As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Everybody's a story teller

I will be the first to admit it, I am not the biggest fan of reading. If their is a movie about the book, I’ll watch the movie instead, even if the ending is different or the book was said to be better. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a book here and there, but I am guilty of not reading much to Bryce. When it comes to story telling time, Daniel was on top of that one.

Well, that’s all changed now, and mom’s the new story teller in this house! Reading just became more fun and engaging with interactive books for Bryce’s iPad. You’re not only reading the story, you become part of the story.

Like, seriously, who would of thought that you could blow onto your iPad and it would blow down the houses of the three little pigs? (Bryce’s favourite part, I might add.)

Or with the flick of your finger you can turn something ordinary, into extraordinary. It’s not new technology, but it honestly blows my mind how they put it into an app.

Interactive books really motivated me personally to want to read more to Bryce, and help keep the classics alive that I grew up with. I want to read him everything!

Oh, the places you’ll go and the books you will read when the skies the limit. Well that, and your devices battery life.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Meet Gary James.

There will be a handful of people that you will meet that will change your life forever. Gary James is one of them.

I honestly don’t even remember how I came across him online. I keep trying to remember so I can share it with you all, but I just draw a complete blank. One minute I’m sitting there, all excited about us finally getting Bryce an iPad, feeling overwhelmed and consumed by all the apps out there and not knowing which apps to add to our wish list, and the next minute, BAM, I found this guy and his amazing website!


This man is the founder of Apps for Children with Special Needs (a4cwsn), a website dedicated to producing unbiased videos that demonstrate some of the best apps available for children with special needs.

He is a loving father to 6 children, 2 of which have special needs. If those weren’t good enough reasons in itself to admire this guy, he is also the man behind that App Party I attended, giving away well over $10,000 worth of special needs and educational apps from some of the best app developers in the world to thousands of families, caregivers, and educators. I know, amazing, right?

So who is this guy? I had to find out for myself. Meet Gary James.

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from England and my wife is Hungarian, I came to the states about 20 years ago to pursue my Athletic career. I represented my Country in the Decathlon and held the Double Decathlon British record for 10 Years, from 1990 to 2000. I have 6 children Leigh being my eldest at 18 all the way down to Dominic who is 2 months old. What do I do for a living, well I think everyone knows the answer to that as you see me online 24 hours a day. In the Past I have worked with Companies such as Rolling Stone, Arista Records, and many other celebrities around the world in many different countries.

My favorite kind of movie is Suspense / Drama / Action / Horror and of course really good kids movies. I am a huge fan of Manchester United football team and watch them play whenever I have a chance.

Being a father to 6, 2 of which have special needs (one with autism), you must have “mastered” being a dad, let alone a parent. What advice do you give to a parent whose child has just been diagnosed with autism? Or any advice or words of wisdom you can offer to help families who have multiple children balance their life with “non-typical” and “typical” children?

It is hard to give advice as we all have our own opinions, one reason why I don’t give my opinion on the web-site [] is because it’s just my opinion. If I had to say anything about this subject it would be, trust your heart and your gut feelings, talk openly about the issues and talk often with friends and strangers about what they went or are going through. Express your emotions and don’t ever feel embarrassed.

You obviously have a lot of love in you and are a very giving, and compassionate person, often wearing your heart on your sleeve. Where did a4cwsn come from? What inspired you to make it? What does a4cwsn mean to you? What do you hope a4cwsn accomplishes/goals, both present and future?

A4cwsn was inspired by my children. I was looking for Apps to help and could not believe there were apps for $200 + that people expected you to buy without some real hands on explanation by someone other than the developer. This seemed crazy and still is! So I decided to make videos just to hopefully save people like myself time and money. I decided not to rate them, but will say that if they made the site [] then I considered them worth looking at.

Where is a4cwsn going? Well I hope it becomes known Worldwide for doing the right things, as many parents know, having a Child with Special Needs involves a lot of paperwork. I know this first hand, what I want to do is build a community based on Trust and advice that does not require paperwork and questions, just people trying to do the right thing for their families.

Speaking of trying to do the right thing for families, how did the whole app party idea come about? Will there be more?

The App Party just happened. I was on the computer and had some codes to give away (300) so I decided to post them on Facebook, well this was in May when I had about 400 people on the page and they were very excited about the codes. Within 1 day I think we passed 1,000 people and were viewed almost 700,000 times. The last App Party we had was viewed over 7 million times, that all happened within 1 month of each other. There will be more, many more. The next one [App Party] is in October [2011].

