Wednesday, May 29, 2013

OtterBox Defender case & Utility Series Latch Kit

iProtection: New iPad Colors,default,pd.html

for iPad 2, 3, 4                                                                                                                         Share This on Twitter

This combo is pricey but I am oh so glad to have this when protection is a must! This and the Griffin Survivor are the only two cases I have tried that I feel completely comfortable handing over to my young preschoolers to hold on their own, due to their protective screen covers* (newer model of OtterBox Defender) to protect against scratches, spills etc. I have a child who tends to throw and I was previously reluctant to bring out the iPad. Now I can keep the iPad in the Latch system strapped to me while we explore it together! We are partial to black but the new style for OtterBox has several options for fun bursts of color too, if you prefer! This is one of few cases with a protective lid to cover the screen when not in use- and when paired with the Utility Series Latch Kit, it becomes a hands-free powerhouse!  (Keep reading for more information on the Utility Latch Kit)
"New" OtterBox versus "Old" OtterBox.
Previous to trying out the new model of OtterBox Defender, I really couldn't understand people's complaints about the iPad 1 case.  After trying out both, I am glad to be the owner of an iPad 2 with an OtterBox Defender! The feel of the rubber is much more substantial with a "matte" finish, and gone is the pesky removable port cover probably sitting in many a junk drawer at this moment.  The new model of the case has a built-in protective screen cover, and the hinges on the stand/lid have been redesigned as well. The case fits much tighter.  It is harder to get on/off, which is all the better because I wouldn't want little fingers trying to remove it.
( port cover on old iPad 1 case on right)
Close up of newer iPad 2, 3, 4 case.
Hinge of newer iPad lid (shown with Latch Kit pouch partially attached)

The addition of the screen protector is a huge plus to us.  With many little fingers touching my iPad throughout the day, a screen protector helps keep the germs away.  More importantly, I feel it offers an extra layer of protection. 

OtterBox Utility Series Latch Kit

 This is what makes this case and kit combo hands-free!  The OtterBox Utility Series Latch Kit comes with several accessories to compliment the OtterBox Defender and make it very useful for the special needs community. You can carry the accessories around in the provided pouch; the lid/stand will also work with the Kit attached. 

For children and adults with special needs, the wide elastic strap included can attach to a wheelchair, a child's desk, or the back of a car seat for viewing purposes. Here is a video of the Latch Kit being used to secure an iPad to a wheelchair:

This site has a really handy screen guide that essentially works like guided access for iPad 1

Image above to the left is from, which by the way has a really handy screen guide that essentially works like guided access for iPad 1; others are my own or from

There is also a clip that can help hang the iPad on a wall- we have found this very useful for practicing fine motor skills- Writing in a vertical position or at a slant is a common recommendation made by occupational therapists, and we do practice handwriting this way. 

My favorite accessory in the kit is the strap though- It has 4 elastic loops that you can slip on the corners of the iPad to carry your iPad hands-free!  This same accessory allows you to slip a hand through it so you can hold the iPad in a reading position with just one hand.

There is also a lightweight rain cover (or dust cover) to protect from the elements, and a handy little pouch that all the accessories fit into. It attaches to the back of The Latch Kit with little hooks and can be removed.

Wish List-

I would love the strap from the Utility Kit to adjust smaller- at its shortest length, it goes past my five-year-old child's knees when he is walking.

I would be thrilled to see a Utility Kit to fit smaller tablets like the iPad mini. Note: OtterBox is considering this.

For a comparison of OtterBox and a dozen other carryable cases, see here:
See OtterBox iPod and iPhone cases used with the Gab n Go Harness by Safe n Sound Mobile:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gab n Go Harness by Safe n Sound Mobile

(for phones, iPods, small tablets)                                   Share This on Twitter

The Gab n Go Harness is custom made, which means the maker can work with you on creating the right harness for you - there are child/youth/adult sizes and styles, and a variety of colors and custom prints are available. My son is obsessed with all things military, so I chose the camo- I was impressed by the quality of the material on the straps- the newer holders for the bluetooth speaker are also more sturdy too- instead of a lightweight cotton as seen in some of the pictures above, there is a stretchy, sturdy but lightweight neoprene material (close up picture of this below).  Currently buckles are used to attach the device to the harness; past versions used a plug that you inserted into the charger port of your device.
The maker has a good amount of success with Griffin Survivor but you should be able to attach the harness to a variety of cases- ones with a large flat smooth surface are your best bet.  Many of the pictures in this blog post are of Otterbox and of an $8 iPad mini case from ebay- my apologies as I don't remember the brand.  The GoNow case also has a nice flat smooth surface and we found it a nice fit in landscape mode. For the older style of Otterbox cases it was necessary to cut a piece of the outer rubber layer off the case with my original Gab n go Harness system- this is no longer a problem with the newer style of rubber used, and also the new buckle system comes with sticky backing that seems to work with a variety of surfaces.  If you have an older Otterbox case, another option is ordering adhesive from this company, McMaster-Carr- I tried some caulking for rubber that held my non-sticky velcro well. 
Gab n Go Harness with Bluetooth Speaker:

