Cool Tools: “Pickture That” Bracelets

photo from

photo from

I love to learn about new products and services, and share them with you. Today, I want to tell you about a really great bracelet that can be adapted for use in school or in church for kids with disabilities.

A company called Pickture That sells personalized photo bracelets.  Buyers upload three to four photos, crop them and choose between three color styles…and voila! A lovely, one-of-a-kind bracelet is created!


While these are great for new moms or

Photo from

Photo from

sorority pledges, they can also be wonderful transitional objects for students with disabilities. Many children with special needs struggle with separation anxiety. Sometimes, a special object from home can help to soothe this worry by allowing children to have a tangible reminder of their parent or caregiver. These bracelets could work very well for this purpose.

These bracelets could also be used as a visual schedule or a reminder of expectations. For example, the bracelet might show three or four pictures of the child working on various activities and showing appropriate behavior. Teachers and parents can review the expectations by showing the child each of the pictures, and they can redirect a child’s off-task behavior unobtrusively by simply tapping or pointing to the bracelet. Any image can be uploaded to create these bracelets; if a child responds better to words or icons, those can be uploaded as well, as long as they are in a jpeg, png or gif format.

Some things to consider…
These bracelets currently come in only one size, so they may be large for younger children. As a result, they may need to be worn higher on the arm or over a sleeve. Obviously, students with sensory sensitivities may not like the feeling of the bracelet on their skin, and, for some children, the bracelet might become more of a distraction than a comfort. As with any tool, it will be important to explicitly teach children how to use the bracelet appropriately.

Finally, any tool, including these bracelets, can be stigmatizing. To avoid this, teachers and volunteers…and students themselves…should be ready for questions from typically developing peers. When a child asks, “How come Jacob wears that bracelet?” a teacher can respond, “That helps him remember what we do in our class. We all have our own ways to remember the rules. What helps you remember?” Remaining neutral and matter-of-fact helps students recognize that they have more in common than they might realize!

For more information on creating and ordering bracelets, please visit the Pickture That website.

Please note: this is not a paid endorsement…just a “hey look at that!” from me to you. 🙂


Stepping off the Sandbar: Sending our kids to college {with courage}

It has been 77 days since the band played “Pomp and Circumstance” and we watched our daughter march triumphantly across the field to receive her high school diploma.

Since then, we’ve been seemingly stuck in a pre-college no-man’s land…rather like running aground on a sandbar, and the tide just isn’t right for moving any of us.

And being stuck gives us time.

Time for preparations, like orientation, choosing a bedspread, and meeting a new roommate.

Time for “lasts:”  the last dinner with high school friends, the last day of church together, the last family vacation.

And time for new thoughts and plans and questions as she embraces the about-to-be freshman experience. She’s curious and excited and nervous.

Me too.

College conjures a new list of worries in my maternal mind:

Campus safety
Noisy dorms
Academic stress

West Nile Virus
I get a little carried away sometimes.

And yet, history tells me that all of these worries will likely be unfounded. We’ve endured many “firsts” with our children, and we’ve all emerged victorious…

However, these “firsts” require courage.

I remember our daughter’s first steps, her chubby legs lurching forward in syncopated rhythm (looking to us, like graceful ballet…) Similarly, I can see, in my mind’s eye, that terrifying, exhilarating moment when Tom let go of her bicycle seat, and she peddled that two-wheeler down the street and out of sight. And, in the blink of an eye, she was in the driver’s seat, possessing a shiny new laminated license, and driving right out of the neighborhood.

I have admired her mettle and determination at each of these rites of passage, and I know that these qualities will serve her well as she begins college next week.  All of these “firsts” that are prologue to the greater challenges that she will face in the grown-up world. This is another “first” in her journey, and it will take a great lot of courage for my daughter to step off the sandbar and swim toward the life God has planned for her.

And it will take a great lot of courage for me to let her go.


Around here {July, 2012 edition}

Around here, we’ve been doing a lot of celebrating…

Annie graduated from high school…

and we planned a wedding shower for these two in Michigan.

Tom and Bill celebrated Father’s Day at the Indian’s Game.

Around here, we’ve spent time with far-flung relatives.

Around here, we’re applauding for Bill, who is in a production at a local youth theatre.

Around here, our days are filled with summer jobs, carpooling, friends, good books, and a bit of extra sleep.

Around here, we’re glad it’s summer.

Hope you catch a few fireflies…