Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Goosie Cards Part One

I've never done a product review before (Ok, maybe back in high school in some class...) but I got an email from Tom over at Goosie Cards. He apparently found me through Google, and long story short, I offered to do a review. I got a gift certificate for a ten card custom set to do the review on. You can choose from ten, twenty, and twenty six card sets. Price varies. My set was a $28 value.

You start off here at their site, where you can create an account to start making your own personalized flashcards. They also offer games and pre-made sets of cards with themes like "favorite foods" or "animals". Basically, you upload your own photos, add the text you'd like, and voila! Nifty, unique cards in your mailbox a few days later. The site is gorgeous. Awesome graphics and colors, and extremely user friendly. Always a necessity for me, as I confuse easily! A useful extra is the fact that every set you make is saved in your account, so you can buy a new copy of a previously purchased set if you lose the original, without needing to re-make them.

The process of making the cards was a little confusing at first, but after about 2 minutes of experimentation, I was a pro. I think the creation process is very much something even a child could do (or my mother-in-law, who has issues turning her own computer on!) and it's a blast. I was a little disappointed that there was a photo size requirement, however it makes sense. Too small a photo would look silly. You need nice, big, bright photos for this, and luckily my digital camera makes the photos gigantic. No resizing was necessary!

Once the photos were uploaded, it was time to add text to each of my cards. One thing that I loved is that there is a spot for you to label your card set. This label shows up just above each photo on the cards. I chose mine as "Jaymes Goes..." because I was making cards to help Jaymes transition from place to place. Since the "Jaymes goes..." part was on every card, it meant more text could be devoted to whatever I wanted each card to say.

My only complaint, really, is the limited number of text characters. It made it kind of hard to decide what to write, particularly on my "Children's Museum" card. I ended up just putting "Kid's museum" instead and it worked out fine. I'd love to see them add in the ability to change text size in order to get more letters in there for longer descriptions. Text color/font would be a fun feature too. It would also be neat if the grey colored square that each photo is sitting on top of could be changed to the creator's choice of color. A bright orange or blue would draw Jaymes attention, while the grey probably will not. However, the beautifully printed, high quality, vividly colored photos will catch his eye.

Anyway, having created my cards, I forgot all about it. I think I made the cards last Thursday, got them today. Pretty impressive mailing time, if you ask me! Shipping is extremely reasonable, and you really won't have a long wait. The cards arrived in a sturdy envelope in a cardboard box. They pack foam to make sure your cards don't bend and get ruined, and my cards showed up in all their straight, glossy, waterproof glory.

I'm thoroughly impressed. The cards are the perfect size, and are nearly indestructible. How do I know this, you ask? The gift card I got in the mail to order the actual set was a Goosie card itself, and Jaymes has played with it, chewed on it, bent it, and fought with Sierra over it for over a week now. It's still like it was when it got here. I expected laminated cards. These go above and beyond, and really are more like the cases you put valuable baseball cards in. These are NOT flimsy or cheaply made, and are the most impressive cards I've seen... We've used a LOT of flashcards in the last few years, so that's saying something! The cards are big, bright, and beautiful. Glossy and durable, waterproof and Jaymes proof. The ultimate flashcard for an autistic child. And being waterproof, they can be used anywhere- by the pool, the bath, and for potty time. Just wipe them off if they get dirty.

I made cards to represent the places Jaymes most frequently goes: The car, the bath, the playground, in his swing, the childrens museum, the wal mart shopping cart, to watch Elmo, outside (our home) for a walk, and to the doctor. They each have a simple sentence below. For example, the car card says "Jaymes goes... In the car, he sits in his carseat." This card will hopefully prepare Jaymes to go get into his carseat without getting horribly upset. Another card has a photo of Jaymes sitting in a shopping cart, and says "Jaymes goes... To the store, and sits in the cart." This way he'll know we're heading to Walmart and he'll have to sit in the cart. I have punched holes in the cards and put them together with a ring into a sort of mini book, so we can flip through to the card we need without losing any. It's HARD to punch holes in the cards, I'm telling you they are seriously durable little suckers.

I have not gotten a chance to try the cards out yet, Jaymes is not home from school yet.. But tonight we'll start with them and in a week I'll let you all know how Jaymes is doing with his Goosie Cards.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the quality of the cards, the ease of making them, and the quick delivery. GoosieCards.com is quite possibly the most user friendly, child friendly site I've encountered. Jaymes loved looking at the colors while I made his cards. Another nice little extra was the fancy little envelope that comes with the cards. Colorful and well made, it provides a safe home for your cards. We also got a bunch of stickers, temporary tattoos, and a magnet with the GC logo. Jaymes covered himself in stickers, and Sierra thought the tattoos were pretty darn cool. The logo is adorable, too!

I highly recommend Goosie Cards. I think these will be a godsend for us at home, and I plan on ordering more once finances permit. If you're wanting to start a pecs program that you can take on the go, you can't go wrong here.


Casdok said...

Sounds a great idea - will go have a look!

~Michelle~ said...

that was a great review! I might have to check out the site. I love the idea of the "Jaymes goes...". My son has SPD and has issues transitioning as well, and I think cards like that would work out really well with him. Thanks for the information!