Gab n Go Harness with cotton speaker case option shown above.
We've been trialing the gab n go harness with the iPad mini.   My youngest has a history of throwing, so I am grateful to have this harness as it deters him from doing this in frustration.  We tried it first in portrait mode, as that is how it was set up when it arrived. You should experiment with the different orientations before permanently attaching the clips to your device/case, as there are several factors to consider. In our case, one of the communication apps we use only operates in landscape mode; with my tiny 5 year old model, portrait orientation also proved to be a little too overwhelming for him.
I also was very happy to have the Gab n Go Harness on a recent trip to the zoo- Since my younger son has not yet mastered his phone number or address, I programmed a communication app with an "I am lost" phrase including our information.  This way if he did become lost, he would have a way to communicate who his parents were and how to reach us. So the Gab n Go can be used as a safety device too! (Gab n Go Harness with cotton speaker case and danglet option for iPhone/iPod touch featured below)
For a comparison of Gab n Go Harness and a dozen other carryable cases, see here:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

123 Kids Fun Alphabet by RosMedia


123 Kids Fun Alphabet by RosMedia

This is a cute ABC app- each letter name is spoken as the child advances through the app, along with a short sentence, i.e. "L is for lamp". There are several animations and sound effects for each letter, and the illustrations are charming- the voice is pleasant as well. Depending on which camp of reading strategies you belong to, you may or may not appreciate some of the word choices, such as knife for the letter k.   I really like the alphabet letter tracing- it helps keep children in the lines with cute car themed guides. I don't know much from an OT perspective about the letter strokes, so it would be interesting to get feedback in that area about that as well. It captured my 5 year old's attention. It also got him practicing his letters, and it jumpstarted a good discussion about silent letters, too!
 REQUIRES iOS 6.0 or higher- so not for original iPad



123 Kids Fun Alphabet Description (from developer)

123 Kids Fun Alphabet is designed for all children (ages 3 to 7) to start their adventure with the alphabet.

It is also recommended for teachers. Each letter has been illustrated with four words, one of which is animated and enriched with a sound characteristic for a specific object. Just tap the first picture of each letter.

The combination of letters with pictures and a readers’ recording is a very effective method to quickly and enjoyably learn the alphabet.

The Application also includes three interactive games:

💎 The goals of two are to memorize the knowledge acquired earlier. Your child points at letter or words read by the reader.

💎 The third game is to teach the child to write letters by joining points on a special template.

The Application is prepared in a way to allow your child to independently learn the alphabet without your assistance.


🎨 Very clear and easy-to-use application.
🎨 Colourful animations and drawings.
🎨 English lector.
🎨 Educational games: quizzes.
🎨 Interactive learning on how to write letters.
🎨 Background music off/on option.


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Saturday, May 4, 2013

iMonster iPad case by Stormcup

iMonster by Stormcup
(for iPad 2 and up)
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This is definitely the most adorable case of the bunch- I have seen the cute iGuy before, but you have to admit, this is way cuter. It also comes in several colors and is pretty darn sturdy. I almost lamented that it didn't come in my favorite color black but then thought, really, a black monster? Nah! Mine came in lime green and the kids love it.  Watch a video of someone trying to shake an iPad out of its iMonster case here. It stays put.

 This case is definitely my kids' favorite pick! The cute factor is way up here, and coupled with lots of bouncy material for drop protection, this is a pretty neat find!  This is another case I get stopped and asked about- the kids love it!  The material is high quality; the handles are really easy to grip and they don't feel flimsy at all- they are just the right combination of flexible and firm. I could see this going through a lot of use and standing strong.  I really think this would make the perfect case for a pediatric setting where the iPad is being introduced for therapy activities- the kids are really excited to play with the iMonster.

What I love:
Fun Factor!
Flexible but sturdy handles
Self standing
Easy to put on
Easy access to ports

Wish List:
Would like it to be harder to remove (know your user- this may be totally fine)
Some kind of snap on screen protection

Also worth mentioning: My case did come with a Christian book for children, something the website is very open about. It didn't bother me, just wanted to give a heads up in case it is a concern for someone else- I plan on passing the book on to a friend.

For a comparison of a dozen plus handy cases for iPad & iPad mini, see here: