Technology and Special Needs with Don and Gracie Tillman

Extra support from electronic resources

Spectrum Podcasts audio linkEpisode Summary: Dr. Jane Bluestein talks with Don Tillman, owner of Safe Data LLC & his wife Michelle “Gracie” Tillman, who experienced a traumatic brain injury. The program focuses on the use of technology and various applications that help with organizing tasks, time management, school homework demands and calendar reminders. Gracie shares her dramatic story and the isolation she felt when she was recuperating as well as the tools that helped her connect with other people during her traumatic time. Don gives suggestions for technology that can be beneficial for any brain trauma, autistic, or special needs persons. Right-click on this link to download a copy of this mp3 file to your hard drive, or click on the bar below to listen.

 

Program Notes: Click here for a PDF handout with highlights, comments, and tips from the show along with a list of resources related to this topic.

Additional Resource: Click here for a copy of Don Tillman’s presentation document, Using Technology to Help Connect With Others and to Help With Memory.

Also: “All Eyes on iPad.” Click here for an article by Valle Dwight.

Spectrum Podcasts with Don and Gracie Tillman

Don Tillman
SafeData, LLC
Web site: www.safedata1.net
Email: don@ltillman.net

Gracie Tillman
Email: gracie@ltillman.net

This program was recorded on October 26, 2011. The content is also available on the Energize Students Web site.

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EnergizeStudents.org logoSpectrum Podcasts are brought to you by Father Sky Media, a divsion of Instructional Support Services, Inc. These programs are sponsored by EnergizeStudents.org.

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Related links:

Proloquo2go. Uses icons on the screen to help people express what they need to say. Literacy is not an issue as long as individual can identify color, shape, or design of icon. Proloquo2go: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Tippy Talk translates pictures into readable text messages, allowing people with verbal disabilities to communicate by sending a text message to a family member or care-giver. Not restricted by distance so the user can communicate with one or more users even if the message-receivers are not in the same room.

MyHomework Student Planner app. High ratings for a beautiful, simple, and reliable way to help students stay organized. Recommended by a teacher at a school for Special Needs children.

Fluther is a forum to discuss issues and answer questions, offering users a way to be connected and avoid isolation, sense of community. Also gives people time to think about what they want to say and compose comments to be best understood (think before they speak).

Facebook, Instagram, and other social networking sites are great for folks who are more isolated or have a hard time communicating or connecting.

Meetup allows users to indicate interests and then alerts them to events happening locally that they can attend.

Evernote is a free app that is available on every platform. A user can take notes, put in PDFs, take screenshots, or type something in and it lives on the Evernote cloud.

Traumatic Brain Injury Resources

Note: I have lifted this entire section verbatim from Camille Noe Pagán’s The Art of Forgetting (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2011), a story about a friendship between two women, one of whom experiences a Traumatic Brain Injury. Used with the author’s permission and my gratitude.

The Brain Injury Association of America offers info about brain injury research and legislation, as well as support for individuals living with brain injury. 1-703-761-0750.

The Family Caregiver Alliance has a setion on its Web site with reading recommendations and other support resources for family members of individuals with brain injury.

The National Institutes of Health website has a dedicated brain injury section that provides information and research, as well as links to ongoing clinical trials for individuals with brain injury.

Call the National Brain Injury Information Center to connect with a brain injury specialist. 1-800-444-6443.

Bob Woodruff Foundation provides resources and support to injured service members, veterans, and their families. info@ReMIND.org

The Traumatic Brain Injury National Resource Center website has answers to frequently asked questions about brain injury.

Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation provides educational resources and holds events on preventing head injuries. 1-800-THINK-56.

Autism Resources

Three days before this show was recorded, 60 Minutes ran a segment called “Apps for Autism” with Lesley Stahl (CBS, Oct. 23, 2011, producer Karen M. Sughrue). The segment featured the iPad with specific apps that are helping some autistic individuals use pictures, videos, and symbols, for example, to communicate what they want, what they’re feeling, or what they know and understand. Many of the individuals featured, from young children to a man in his late 20s, were unable to express these things through speech.

The show featured the app Don mentioned, proloquo2go (link above), as well as the free app AutismXpress to promote greater awareness of autism spectrum disorders and to help individuals with autism to recognize and express emotions. (There is also AutismXpress Pro for $1.99.)

Look in My Eyes is another app, this one part of a series, to help autistic children improve eye contact. Although the device doesn’t work with all children, one teacher mentioned that for many children, the iPad draws students in: “They’re engaged with it in a way that we don’t see with other toys or puzzles or teaching tools.” Stahl cited research that indicated increased willingness to socialize and enhanced attention spans. One parent of a young autistic child noted that if her son’s speech did not come, “this will be his voice.”

Also see:

List of Spectrum Podcasts by guest
List of Spectrum Podcasts by topics
About Dr. Jane Bluestein

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