Innovations in Autism

In my consulting work with schools I  enjoy working with teachers and children on the spectrum to develop literacy skills.  I have seen children on the spectrum who seemed to use learning to read as an aid to learning their oral language.  One child that I recall, we’ll call her Patty, would tantrum every day when she was brought into the preschool classroom.  As the preschool was located in a central place within the school, this became disturbing to teachers and staff who observe her behavior.  But, of course, more important was figuring out how she could make the transition into school, without a meltdown.  Making it more difficult was the fact that Patty didn’t yet use words to speak.  She seemed to understand many things, but did not use her voice.  Fortunately, her teacher was a dynamo!  After much thought and work, she developed a book which included actual pictures and simple sentences to go with each picture, that showed each step of the transition into the pre-school classroom routine.  Before Patty stepped foot into the classroom, she sat initially with her teacher and mother as the book was read to her.  Patty seemed intrigued by the book and within a day or two was transitioning into the classroom without any issue; she would simply start each day sitting “reading” her book with an adult. Even more astonishing was that within a week or two, Patty began to talk!

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