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App from creator of DT Trainer / Activity Trainer

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  • karl@dttrainer.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2012
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      App from creator of DT Trainer / Activity Trainer

      This is Karl Smith, father of a son with autism, creator of the DT Trainer and Activity Trainer, and this is one of my few blasts informing the autism community on our continued progress.

      Thanks for your support of the DT Trainer and Activity Trainer, we are now in over 1100 school districts, 300 private schools and service providers, and thousands of homes. The DT Trainer now has over 250 content programs and the Activity Trainer has about 300 activities. We are impacting approaching 100,000 individuals with autism and other learning disabilities. I will continue to expand the tools to cover more topics and a wider developmental range (currently the developmental range is 2-9 years old).

      We are starting on apps for iPads and Android tablets. We have just released our first app: Activity App Shoe Tying 1. It is now available on iPads and can be found by searching for “activity app shoe tying” in the Apple App Store. (It is not yet designed for iPhone even though it is on the store there… hopefully it will be taken down soon). We will release it for the android soon.

      The app combines video modeling with task analysis to teach even lower functioning special needs children and students or younger typical children. Individual steps can be taught and then the sequencing. The app also plays the full video to accommodate a wide range of children. There is a video to image transition to support off system cuing and schedules, and image to text to help work on reading comprehension. The instructional / self-talk language associated with each step is also provided to help the learner build a linguistic model.

      My son with autism had not learned to tie his shoes at almost 13 years old and I had spent hundreds of hours over about 4 years trying to teach him. With the Activity Trainer, shoe tying activity, I was able to teach him in about 2 hours over a couple of week period. The first step crossing the laces took him about 3 trials to become independent. The second step took about 8 trials. Now I had a different learner… one that knew he could succeed. Step by step and then learning the sequence, he learned table top just 5 minutes here and there for about an hour over the first week. The second week we worked on transitioning him to tying his shoes on his feet and initiating without being told. He kept waiting for me to tell him to tie his shoes, but I was fading my support. Finally at the end of the second week we were going biking (something he loves to do with me) and he was sitting by the door with his shoes on and tied!

      Some people just put our kids in Velcro shoes if the child does not learn the skill after significant effort. Our app has the potential of changing the level of effort to teach the skill and with a minimal effort we can determine if the student is responding to the approach.

      Trying to teach the student with our app is worth trying because of the potential benefits. I would argue that shoe tying is a moderately difficult and complex fine motor skill and a pivotal skill that demonstrates the individual has the cognitive ability to learn many daily living and vocational skills provided better teaching methods. Shoe tying will be maintained by daily practice without contriving situations to maintain the skill. I would try the shoe tying app on any individual that is in Velcro shoes because he did not learn to tie his shoes. Learning shoe and knot tying leads to increased independence through life.

      The app is like a mini structured teaching course using video modeling that can be used by parents or teachers. The shoe tying app should take the frustration out of learning for the child and teaching parent or teacher. iPad and Android tablets will make the teaching environment readily available and convenient.

      We are looking forward to bringing a range of inexpensive individual activity apps, collections of activities, the full Activity Trainer “Player” app, and the DT Trainer “Player” app. The shoe tying app will help fund the continued expansion of our tools to tablets. Please help spread the word about this new valuable app for individuals with autism, other learning challenges, and young children.

      You can find out more about the app at our new web site: aesapps.com. To find the app in the Apple App Store search for “activity app shoe tying”.

      To find out more about the DT Trainer & Activity Trainer visit: dttrainer.com.

      Since we have never found investors that believe in our mission to bring research to practice and ***make it affordable***, we have made the progress we have by the support of our customers. We believe that we should be a successful company by helping lots of individuals with autism and other learning disabilities and not just the wealthier ones. Your support of our work helps us expand not only what we do, but the number of individuals we help.

      By the way... my son taught himself a basketball trick. Try this yourself! He learned to tie his shoes before he learned to do this! Shoe tying improved his fine motor skills. www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK0ea6QrPvo&context=C45633d5ADvjVQa1PpcFP-DM-Noj3MQcwU8-wiOB-Awzqg-OE5eg0=

      -Karl Smith

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