My son's case is much different from Tzoya's. This goes to prove the fact that all autistic children are very different although they may share the same characteristics.
He is 11, non verbal, and is still learning the alphabet, even though he is of normal intelligence. He just never showed any interest, plus our concentration was not on academics until recent years.
He now knows all the uppercase letters, has almost mastered the lower case, but has problems at times connecting the two (A is also a). He learns visually - flash cards, blocks with letters, keyboard, books, any medium where there would be a letter.
Of interest to you may be that the quickest way we found for him to learn was to have him trace the letters (first hand over hand, then by himself) AND also with raised letters so he could feel with his fingers (he has no problems with sight, but he really likes doing it this way and started to comprehend much faster when we discovered this.
I hope this helps and I can't wait to see other replies so hopefully I can get some more ideas.
BUT - I MUST ask, what is the picture in your avatar(I think that's what it is called). Is that a moose with a hat?? It's making me crazy, I can't figure it out!.
Thanks heaps! That's exactly the area of learning I am focusing on.
Interesting you say tracing - I just made a small interactive piece of design based on tracing.
2 pieces of paper with letters on them in the form of a word find. Both in the exact same layout, one of the pieces has been printed on see through paper, and ive cut squares out around the letters (on the see thru piece) allowing the child to move the cut outs over the letters underneath and place it on the correct letter.
Ah yes my Avatar, i chose it when i signed up. Apparently its a Monkey Skull.
I understand that the learning procedures can differ highly in all children.
I totally agree with you on the I.Q. theory as well, the generalisations.
Um, so, given the situation that some children may find learning the alphabet less strenuous, an alphabet learning (or) letter recognition tool might not be helpful? Especially in the case of 'hyperlexia'. But for the ones that struggle more. Could it increase their motivation to interact with letters and perhaps words in the early stages of learning.
Would any piece of created learning tool, designed on facts and current methods and constructed in a professional way - be considered beneficial? Can a piece of design like this, have a negative effect? In my opinion it would only lead to autistic betterment.
I plan on working with some Autistic Children and talking to teachers, taking data, analysing it and converting it into a graphic way. The content is looking at letter recognition, learning the letters - THEN could perhaps look at placing them in sentences.
Thanks for sharing about your son too.
Yes, all autistic kids are different. And one of the BIG differences can be traced to their cognitive ability. Of course, it's really impossible to know what anyone's intelligence REALLY is, so let me put it this way. Children with autism who also do poorly on standardized IQ tests generally have more difficulty with academic learning than kids whose IQ scores land in the 70+ range. I hate making even these generalizations, but if you are asking about "how kids with autism learn," then anything we say about "kids with autism" is going to be a generalization. Many kids with autism have hyperlexia, too, which I'm sure you know means they taught themselves to decode at a very young age with no intervention whatsoever. I see reading scores on kids with autism every day in my work. And many have excellent decoding, even if they were not hyperlexic, but the READING COMPREHENSION is horrible (at least compared to their decoding skills).
Learning to read WORDS is an entirely from learning the alphabet. Learning the letters is rote and a pattern and requires simple memorization skills. While this can be a challenge, it's rarely a challenge for children with ASD whose cognitive skills are basically intact or who don't have comorbid LD. What you are describing as your technique is about words? At least I think it is, since I'm not 100% picturing your technique. But visual matching is always a good thing to use. Very clever. The way to see if it works is to try it out on some kids who are having difficulty learning the letters and take data over time.
BTW, in the interest of full disclosure, my son is only moderate functioning with a borderline IQ. At age 17, he reads only on about the 3rd grade level, but learning the alphabet was not a problem, although he was never hyperlexic. In K, 1, and 2, they used Edmark as a reading program with him (a sight word program) and he progressed rapidly, but he, himself, figured out the letter-sound connection (since Edmark doesn't teach it) and started sounding out words. This has been my experience with my far-from-extrabright son. His dx is PDD-NOS (plus hearing impairment, ADHD and Tourette's).
I wanted to share with you how I think my dd learned the alphabet. First, let me explain that she has severe expressive and receptive language delays (she is in the 1st percentile for her age), she can label many objects but has only a handful of words she can use functionally. That being said, she knows her alphabet. She can say her entire alphabet clearly and she can recognize all of her letters.
