Your child might also like these activities:
If your family loves robot-fighting shows like BattleBots, your kids might enjoy some of these activities. This free download includes various writing activities (from beginner to advanced) that give students the opportunity to write about video clips of robot battles. It also includes links to other robot-themed academic activities. Get the activities here: http://www.positivelyautism.com/downloads/RobotBattleActivities.pdf
Your child might also like these activities:
Going back to school after summer vacation may be challenging for some children, so I wanted to share some tips and resources for helping make that easier. Check out the resources and tip sheets for things you can start doing now to get your child ready.
Also, if you have a free resource to help parents or teachers with the beginning of school, please share it in the comments and I'll add it to the list! Thanks for sharing your links for the link party!
Social Narratives. A simple story in words and pictures can give your child information about the transition back to school. Parents can write a story for their children, or teachers can write a story about themselves and their classrooms and post it on their classroom website before school starts. A template for writing your own story about your classroom, as well as some links to pre-made stories are below:
Resources from Other Teachers (Link Party!)
Some of the activities I did are below. For some students, I would also make a comprehension quiz for each book that would be the last day's activity. Each day of the week, we would read the book and do one of these activities.
1. Pre-Teach Vocabulary
If there are words in a story or reading passage that you think your student doesn't know, make sure to teach them before reading. This worksheet is one example of how to do that. You can also use pictures, flashcards, objects, videos, etc.
2. Make Predictions About the Book
Before reading the book the first time, have students look at the book for clues about what will happen in the story. It may require some prompting (which is fine), but you can help the student use what they've observed from the cover to write a sentence of what they think the story will be about.
3. Watch a Video Clip
Many of these Star Wars books are about one specific scene in the movies. You can search YouTube for a video clip of that scene and watch it with the student before reading.
4. Make a Story Map
After reading the book, you can have the student fill-out this story map. There are different ways to do it. You can have photos of the characters and setting cut out for the student to glue in the boxes, or the student can write them. I also often write out three events from the story on strips of paper, and have the student put them in the order that they happened in the book for the "Beginning," "Middle," and "End" boxes. The student could also write out events from the book. You can use this page differently based on the child's current skills.
More Star Wars Book Sets
What's really cool about this activity is that my students enjoy it simply as a puzzle, but it's actually a visual representation of the binomial equation in algebra. I've heard from people who went to Montessori schools and did this activity in early childhood that it helped them visualize the binomial equation when they learned it much later in school.
Regardless of its benefits for math, the binomial cube is a great puzzle and problem-solving activity for even young children (starting at about 5 years old). I love that it makes my students think, and many of them actually enjoy it. I have one student who requests to do this activity during breaks!
To teach a child to use this activity, I demonstrate putting together the first layer (I build it directly on the lid of the box (on the right in the photo above). I then remove all the blocks, and have the student do the first layer (with any prompting needed) and then the second layer. Once the student knows how to do it, the binomial cube is a great activity for independent work.
Here's a video of how to put together the puzzle. The difference between this video and how I use the cube is that I have the students build the cube on the lid of the box. This allows the student to match the colors for the first layer directly, which provides more visual support for the activity.
Book Review: Autism Intervention Everyday: Embedding Activities in Daily Routines for Young Children and Their Families
I was particularly interested in reading this book, since the authors are a BCBA/occupational therapist and a BCBA/speech-language pathologist. I have training in ABA, but almost none in OT or SLP strategies, so I looked forward to learning about all of these perspectives together.
The book's introduction states that the book is written for early intervention providers who are working with young children [ages birth - 3 years] who have autism or characteristics of autism. I agree that this is a good book for professionals, particularly BCBAs, ECI providers/program managers, and university professors...any person in charge of program development for young children with autism. It doesn't seem quite as applicable to teachers or families, although there are some helpful strategies that they could use in the book (a link to an excerpt from the book is at the end of this post).
The book is research-based, and has helpful summaries of research in the chapters. To me, this makes the book a potentially good choice for university professors in graduate training programs for special education and related service providers. It's a good balance of research/theory and practical application.
What I particularly like about the book is the focus on embedding intervention activities into daily family routines. I believe this makes it much easier for families to work with their children, as we're putting learning opportunities into activities that they're already doing anyway. The book also has a section on family stress on page 13, which I think is so important for us as service providers to remember. I sometimes teach a college course for future/current special education teachers on working collaboratively with families. What I love about that class is that we try to understand what families are experiencing (as much as we can), and I think that makes us much better teachers and service providers. This section of the book gave some helpful information on this topic that I think is beneficial to consider when designing intervention procedures for families to use in their homes.
To review some example content from the book to see if it's right for you, you can download sample pages from the publisher here: http://archive.brookespublishing.com/documents/Crawford-building-skills-to-support-flexibility.pdf
"Take children out and teach them about the Earth...uncover that stone that's been sitting there for a while and watch all the little bugs...just get to know them. Plant a garden...work with the Earth."
