My son has always wanted to buy really elaborate Halloween costumes, but our experience has usually been that he doesn't like how they feel after wearing them for just a few minutes. The last couple of years, we've really been keeping it more simple with our costumes. This year, he has a Batman sweatshirt with a hoodie that has the Batman ears on top. We got him a few accessories, like the utility belt and grappling hook, and that's it. He's actually really happy with the costume. One of my favorite simple costumes we did a few years back was just a Cat-in-the Hat t-shirt and the red and white hat. Easy and it was really cute. I'm linking to some similar costume ideas from Amazon.com below (affiliate links). You can also search Amazon for "costume t-shirts for kids."
I recently started following ADDitude Magazine on Facebook, and am really impressed with the positive attitude and helpful strategies I see in their articles and posts. Their website has a ton of information, articles, problem-solvers, and other resources on topics including parenting, schools, adult ADHD, treatments/medications, and more.
Their website also had tons of free downloads. You do have to enter your e-mail address to access the downloads. I found that the downloads were really valuable and could help parents and teachers feel empowered when working with kids with ADHD, Asperger's, or learning disabilities.
Examples of the downloads you'll find on their website are:
You can access all of the free downloads at this link.
To let you know, I do not receive any compensation from ADDitude Magazine for linking to them. I just was really impressed with what they do and wanted to share. ADDitude Magazine is not affiliated with Positively Autism, and they do not endorse Positively Autism. Any opinions expressed in this post are those of Positively Autism and do not necessarily reflect those of ADDitude Magazine.
Here's a great blog post from "The Autism Helper" on how drawing and copying pictures and help boost your students' skills. What's really great about this activity is that it can be easily customized to your students' interests. We know that students with autism often learn better when we use their interests in teaching. So, when you use the activity linked in the blog post, I would encourage you to draw pictures of what your students love: trains, dinosaurs, cars, butterflies, vacuum cleaners, cartoon characters, whatever.
Here's the link to the activity: http://theautismhelper.com/how-drawing-pictures-helps-build-cognitive-skills/
Please note that "The Autism Helper" is not affiliated with Positively Autism, and they do not endorse Positively Autism. All opinions expressed in this post are those of Positively Autism and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Autism Helper.
You might also be interested in this related resource:
Kids with Autism Learn Differently
Children with autism often have difficulty learning in traditional ways because their brains just don’t process information in the same way that other children’s do. They are wired differently.
For example, many autistic children are visual thinkers—they think in pictures instead of words. Other autistic kids learn better through sound, and still others learn best with touch. Many have problems getting sequences to stick in their memory banks, like long strings of words, numbers, or multi-step instructions. And differentiating between certain sounds can be difficult for the child with autism, which makes learning to read especially difficult.
If this description sounds like your child, I have good news. When you use simple, step-by-step, multisensory techniques that actively engage children in the learning process, teaching your child to read and spell does not have to be a daunting task.
Tips for Teaching Children with Autism
Here are six teaching tips to help you teach reading and spelling to your child.
1. Use Direct Instruction
With direct instruction, lessons are carefully sequenced and explicit. The student is told exactly what he needs to know. Each reading and spelling lesson should include three simple steps:
2. Lessons Should Be Incremental
Break every skill down into its most basic steps and then teach the lessons in a logical order, carrying your child from one concept or skill to the next. Each step should build on steps your child has already mastered, ensuring that there are no gaps.
3. Teach One New Concept at a Time
When teaching children their letters, start with the phonograms and teach them the ones that are easiest to learn and that they can put to immediate use, like M, S, P, and A. Teaching one concept at a time respects the child’s funnel and helps learning stick. It also helps ensure that your lessons will be short.
4. Use Multisensory Techniques
Since children with autism do not all learn in the same way, it is important to teach every lesson using sight, sound, and touch. Visual learners like to see what they are learning. Auditory learners prefer to hear oral instructions and then discuss what they have learned to solidify the material. Hands-on learners absorb knowledge best when they can touch and manipulate objects.
A magnetic white board with moveable letters works wonders for both kinesthetic and visual learners. Having the children say the word or letter out loud is important for auditory learners. Actively forming the letters in sand or rice, or tracing the shape of the letter on a textured surface like sandpaper or velvet, is another effective technique for some children. And allowing your child to choose his own favorite textured surface makes the activity that much more engaging.
Since many autistic children also have difficulty with fine motor control and need easy, simple, and repeated activities to help them develop this skill, these types of kinesthetic exercises will help in this area, too.
5. Provide Concrete Examples
Children with autism often have difficulty processing abstract ideas. Color-coded letter tiles provide concrete examples of reading and spelling concepts.
Also, many autistic children cannot process excessive verbal input. Demonstrating blending and segmenting using letter tiles allows the child to understand the process without being overwhelmed with long verbal explanations.
6. Reward Your Child’s Progress
It is important to make the lessons mastery-based and to include a visual way for your child to mark her progress, such as a chart where she can paste stars for each lesson learned.
And don’t forget to use words of encouragement every step of the way. Simple encouragement like “Good job!” or “You did great!” or “Excellent!” goes a long way toward building confidence and self-esteem in children, motivating them to keep learning.
Marie Rippel is the author of the award-winning All About Spelling and All About Reading programs. Sign up for her newsletter for more helpful articles on teaching reading and spelling (http://info.allaboutlearningpress.com/newsletter).
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