We recently had the opportunity to meet families and professionals at the ASSERT Angelman Syndrome Support Education and Research Trust conference and exhibition as they met to discuss new research into the condition and family support.
Just to recap, the kit consisted of a Twilight Turtle Tunes, my iPad (could also have been an iPhone or iPod Touch) and an iSwitch. Together these formed the basis of the music and lights show with optional switch control.
The iSwitch was not essential but I used it to show how switch access on the iPad could be used. Judging by the surprise people showed when they pressed the iSwitch most seemed unaware of switch access on the iPad. (Take a look at this earlier blog about ‘Using and iSwitch with the iPad’)
Twilight Turtle Tunes is a colour changing nightlight that also includes a Bluetooth speaker. As it’s Bluetooth then the iPad connects to it through the ‘Settings > Bluetooth’ menu.
Once a connection has been made the Turtle will automatically reconnect next time you use it – provided Bluetooth is ‘on’ on the iPad.
Making the Bluetooth connection
Switch on the Twilight Turtle Tunes and activate the Bluetooth connection by pressing the on/off button twice – the turtle will start to flash.
Open the iPad Setting app and go to Bluetooth and switch ‘on’. That makes the iPad look for all Bluetooth devices within range.
Look for ‘Cloud B’ and touch to connect it to the iPad.
Music and Lights
Open the music app and select whatever you would like to hear. Touch on the ‘play’ and you will hear it through the Twilight Turtle Tunes rather than the iPad speaker. The other feature of the Turtle Tunes is the the colour changing light show it projects from blue through green and yellow. That’s how I set-up the music and lights show.
Although I used this set-up to play music don’t imagine that’s all it can play. Essentially what you now have is a connected speaker and I’ve used it to play nursery rhymes, recorded stories even the sound track or sound effects of games, apps etc.
There are also two apps from Cloud B – the company that makes the Twilight Turtle Tunes – that play relaxing soundscapes. (a free version or a paid-for one which costs £1.49 in the App Store.) Both apps include a timer so you can adjust how long the soundscape plays at bedtime.
Switch access with the iSwitch
The iSwitch can be connected to the iPad through the same Bluetooth menu and then set to send the ‘Play/Pause’ command to the iPad.
Angelman Syndrome Support Education and Research Trust or, Assert for short, is a UK based volunteer group supporting individuals with Angelman Syndrome. The majority of trustees are parents or relatives of children or adults with the condition.
The group aims to raise awareness of Angelman Syndrome through a variety of means including their website, publishing research into the condition and their annual conference. Many parents and even professionals may never have heard of Angelman Syndrome due to the fact that it is rare. The condition is caused by irregularities that can occur in Chromosome 15.
I can count myself as one of those who had never heard of Angelman Syndrome until Rachel Martin, Chair of the Trustees, asked me if we would exhibit at Assert’s annual conference on August 30th in Coventry. And, as the condition is quite unknown I thought it would be good to find out more. I watched the video on the Assert website and Wiki is a good read.
It gave me an insight into the condition and set me thinking about what we should take to the exhibition. Then I thought it would be good to introduce myself to the very active AngelmanUK Facebook Group and ask the parents and professionals what we should take along. I got some great feedback and ideas and may parents emphasised the need for tough chew resistant toys.
The conference takes place from August 29th – 31st at the Coventry Hilton but the exhibition is on Saturday, August 30th. Get in touch with Assert through the contact page on the website for more information.