You have a couple of campaigns to help provide iPads for children with special needs. Can you tell us a little about that, and your thoughts about the iPad?

I can’t say it any better than this. The iPad will change the way your child looks at the world and the way they learn and develop. I know this as I have not only seen it with my own children but have obviously spoken with thousands of others who agree with me. The campaigns I have launched are for one purpose only and that is to change lives and help children reach their potential by all means possible. 50 iPads across 50 States for 50 Children with Special Needs is the first one and I intend to deliver each and every iPad my self to the hands of the child, this is important to me because it is about friendship and caring and life experiences. Who cares if I send one in the mail? Not too many people remember that. The second campaign coming very soon is to put 500 iPads into the hands of 100 Schools in all 50 States to help children with Special Needs.

The iPad is changing lives for children with special needs, especially for children with autism, opening doors that may of never been opened and granting the ability to communicate. What are the top 5 apps that you think every person who loves someone with autism should look into.

Coming soon... Apps of Distinction.

a4cwsn Apps of Distinction

You have the media’s attention. The camera is on you. They are all listening to you. There is no time limit. There will be no commercial break. What do you want the world to know about our children?

I don’t particularly want the world to know any thing specific other than, “They are all our Children and we all have a voice that should be heard.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you to all the Parents and professionals that actually value what I am trying to do and to all developers out there, SPECIAL NEEDS APPS are the future of the APP World, get on board now, we are ready to be heard and we hope you are ready to listen. is a proud supporter of a4cwsn.

We’d like to dedicate this Father’s Day blog to Mr. Gary James and his family. Happy Father’s Day!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, June 13, 2011

App Party Hangover

If I see another alpha numerical app promotional redeem code again it’ll be too soon... unless it’s on our wish list, then I can make an exception. ;)

I’m recovering from a hangover! I attended a 3 day long app party this past weekend that was hosted by Gary James of Apps for Children with Special Needs (a4cwsn) on their Facebook page, where over $10,000 worth of special needs and educational apps from some of the top app developers in the world were given away for free!

The majority of apps were given out by promo codes posted on their Facebook wall that you’d have to copy and redeem in iTunes. Some would be fake (cruel, eh? hehe), and some would be real. You’d have maybe a minute for a chance to get that app. It was intense, very exhausting, and drained me completely, as it was the longest three days in my life! I loved every second of it.

As the event progressed, I noticed a lot of people asking questions like wanting to know how to redeem the codes, how to copy and paste the codes, etc, so I decided to write up a little message of ‘Common a4cwsn’s app party questions ANSWERED+Tips’ that I posted on the wall every now and then to help people out. After awhile I was dubbed by someone (you know who you are hehe) as ‘the secretary’ for a4cwsn and it sorta stuck for the remainder of the event. I continued to post these little messages throughout the whole weekend.

Just to clarify though, I wasn’t affiliated with a4cwsn or anything. I was just another parent who joined a4cwsn’s Facebook page not even a week prior to and were there at the app party for the very same reasons as everyone else. But I’m glad that I could help.

I even had the privilege of being part of the giveaway action as my ‘boss’, a4cwsn, gave me a task: “I would like to give my secretary a job to do, Tanaya, if you are up for it, please head over to Ruckus Media FB Page and pick 10 names from the a4cwsn group and post them back on here, they will win a copy of Spot the Dot.” It was very nerve racking to say the least, but I was very grateful for the opportunity. Hope ya’ll are enjoying the app.

As the party was coming to an end, a4cwsn surprised me again: “Tenaya, thank you for helping, we had our differences and we had our good times, but overall you were an amazing help to so many, which is what this is all about. Please put together a list of any Apps on iTunes that you would like up to $100 and email it to me, I will gift them to you and your Son. xo”

I was speechless! In fact, my reply was: “For once in my life.... SPEECHLESS”. I really didn’t know what to say. I didn’t expect anything for posting helpful notes, nor was I doing it in hopes of getting anything more than maybe a ‘thank you’ here and there. It was insane! After a few deep breaths I was able to respond more appreciatively: “Ok, I can talk now... Thank you so much! But you spelled my name wrong dammit. But I still ♥ you. SERIOUSLY THANK YOU. I thank you, my son thanks you, my husband would probably pound fists or something. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And I’ll say it again... Thank you, Gary!