For Christmas Santa brought her a leapfrog refrigerator magnet alphabet tool. It is a small box where dd can insert individual letter magnets in. Once she inserts the letter in the box it will sing "A - A says "aaaa" and A says "ahh", Every letter makes a sound and A says "aaa"" (I hope thats understandable, in other words once you put the letter inside the box it tells you the letter and the sounds the letter says.) My dd plays with this many times a day. I didn't think much of it until I was reading her a book. I asked her what color the stop sign was and she said S-T-O-P. When I knew she was recognizing her letters I really encouraged her. I got her the foam letters for the tub and now she will pick one up and say the letter and its sound, she will even arrange them in alphabetical order.
So, without an education background - I can't tell you how she learned it, but she did and I am amazed.Most kids with autism have such excellent visual memory and they are so interested in things that don't change, that learning the alphabet falls right into their mode of learning. It doesn't present a problem. The letter-sound connection might be more challenging, but it wasn't for my son and he is partially deaf, so he had to be taught what some of the sounds SOUND like. I also know that Sesame Street, which is SO visual and uses many interesting ways to make repetition non-boring, was a huge influence on my son's early learning. He knew the alphabet long before he had functional language. I am not a teacher -- I'm a mom -- so I hope this information gives you some hints.Thanks a lot for that!
I want to say here what I've said in many posts on this:
WHEN YOU'VE SEEN ONE KID WITH AUTISM, YOU'VE SEEN ONE KID WITH AUTISM.
I applaud your effort to come up with a program that uses atypical modes to teach. Schools are now VERY pressured to use research-based techniques to address deficits, particularly reading deficits. So if you keep excellent records of your successes with your technique -- enough so that maybe you can eventually get peer-reviewed research done on it -- you'll have a very valuable commercial program on your hands. Good luck.
some of the activities that I have used for letter identification have been very tactile...I would use sand paper letters and trace the letter with a piece of paper over the sand paper using a crayon...this leaves an nice raised letter...also I have used whip cream( or sugar) and would have the child trace the letter as we said the letter...in the warmer weather we would go outside and paint ( brushes and water) various letters on the drive...using a chalk outline of the letter is also helpful. It is important to say the letter as the child writes or traces the letter.we started to teach kane with an alphabet puzzle (he loves puzzles) then moved to flash cards we wouldnt give him the puzzle pieces untill he made a sound or something that resembled the letter started him with lower case and then moved to the capitals we found it has helped kane with his speech too!I do!!!
I just wanted to add that you may want to take a peek at Starfall.com
Although my son with autism knew his ABC's by the time he was 15 months....my NT son learned his letter from this webpage. It has also helped him point and say words. It also allows the parent to interact. Music...and of course the interesting graphics kept his attention....and made him enjoy the learning.
Ok so it is a ABA based sequence.
start with a field of two when begining to teach the child. Sit them down and at the table, tell the child to " look at letters" make sure they are scanning it. just go down the whole alpabet. make a huge poster board and write all the letter on it, so that as they master each letter you can cross it off. Ok so tell the child "look at letter" and scan then with your finger. then say "find A " and imediatly bring the child to the A. Very important to hang over hand bring the child to A, unitl they visually learn the letter A, always start with lower case, because as children this is what we learn first, and then move to upper case! When you do this about 5 times while having mastered distractors inbetween asking, then say " find A, and the child should get the letter. Try is in a field of two, and then after a while as they learn and get the hang of it, you can move it to a field of three. Let me know if you have questions. always announce what the letter is, even if the child gets it right. "find A" bring it to her, yes good job "A" so that she really learns the letters by hearing and seeing the letters, that is how you will move into the sounds of a!! Hope it helps!
Ok so it is an
Start with a field of two when beginning to teach the child. Sit them down and at the table, tell the child to "look at letters" make sure they are scanning it. Just go down the whole alphabet. Make a huge poster board and write all the letter on it, so that as they master each letter you can cross it off. Ok so tell the child "look at letter" and scan then with your finger. then say "find A " and immediately bring the child to the A. Very important to hang over hand bring the child to A, until they visually learn the letter A, always start with lower case, because as children this is what we learn first, and then move to upper case! When you do this about 5 times while having mastered distracters in-between asking, then say "find a and the child should get the letter. Try is in a field of two, and then after a while as they learn and get the hang of it, you can move it to a field of three. Let me know if you have questions. Always announce what the letter is, even if the child gets it right. "find A" bring it to her, yes good job "A" so that she really learns the letters by hearing and seeing the letters, that is how you will move into the sounds of a!! Hope it helps!
sorry the first post of mine was not spell checked. I type so fast that I always miss spell words!! sorry!