Monthly Archives: January, 2015

Talking Slower Can Reduce Social Anxiety

Like many autistics, I suffer from social anxiety. Recently, it occurred to me that maybe I talk too fast, and that other people find this off-putting (which creates a vicious cycle, where I sense they find my behavior strange, and that makes me even more anxious!). So I decided to make an effort to talk a little slower. The experience so far has been positive. People tend to react more calmly and pleasantly if you talk to them slowly, and their positive response helps you calm down as well.

I wondered if other people had thought of slowing down as a way of dealing with social anxiety. Turns out, it’s standard practice in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety. Furthermore, if you have a high-pitched voice, people tend to take you less seriously (and you sound more anxious), so in that case consider lowering pitch too. Slowing down all your movements may help as well, but don’t over-do it or you’ll look like a zombie! It takes a little getting used to, and may feel a bit awkward at first. If you’re absent-minded like me, it helps to set a daily reminder. Here’s a video I found that explains some of the benefits of talking slower:

Homeless Veteran With Asperger’s Tells His Story

Many of the homeless are on the autism spectrum, but receive little if any support to help them understand and self-manage the condition. Check out this article from the UK’s Independent, about a Royal Marine who was medically discharged and ended up homeless, before being diagnosed with Asperger’s only recently.

Outwardly his life seemed to be going well, but he often had disagreements with his employers, forcing him to change jobs – a cycle he now puts down to Asperger’s. He lost his security licence after getting into a fight and being cautioned by the police. With no steady income, he was forced to move out of his flat. [quote from the article]

Miiya Kids’ Wearable Wants To Encourage Safe And Active Play


Meet Miiya: a kids wearable that’s being designed to nudge kids to be more active, while also offering security features for parents to help alert them if their child has wandered too far away. It’s aimed at children aged from four- to 10-years-old, and is currently in development, as its French makers seek to raise $50,000 via the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform to get the device to market this year.

Encouraging kids to share more about what they did that day with their parents is the third gentle nudge being planned for Miiya. If it makes it to the market the wearable will include a feature where kids can choose to tag a particular location to send it to their parents — viewable via a timeline on the Miiya companion smartphone app — to help them remember to tell mum or dad about whatever cool thing they did in the park/school/their buddy’s house today.

Point being that the child gets to choose when to…

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Mother Knows Best

Mother is a smart connected device that can stay in touch with up to 24 ‘motion cookies’ at a distance of 50 meters. Each cookie has motion, temperature and presence sensors that can be used for a wide range of tasks (for example, reminding you to take your medicine, if there is an intruder in the house, or if your cat just went out). The range of tasks is only limited by your imagination. Video review from CNET below:

What Your Designs Say About You

What does your chair say about what you value? Designer Sebastian Deterding shows how our visions of morality and what the good life is are reflected in the design of objects around us.

The Onewheel Self-Balancing Skateboard

Puzzle Piece Updates Its Line Of Inexpensive Tablets And Apps For Autistic Kids


TechCrunch first profiled Puzzle Piece, a startup that makes affordable tablets and apps geared toward children with autism, back in May. Though educational apps are helpful for teaching autistic kids social skills and helping them with their schoolwork, many families could not afford a tablet. Puzzle Piece wants to make tech accessible to all families, with a 9-inch Android tablet that costs $29 and a $19-per-month subscription plan that gives children access to a library over 80 apps.

Founder Steve Espinosa, formerly lead program manager of Google SMB revenue, left the company in July to focus on Puzzle Piece full time. Since then, Puzzle Piece has completely revamped its tablets. They are now 9-inches as opposed to the previous 7-inches and run over two times more quickly. The new tablets also have better resolution (not HD, but close, Espinosa says), a faster dual core processor, twice as much…

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