I walked away from the event with a ton of knowledge about apps, friendships with a handful of people I’d totally invite over for dinner any day of the week, and a better appreciation for app developers. Up until that weekend, I never really noticed the developers names, just the apps and the reviews. Without these people, there wouldn’t be apps, let alone apps for our kids, and really, they deserve a big thank you, too! So thank you app developers!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya, the secretary ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Picture perfect!

Here’s the first picture we took with the camera on Bryce’s iPad 2!

The iPad 2 comes with Photo Booth which let’s you take pictures with some crazy effects: Thermal Camera, Mirror, X-ray, Kaleidoscope, Normal, Light Tunnel, Squeeze, Twirl, and Stretch. Here’s some of the results we had with this fun app.

Could you imagine two Bryce’s?!

We are still discovering all the features of the iPad 2 but have a feeling that this is going to take us on an incredible journey!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Biggest. Smiles. Ever.

Look what the UPS guy delivered!

Bryce’s iPad 2 is finally here!

Biggest. Smiles. Ever.

Thanks again to everyone who donated to the Bubbles Make Him Smile Therapy Fund to help raise money for Bryce’s iPad. We look forward to joining the bandwagon of parents with a child on the autism spectrum using the iPad and blogging about his experiences with it and sharing the apps we use, and all that good stuff so stay tuned for that!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, June 3, 2011

A glimpse into his world

A glimpse into his world may change the way you look at yours.

I mean, it’s not like we live in two different worlds... but Bryce sees a much more brighter world than anyone could ever imagine. Ever. At least I think he does. He sees no negativity. No hate. No barriers. No dangers. No discrimination. Nothing bad. He just sees the beautiful in everything, which is a lesson in itself, but that’s not what this blog is about.

Bryce was starting to line up his little collection of slugs that are made out of play dough. Lining up objects is a very typical behaviour that most children with autism have.

Side note: Attributes that we often consider highly sought out to have, such as neatness, organization, perfection, and ability to work independently, have a completely different meaning if you have those attributes and are a person with autism.

So Bryce was lining up his slugs and I decided to grab the camera and film it because I wanted to show everyone a glimpse into his world. If you watch the video, you will see how Bryce is determined, motivated and has amazing problem solving skills.

He’s neat, organized, a perfectionist, and works well independently... all these extremely positive traits that he has are labeled as an autism characteristic: Lining up objects. It is so much more than just lining up objects.

Please note: I tried not to talk too much during the video to help demonstrate Bryce’s independence and thought process behind the things he does and the way he does them. Usually as he’s commentating everything he is doing, or says things in the right context (for example: says “white slugs” while pointing to the white slugs) I acknowledge and praise him for it as positive reinforcement increases the positive behaviour.

I also want to point out that my floors are not usually that dirty and that the camera adds ten pounds of dirt... ;)

Enjoy the video.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

MORE Autism Quotes and Words to Live By

Teach your child to be great with autism, not despite autism.

Different but not less. - Temple Grandin

After the hurricane comes the rainbow.

If I could snap my fingers and be non-autistic, I would not - because then I wouldn’t be me. Autism is part of who I am. - Temple Grandin

How you know you are aspi? When people tell you to stop talking about that boring subject and you start on another one. :D

Said by a 6 year old with Aspergers after his first support meeting, “Other people are different like me.”

‎Hey, keep staring at me and you just might cure my disability. Then we can work on YOUR social skills.

I’m Autistic: Before they made me, they broke the mold.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. - Dr. Seuss

MY child has autism - Questions Are Appreciated Parenting Advice Is Not!

If a child cannot learn in the way we teach … we must teach in a way the child can learn. - Ignacio Estrada

Please don’t ignore us, or look the other way when we approach you. Doing that to us will not make us or our disability go away. We didn’t have a choice about our disability, but you definitely have a choice in how you accept us! - Annie Forts

I may have been born different and misunderstood from birth, but I know there is a place for me, somewhere in this universe. – Alyson Bradley

The difference between high-functioning and low-functioning is that high-functioning means your deficits are ignored, and low-functioning means your assets are ignored. - Laura Tisoncik

Not everything that steps out of line, and thus abnormal must necessarily be inferior. - Hans Aspberger

When small steps are so big.

Absolutely Unbelievable Tremendously Inspirational Significantly Mesmerizing. Autism.

Special thanks to our Facebook friends and Twitter followers for contributing their autism quotes and words to live by. Have a favourite autism quote? Please leave it as a comment.

Thanks for reading,

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