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Apps for Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month.  

Many people with autism find assistive technology hugely beneficial for all sorts of purposes. Some people use dedicated speech generating devices but many use a mainstream device such as an iPad and install apps which fall broadly into the categories of:

  • communication
  • social skills
  • emotional regulation
  • learning
  • academic and work

There are a couple of really good Australian resources to help parents, carers and therapists to make good choices about apps.  See our earlier post on choosing apps.

Bronwyn Sutton of BEST Autism Therapy has created a very comprehensive guide which she updates constantly.

Craig Smith of Autism Pedagogy has a blog post here with an overview of useful apps.

If you are just starting the iPad journey, you will want to think about:

  • goals for iPad use
  • size and memory capability
  • protection with a good case
  • wifi and cellular or wifi only
  • training for user, carers and therapists
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6 Tips to Keeping Your Mac Running Fast

Why is my computer running slow?

It’s a question we’re often asked.

Making sure your machine stays running fast can sometimes be hard to keep on top of, but with a few simple fixes, you’re able to keep OSX running smoothly, even if your machine is a few years old.



  • Removing Malware

The first step is to make sure there is no malicious software slowing down your machine. There are some great pieces of software that can help you make sure your machine is virus free. Malwarebytes helps to remove anything that is slowing down your machine or potentially poses a threat to your machine. It also claims to “protect you from dangerous threats that antivirus doesn’t.” You can try Malwarebytes for free for 14 days, after that licenses start at $34.95 for 1 year.

  • Removing Mackeeper or similar software

You’ll find a lot of software out there that will claim to clean up your machine, when really, it’s doing quite the opposite. Mackeeper is the most notorious of these but certainly not the only one. Mackeeper, by definition, is malware. Malware being “a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software”. Mackeeper can be very difficult to uninstall at times, especially if you want to make sure it hasn’t left any lingering files. A great guide to uninstalling Mackeeper can be found here.

  • Repair Disk Permissions

When you install programs on your Mac, each comes with permission files. These files basically tell your Mac which users can do what with specific files. Over time these permissions get changed by other software and can cause lots of issues with the speed and running of your Mac. Luckily, it’s quite easy to fix this using Disk Utility. Spotlight search for Disk Utility, click on your hard drive (usually called Macintosh HD), and then click Verify Permissions or First Aid on newer versions of OSX. This will scan for any issues. If it does find any issues, you will either be prompted to Repair Permissions or it will begin automatically.

  • Remove Login Items

Too many programs trying to start up when you log in to your computer can result in a very, very slow log in time. If you open System Preferences, click on Users & Groups, then your user account, and then click on Login Items. From there, anything that you don’t require immediately on start up can be removed, hopefully resulting in a fast log in time.

  • Activity Monitor

Spotlight search for Activity Monitor and you will easily be able to see what is using the bulk of your processing power or memory at any given time. By checking what’s using the most of your CPU and Memory, you can decide whether those programs are worth keeping, worth shutting down or whether you might require an upgrade to your RAM.

  • Delete Old Programs and Large Unused Files

It’s also always important to go through your machine every so often and look for old programs or large files that you’re not using. A quick check through your Applications folder, or Control Clicking on folders to Get Info and find out how much space they’re taking up, can be incredibly beneficial in freeing up space on your hard drive and decluttering your machine.

A slow computer is one of the most frustrating things in the world these days, but by following these simple steps, you should be able to keep your machine running like it’s brand new. For more tips and news, check out our other blog posts, or sign up to our newsletter.

Patrick Kirkman

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The Top Apps of 2014

Here is the definitive list, drum roll please… the Top Apps of 2014 for iPhone and iPad.


Top Free iPhone Apps


The number one free iPhone App was Facebook Messenger. This is despite concerns around privacy and users expressing frustration that Facebook had removed the message function from their main app. It appears that social media continues to be as popular as ever with related apps dominating the list.

  1. Facebook Messenger
  2. Snapchat
  3. YouTube
  4. Facebook
  5. Instagram
  6. Pandora Radio
  7. Google Maps
  8. Flipagram
  9. Spotify Music
  10. 2048


Top Paid iPhone Apps


Heads Up! A word guessing game in the mould of celebrity head finished as 2014’s most popular paid iPhone app. It’s a regular feature on Ellen De Generes’ show. Games made up the majority of the paid apps list.

  1. Heads Up!
  2. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
  3. Afterlight
  4. Plague Inc.
  5. Sleep Cycle alarm clock
  6. Facetune
  7. Cut the Rope 2
  8. Bloons TD 5
  9. A Dark Room
  10. 7 Minute Workout Challenge


Top Free iPad Apps


With the bigger screen is it any surprise that You Tube and Netflix secured number one and number two spots on the iPad most popular free app list?

  1. YouTube
  2. Netflix
  3. Calculator for iPad Free
  4. Skype for iPad
  5. Microsoft Word
  6. Facebook Messenger
  7. Facebook
  8. Candy Crush Saga
  9. Chrome
  10. Clash of Clans


Top Paid iPad Apps


Similar to the top free iPhone apps, games were the big hit when it came to buying iPad apps in 2014. Minecraft – Pocket Edition topped the list and has a four and half star rating from 37,000 reviews.

  1. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
  2. Cut the Rope 2
  3. Heads Up!
  4. The Room Two
  5. Survivalcraft
  6. Notability
  7. Terraria
  8. Plants vs. Zombies HD
  9. Hide N Seek : Mini Game With Worldwide Multiplayer
  10. Card Wars – Adventure Time


What has been your favourite app of 2014? Is there a new one that you have discovered? Perhaps there’s one you can’t live without? We’d love to hear your thoughts.


Source: Mac Rumours

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8 Christmas Themed Apps

We’ve scoured the web to find eight of the best Christmas themed apps to ensure you and your family get into the Christmas spirit. Let us know if you download any!

A Charlie Brown Christmas ($3.79)

This interactive story book app is for all ages and is based on the original holiday classic. Play piano, paint and read, sing and decorate your own Christmas tree. It has the original narration and soundtrack. This app is a heart-warming addition to your Christmas.

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A Royal Christmas ($1.99) Currently 60% off

Celebrate Christmas with three Disney Princesses. Cinderella, Tiana and Ariel each throw their own Christmas celebration. Cinderlla with help from the Fairy Godmother, Tiana hosts a party with an unexpected guest and Ariel a treasure hunt. This app will keep young ones thoroughly entertained.


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Appy Christmas (Free)

Have a chat to Santa with this fun app! Not only can you talk to him but poke and stroke him while you watch him laugh and dance. Watch as Santa transforms into a reindeer. Included in the app is a countdown to Christmas.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 12.41.25 pm


Santa’s Christmas Village ($1.99)

Santa’s Christmas Village is a collection of 17 classic and original games all with a holiday theme. Games include Mahjong, Sudoku, Naughts and Crosses, Checkers and Solitaire. The app also includes 25 classic Christmas tunes.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.17.21 pm

Christmas Radio (free)

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with the Christmas Radio app. Featuring stations dedicated entirely to songs of the season. Your Christmas soundtrack is sorted!

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.00.01 pm


Christmas (Free)

An all-in-one Christmas app featuring a countdown, wallpapers, puzzles, emoticons, ringtones and songs. If it’s Christmas related, you will find it in this app!

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.05.15 pm


How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – Dr. Seuss ($1.99)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas the Dr. Seuss classic is an interactive book allowing you to record your voice so you can personalize your own story or have a narrator read it to you.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.12.16 pm


Yummy Christmas (Free)

Enjoying some baking over the holiday break with the Yummy Christmas App. Featuring a range of kid friendly recipes accompanied by cute images and fun sounds no one will be going hungry these holidays!

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 4.22.21 pm