have worked with. “The progress and growth of our students participating in this project have exceeded all of our expectations,” said Lisa Miori-Dinneen, F-M’s assistant superintendent for special services. “The VIS methodology has been lifechanging for our students and their families.”
2018 Bluebee Pal Tools Introduction into the VIS System
Dr. Shane described some of his recommendations for using the Bluebee Pal Parker and friends for directive teaching, symbolic play instruction and other ideas into the curriculum, he is developing in a research-based classroom in the F-M School district. The school is excited about introducing Bluebee Pal Tools into the hi-tech classroom.
The class will have 7 children with autism. There will be a lead teacher, 6 teacher assistants, 2 speech paths, 1 OT.
Tech will include smart boards and tablets, iPads, the capability for parents to log in from work/home and view their child in school. Parents have all been given our Visual Immersion Book.
Bluebee Pal Educational Tools
Lisa A. Miori-Dinneen: Assistant Superintendent of Special Services.
My favorite photo is Suzy using the Ipad and Bluebee. She is so engaged with Bluebee and this was the very first day she was exposed t it( amazing)! As I mentioned to you, I am writing an article about your generosity for our newsletter in October as well as how we have been involved with the research study and will include photos of the children using the Bluebee Pals. I will periodically send you updates with videos and photos from the class as well as other classes that are using the Bluebee Pals.
I have been using this app, Choice Works for many years with both children and adults with Autism as well as other disabilities. The Choiceworks app is functional and educational learning tool for helping children complete daily routines (morning, day, & night), understand & control their feelings and improve their waiting skills (taking turns and not interrupting). This app is specifically designed to help with transitions, optimize visual learning, reduce behaviors and optimize easy transitions. The app is user friendly for parents and educators and very flexible in the way that it can be customized for each child. Here are some key features below as listed on the app store:
■ Four boards: Schedule, Waiting, Feelings and Feelings Scale ■ Image Library preloaded with over 180 images and audio ■ Add your own images and record your own audio for limitless customizability ■ Attach video to any board image ■ Easily create profiles to personalize and manage multiple users ■ Save an unlimited number of boards for multiple children or different routines ■ Speaks boards out loud with pre-recorded audio ■ Time saving essentials like search and auto-save ■ Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks app users ■ Ability to print boards or save as PDF
Get Bluebee to be your choice works assistant!
Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth
Click into the desired page such as schedules, waiting, feelings or feelings scale (e.g. School schedule)
Each time you click on the icon of a pre-existing page you get the verbal feedback plus a short video that’s already installed! When making a customized page, add your own verbal output for Bluebee Pal.
When you drag the icon over to the all done category, Bluebee will tell you “all done”
This is just the beginning with the app! Explore with your child and your Choice Works assistant, Bluebee Pal!
Are you looking for a visual calendar to accompany Choice Works? Check out the Choice Works calendar!
The Choiceworks Calendar is a picture-based learning tool that helps children learn what is happening day-to-day throughout each month. This app provides a visual calendar for children that have difficulty with time concepts and need those crucial visual supports. With this customized app, you can easily add or delete events as needed and take advantage of the features listed below. This app is extremely functional and can save a tons of time for a parent or educator. Adding images and events is done in a snap with this user friendly app! Print out the calendar and have it handy at home or in the classroom. See these features below as listed on the app store:
Key Features ■ Easily create a visual calendar of upcoming events in a few minutes (examples: holidays, when visitors are coming, doctor appointments, vacations, sleepovers, parent returning from a trip or military duty) ■ Image Library preloaded with over 275 images and audio ■ Add your own images using your photo library, camera or use the preloaded image library to record your own audio and edit captions for limitless customizability ■ Create multiple personalized calendars for use with multiple children or in a classroom setting ■ Count Days Until: animated counter for the number of days until an upcoming event (example: How many days until my birthday?) ■ Speaks the daily schedule ■ Built-in visual timer ■ Automatically adds holidays ■ Easily add reoccurring events ■ Notifications and alarms with visual and audio alerts ■ Search and auto-save features ■ Share boards by Email or iTunes File Sharing with other Choiceworks Calendar app users ■ Ability to print month, week or day for offline viewing or save as PDF
Get Bluebee connected to the fun calendar activity!
Connect your Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth.
Add your events and let Bluebee Pal will tell your child the name of the event.
Do you want your daily schedule read to you? Bluebee Pal can do that!
Do you have an exciting event coming up? Bluebee can count down the days for you!
Bluebee Pals were donated to the Arc of Indiana to support the special needs community in providing assistive technology tools for parents and therapists. We share the positive impact that technology provides in opening doors to motivate learning and communication in home and school settings.
The Arc of Indiana was established in 1956 by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who joined together to build a better and more accepting world for their children.
With over 27,000 members and 43 chapters in Indiana, and 140,000 members in over 700 chapters nationwide, The Arc is on the front lines to:
Empower families with information and resources to assist them in their journey of raising a child with a disability to lead a full and meaningful life.
Empower people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to be self-sufficient and independent to the greatest extent possible.
Inspire positive change in public policy and public attitudes.
Prevent disabilities through education about the dangers of drugs and alcohol while pregnant and advocating for all women to have quality prenatal care.
Serve as a spokesperson and advocate for families and their loved ones.
The combined strength of local Arcs, state Arcs and The Arc of the United States makes The Arc the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Since 1956, The Arc of Indiana has been here to help Hoosiers with developmental disabilities and their families realize their goals of learning, living, working and fully participating in the community. Our main focus continues to be providing a resource for families to come together and help advocate for a better life for their children. Today we have 43 chapters located throughout Indiana serving thousands of individuals each year.
On behalf of The Arc of Indiana, I would like to thank you for your very generous donation. We are in receipt 26 cartons of Bluebee Pals. We truly appreciate your generosity. The Arc was very excited to receive Bluebee Pal Leo the Lion and Sammy the Bear Bluebee Pals for their children’s programs. I will let you know more feedback as it comes into us. The one story I’ve heard so far is about a little girl who’s grandfather called her using Sammy the Bear. He lives very far away. They were able to place Sammy up to her face and Grandpa made kissing noises over the phone. She could feel Sammy’s lips move and was so excited to get kisses from Grandpa!
Thank you for helping us help others.
Jill Vaught – Director of Organizational Advancement