- Dr. Steven Farmer
In honor of Earth Day this weekend, I wanted to write a blog post about outdoor activities for students with autism. I know that many teachers have made awesome activities for recycling and other environmental topics on TeachersPayTeachers. Please share them in the comments, and I'll add them to the list of activities at the end of this post.
I recently read an article called, "The Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Children with Autism." In this article, the authors interviewed special education teachers, volunteers, and parents of children with autism. Based on analyzing these interviews, the authors concluded that the parents, volunteers, and teachers believed spending time outdoors and doing outdoor activities had seven main benefits for the children with autism: improvements in communication, interaction, physical activity, emotion, cognition, and sensory sensitivity. The article is interesting, and you can read it by clicking here.
I haven't seen much research strictly on the benefits of being outside or in nature, as most studies I found focused on social skills during structured outdoor activities, such as the research listed below. These studies are great, but I'm interested in you have any tips for getting your child or students connected with nature via gardening, birdwatching, etc. Please feel free to share in the comments. I would like to write a future blog post with your tips, so any ideas you have are much appreciated. Thanks and Happy Earth Day!
Some Research on Structured Outdoor Activities:
Earth Day Activities (add a link to your activity - free or for sale - in the comments and I'll add it here!)
Holiday Theme Units: Earth Day
Search for "Earth Day Autism" on TeachersPayTeachers
A guest blog post by Kelly Robinson, creator of SchKIDules
Anxious children can also benefit from seeing what their day has in store in a method they can understand and trust. This not only helps them relax, but it also provides for much easier transitions. When a child can see what’s next they can anticipate the transition and visually comprehend that all activities have an end to them. Teachers frequently use visual schedule software in the classroom to help kids prepare for transitions, clearly share the schedule and keep everyone on the same page. They are a go-to tool and will often recommend parents continue this strategy at home for similar behavioral success.
SchKIDules (Schedules for KIDS) offers ready-made magnetic visual schedules for use at home BOTH school AND home. They have daily routines, typical daily activities, and activities geared towards therapies, behavioral prompts and sensory. The magnets can be popped right on to your fridge, a magnetic wall, a white board, or one of their own SchKIDules® displays. They even offer small strips so that you can set up short reminders around the house such as in the bathroom or in your child’s bedroom. SchKIDules Home Bundle recently received the 2017 Creative Child Product of the year award and is a top seller on Amazon. Their entire product line can be found at www.schkidules.com
A Note from Dr. Caldwell of Positively Autism
I first used SchKIDules when my son was about 3 years old to help plan and organize our day. I really liked how easy to use the system is...the fact that it was magnetic made it very simple and flexible. My son was even able to put the items on the schedule himself. Our kit came with magnets for almost every activity we could need. This is one of my favorite visual schedule systems, and I'm happy to share it with you.
For information on how I teach children with autism to use visual schedules, please check out this blog post: http://positivelyautism.weebly.com/blog/two-new-schedules-added-to-my-first-then-charts-on-tpt
Priming is a strategy that parents and teachers can use to help a student with autism prepare for upcoming activities. With priming, you're essentially "previewing" activities or information with a student before he or she participates in that activity. This helps make the activity more predictable and familiar to the student with autism.
As an example, before teaching one of my science tutoring clients about magnets, I allowed him some time to play with the magnets and show him some fun things they could do. Details of how I set-up this activity are at the end of this post.
Some considerations for priming include:
Examples of priming (for different ages and topics) include:
Here's an example of a priming activity I used before teaching one of my students about magnets.
The Koegel Autism Center is currently conducting a research study on a a 6-week online course in Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) to help parents improve their child's language and social skills. The study is for parents of children ages 12 to 48 months.
I haven't used PRT with children this young, but I love using PRT methods with my students. They're child-centered and use the child's interests as a teaching tool to increase motivation and teaching effectiveness.
To learn more about the study and see if you're eligible, please visit their website: https://education.ucsb.edu/autism/research/participate-research-studies
Please note that the Koegel Autism Center does not endorse, nor is it affiliated with Positively Autism.
I made some new schedules for some of my students, so I added them to my set of "First-Then" Charts. The set now includes 8 printable charts:
To use the charts, you'll put photos, pictures, or text representing activities for the student to complete. I like to attach the photos with Velcro and then have the student take them off the chart when the activity is finished. I also laminate the charts for durability. This also allows you to write on the charts with a dry erase marker if you're writing words on the schedule instead of using pictures.
If your student has never used a visual schedule before, start with the chart with two boxes. Choose a fast, easy activity for the first box and put a fun activity for the second box. This allows the student to get used to the idea of doing a work activity first and then getting to do a fun activity. Once you've practiced this a few times, you can do a longer activity before the "reward," and eventually add multiple activities before the reward.
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