Support for iPad editing is here!

Many of our users have told us that they would love to be able to edit supports on the go. We’re pleased to report that we’ve just rolled out support today for editing supports with Symbly right on your iPad (running iOS 5 or above) with the Safari mobile web browser! So you don’t even need to install an app to do it.

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Receptive Visual Supports for Children with Autism

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As I mentioned previously, visual skills are often a strength for children with autism. In my ten years of experience working with children with autism, I have seen first hand the benefit that adding picture representation to explanations, descriptions, or instructions can have on a child’s understanding of the material– and by extension, their cooperation and participation in the activity.

Receptive visual supports help a child understand something going on in their world. That ‘something’ might be what to expect throughout their day, how to behave at the dinner table, what their options will be at the fair, or the steps to take to brush their teeth.  When people hear the term visual support, they often think of Social Stories, created by Carol Gray. Social stories are by far the most sought-after visual support type on the web, and the most popular and well-known type of support among families and professionals. Social Stories are a great tool to have in your toolbox when working with children with autism, but they should not be the only tool.

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Viewing supports on iPad Safari

As more and more people begin using Symbly (which we love!), I’m constantly amazed at the new ways people end up using the service that I never would have considered. For example, we’ve noticed a pattern where many of our users are browsing the Symbly site on the iPad Safari mobile browser. I don’t know why it never occurred to us that people would want to do this, but it didn’t! One of the major roadblocks that these users kept running into was the fact that we didn’t allow even viewing supports on mobile browsers. We anticipated that anyone who wanted to view a support with a mobile device would use the Symbly Go iPad App. What we didn’t consider, though, was that you can only browse your own supports on the Symbly Go app. So, if you wanted to view public supports, or a support that someone sent you via a sharing link, you would have to log into a desktop computer, copy the support, and then view it on your iPad. How annoying!

I’m pleased to report that we’ve corrected this major oversight. Starting today, you can browse the entire Symbly site optimized for iPad. And if you go to view a support, you’ll be able to! The one thing you can’t do right now is edit supports on the iPad (or other mobile browsers). While we could enable it, it just doesn’t work very well. The interface is designed around using a keyboard and mouse, not fingers! We’re working hard to re-design a new version of the editor with multi-touch tablets (like the iPad) in mind, though, so stay tuned!

So where does the Symbly Go app fit into all of this? The Symbly Go app is designed to keep an offline library of your supports so you can take them anywhere. It’s still the best way to view supports on your iPad that you use all the time. It’s also the only option we offer right now that lets you use text-to-speech with your supports. But, now you have the added option of accessing all of your supports (even those you aren’t syncing to Symbly Go) and public supports whenever you have an Internet connection available.

Thanks for all the great feedback from our users, and let us know how this new feature helps you make even better use of Symbly!


Introducing Symbly Go for iPad

We’re very excited today to introduce Symbly Go, the companion app to Symbly available now for the iPad on the Apple App Store. We’ve had a vision for a long time of Symbly as a “complete package”, and the Symbly Go app is the last major piece to that puzzle.

Symbly Go does one simple thing: it seamlessly allows you to have access to your library of visual supports wherever you need them. It’s completely uncomplicated to set up and use. Just log in with your Symbly account and it takes care of the rest, downloading your supports in the background whenever you have an active Internet connection. After the initial download, you can go anywhere, even where there isn’t an Internet connection via Wifi or 3G, and you’ll still be able to access and use your supports. As you make changes to your supports on the Symbly website, those supports are downloaded whenever an Internet connection is available to your iPad. And if you’re really looking for real-time updates, the Symbly Go app supports our innovative real-time collaboration technology, allowing you to see updates come through to your iPad immediately.

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