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The Kindle Fire: a revolution for special educational needs?

The Kindle Fire: a revolution for special educational needs?

New Kindle Fire Tablet

The much awaited Kindle Fire tablet has been on the market across the pond for awhile now and it’s astonishingly low price is potentially going to rock the tablet market. If the Kindle Fire can live up to its reviews and is as great as people say, for such an affordable price, then perhaps we’re a step closer to revolutionising the educational environments of children with additional needs.

Although there is no release date or price set for the UK Kindle Fire, it’s bound to happen eventually. In the US, the Kindle Fire is retailing at $199 which is under £150 and an absolute steal compared to other tablets on the market, most notably Apple favourites the iPad and iPad2.

We have previously discussed at length the value of tablet technology for enhancing and encouraging the learning of children with special educational needs and the use of the iPad in the classroom is becoming more widespread but because of its large cost, some children are still missing out. With the launch of the reasonably priced Kindle Fire, perhaps there’ll be a change across the board and classrooms will be able to provide tablet technology for every child who needs it?

Now the Kindle Fire boasts impressive specs. It is smaller than an iPad with a 7-inch colour display but it can access all the apps and technology you may require to educate and further enhance the learning for your child. It’s very light weight so easy to handle and is a very basic tablet design which could be perfect for the classroom. The Kindle Fire has been designed for media usage, not for communication so you can enjoy all the chosen media types you need.

Can the Kindle Fire deliver?

However, despite all the potential in this first generation Kindle Fire, it is missing many essential features which would make it ideal for the additional needs classroom. Over at Assistive Technology Blog they have discussed in depth the features that the Kindle Fire is missing which means it is unfortunately not accessibly designed. Most notably, it is missing both text-to-speech and Braille display support.

Amazon is a company who have the ability to produce high quality, fantastic devices but they seem to be missing a trick when it comes to providing items which are accessible to all. There is hope that eventually, their great quality products including the new Fire and their eReaders will be designed in a way which makes them suitable for use in the special educational needs classroom. The price tag is great but the functionality doesn’t add up.

Here’s a full video review of the Kindle Fire’s features:

POST UPDATED LAUNCH DATE ANNOUNCED We look at the UK launch of the Kindle fire in the next post.

UPDATED and our newest post is about using the Kindle fire for Special Education Apps.

Young Epilepsy Conference

Young Epilepsy Conference 2012


The Trabasack Team are delighted to announce their appearance at The Young Epilepsy National Conference. Young Epilepsy, in association and collaboration with Matthew’s Friends are holding a two day National Conference at St John’s Hotel, Solihull on 12th and 13th August.

As parents of a child with Dravet Syndrome, the husband and wife team behind Trabasack are passionate about attending events that raise Epilepsy Awareness and their universally designed product range is ideal for use by children and adults with epilepsy and related conditions. Raising awareness of Dravet Syndrome and the often devastating effects of epilepsy on young people, this important event will help bring together professionals, parents and new developments in the treament and management of the disease.

Son of Trabasack Creator and the Ketogenic Diet

Joe (centre) was on the ketogentic diet for 5 yrs – also pictured Clare Edwards (Trabasack creator), Victor Edwards, Joe’s brother

The co-hosting charity Mathews Friends provides information about a dietary treatment for epilepsy called the ketogenic diet. A high fat, low carbohydrate diet that the Trabasack director’s son followed for 5 years, with tremendous success. In the early days of the treatment they obtained essential advice and support from the charity.

The Young Epilepsy Conference Schedule

The event itself is split into two separate days aimed at different audiences and Trabasack will be present at both with their full product range on display for sale and to answer any questions potential customers may have.

Day 1 – The Complex Epilepsy Conference for Professionals

Friday 12th October is a dedicated conference day at the event for professionals working directly with families of children and young people with complex epilepsy in a community environment. The day will be made up of several sessions :

young epilepsy conference brochure cover

Click the image to see the link where you can download a PDF brochure and booking form of the Young Epilepsy Event

• Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
• Advances in treatment
• Impact on the wider family
• Case Studies
• Supporting the Family
• Changing Society’s Perception

Talks will be given by UKs foremost experts in the study of epilepsy including:

  • Prof Helen Cross, The Prince of Wales’s Chair of Childhood Epilepsy
  • Dr Sunny Philip, Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Dr Archana Desurkar and Dr Krishna Das, Young Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy specialist n
    urses and parents who have experience of living with complex epilepsy.

The Trabasack team will be present all day with their dedicated stand and products on display. Tickets for this event are bookable via the Young Epilepsy website and there are early bird discounts available.



Day 2 – The Complex Epilepsy Information Day for Parents

conference info for families of children with epilepsy

Click to see a link to download the information and booking form for families

Saturday 13th October is a little bit different to the previous day as it focuses on the expectations and needs of the parents and carers of children and young people with complex epilepsy. It also gives them the chance to meet other families in the same situation and form some valuable support networks and relationships. Topics and sessions throughout the day will include:
• Complex Epilepsy Syndromes and Treatments
• Support through education
• Syndrome-specific group discussions
• Behaviour and impact on the wider family.
Tickets for the second day of the event are bookable now via the Young Epilepsy website or on 01342 832243 the booking line, or click the images to download a conference booking form.


The Trabasack Product Range

The Trabasack team will have their whole product range on display, with representatives present to explain exactly how their innovative products can be of beneficial use to those living with epilepsy and related syndromes.

The Trabasack lap tray and bag is an innovative and universally designed product that combines a lightweight tray surface, great for holding media devices, switches, communication aids, food and drink and much more, with a spacious bag compartment for storage of said items. It also includes a soft bean bag tray and is extremely lightweight so can be rested upon any lap without causing any discomfort. The current range includes the Trabasack Curve, designed ergonomically to hug the curves of the body and the smaller Trabasack Mini, designed for smaller devices such as netbooks and iPads. Both these products will be on display at the event.

Trabasack has also recently launched its Media Mount multipurpose mounting device which serves to provide extra support and add extra functionality to their lapdesk products. The Media Mount can support the use of communication aids, tablet devices and even hold simple things such as a bottle of drink in place.


Further demonstration of the product in action will be seen at the Young Epilepsy National Conference.

The video below shows Joanna Lumley at a previous Young Epilepsy event at Glyndebourne.

Vote in the Readers Choice Awards Special Needs Sites and Books

The 2011 About.com Readers’ Choice Awards will showcase the best products, features and services in dozens of categories.
Readers’ Choice grew out of a successful awards program on the About.com Computing channel, and it’s being expanded this year to include a section for Special Needs Children.
About.com Parenting Special Needs is one of the participants this year. Nominations will be accepted starting Jan. 13, 2011.

Voting will take place from Feb. 11 through March 8, with winners announced March 15. There’s no prize — just the bragging rights that come with getting recognized by the readers of one of a leading website owned by The New York Times Co.

Here are our nominations

Our  Nominee for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog:

We are voting for Wendy at http://savvymum4.wordpress.com/

An amazing Mum, with a very useful blog

Our Nominee for Best Special-Needs Online Community

Definitely Netbuddy, a brilliant site for carers of people with Learning Disability

A close second for us would be the TEA room, a site for teenagers with epilepsy, but alas only one nomination allowed!
You can also nominate your favourite Special Needs Book and Special Needs Memoir.

Hurry though, the nominations close tomorrow.

Here is the link for your nominations