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A few good language and communicaiton skills resources

Posted by on Apr. 14, 2007 at 12:17 AM
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Teaching language skills: If your  kids can't yet identify letters of the alphabet by name and by sound, start teaching those basic skills. This is a building block skill to pave the way for higher level skills. Just teach a few at a time and use a lot of repetition..Leap Frog's Letter Factory DVD was great for my son to learn the sounds of letters as it is VERY visual with  "t-t-t- "tap dancing letter t's and "c-c-c-" cold letter c's, for example. 

ABA style alphabet instruction: Having a child identify one printed letter at time by point response is a good starting point.  Put a flashcard of the letter on the table and say."show me A" then start by helping teach the child how to point to the card by doing it hand over hand at first as necessary. (My child definitely had to learn how to point with his index finger). Teach additional letters the same way. Don't introduce too many at once. Then add a second letter as a "distractor" put two letter cards on table and ask for one or the other...the child now has to make a choice. (Incidentally, singing the good old alphabet song was one of the ways I could always calm my son when he was young and in a melt down.) Having them work toward matching a capital "A" to another capital "A "or a  lower case "a" to another lower case "a" is another acitivity.  Eventually ordering flashcards of the alphabet and matching upper case to  lowercase. You can follow the same process teaching the sounds of letters.  My child could identify the aphabet by name before he could identify letters when  gien an audiory stimuls of soem thing like, "what letter says "mmm".  Later,  matching a letter to a picture of an object that starts with that letter is another step. 

www.speechtx.com has some great activites in Speech Language Home activities for how to teach specific speech sounds to your child and  other language building acitivites for home.  Some of the ideas I printed to use were related to using nursery rhymes for language and using books for language. 

www.sesamestreet.org has some good online stories and games if your kids can use the computer.  If they can 't use a mouse you can still sit with them and have them point to things and you click the mouse for them.  My son can use a computer keyboard or touch screen, but mouse skills are still emerging. 

Additionally, I believe that all vestibular acitivities like crawling, jumping, stomping on pillows or foam pads. tossing a pillow, stuffed animial, or bean bag in the air and catching it, skipping, midline crossing activites, like touching one foot with the opposite hand and then alternating to the other side all help with integrating the brain and body...motor skills are definitely an issue for speech production so building motor skill overall can help.  "Brain Gym" is a good book with more ideas to use now with your child. Engaging the kids in these types of activities as play can open a lot of opportunities for vocalizing too..."my" turn" "your turn" "throw it" "catch it" , and doing gross motor imitation with the objects.  My son greatly benefits from our mini trampoline and crawl through tunnel.  We also put down a series of  hula hoops on the floor and hop from one to the other.  Doing work with weight is great for him too!  Pushing or pulling something along the floor, or carrying objects in front, back or  down at his sides. Allowing him to put the grocery items in the cart and on the conveyor belt at the store also help provide needed sensory input and prevent in store behavioral issues. 

There are so many things to do it is almost overwhelming BUT I wish I had known all thes things when my son was first diagnosed instead of having to hunt and dig for every little idea.  We try to encorproate the vestibular activites into several sessions of play at different times in the day.  Outdoor playtime can be a perfect opportunity to add some activites with a targeted purpose in mind.  My son climbs up and down the treehouse ladder, kicks balls and swings and slides for some outdoor activities.  Therapeutic horseback riding, swimming , and soccer are all good natural opportunities for this kind of input too.

"Embracing Play - Teaching Your  Child with Autism".  It demonstrated how to use objects (toys) as the medium to teach your child to learn imitation, attending, and joint attending skills. It really teaches  how to teach a child to play.  Play is the foundation to learning.  Our kids can develop strong attachments to just a few toys and lack the ability to go beyond the almost self preservative and comforting behaviors they have found for the toys, to play that will allow them to interact with siblings, friends, and parents.  It is helpful to show parents how to use the limited play schemes and favored objects a child may have that can be the open door to teaching more appropriate and expanded play and social skills.  It starts with the most basic skills of just teaching the child to pay attention to the acitivtiy you are presenting and very importantly how to keep a child motivated and enjoying  the  learning experience.  Then it works toward teaching a child imitation with objects, (like Mom taking a toy hammer and tapping the carpet, then getting the child to respond with the same action, or the adult or older sibling putting a small stackign cup iside a larger one then having the child do the same).  Obviously this works best if you have duplicate toys.  That may seem like having to have a lot of STUFF around but organizing and keeping clutter down can help problems form developing.  (Hmmmm...I have to admit I have SERIOUS CLUTTER PROBLEMS from toys, books, and therapy items). This DVD is distributed by Woodbine House as a part of their Special Needs collection. www.woodbinehouse.com  Another related website is the BIA Behavioral Intervention  Association at www.bia4autism.org

by on Apr. 14, 2007 at 12:17 AM
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