Teaching Tools... FOR PARENTS

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Providing teaching tools for children with autism is where I hope to spend more time.   I'll be adding new tools to this section as they are completed.  Some of these may take a while to open, but I think you'll find they are well worth the wait.   

Simply SAVE them to your hard drive and THEN open them... they are huge... so... SAVE first... you won't want to run these off the Internet!   These are files that children can view/listen to over and over again to help them learn key concepts.. :o)

Links to some tools are provided below but I encourage all parents to read this entire section first in order to understand the reasoning behind the way I do the things that I do...

My Theory In Making These Tools - Please take the time to read this

NOTE:   The author reserves all rights pertaining to the distribution of these materials.   No one has the right to copy, sell, or modify these materials, in part or in whole.   I provide these to help children, however, these are still copyrighted materials and persons who want to use these in a professional way (therapists, educators, etc.) are required to purchase these materials (please contact me  if you are interested in purchasing these materials for professional use).   ONLY parents of children with autism, Down Syndrome or schizophrenia have my permission to use these materials for their children at home - FOR FREE.

Tool

Comment

TO ACCESS TOOLS, Click on the red link in this column for a given subject or on link in the comments column. You may find you need only certain sections of my materials based on what your child knows, but I tried to provide pretty well everything I could think of in terms of "concepts".  The nice thing about that is that in working with Zachary, I can skip over what he already knows and move on to areas of weakness and focus on those materials.
Binder/Plastic Sheets Just a general comment - I use binders and plastic sheet covers for most of my tools.   That way, I can pull out whatever "sheet" I want to cover with Zachary that day.   It helps keep my tools clean, reusable and in order.  :o)
Teaching Letters, Phonics and Sign

 

This link provides an overview of "where a child should be" as far as language development based on that child's age.   I provide this to help parents gauge this issue a little more.   It is often when you see "what it should be" that you realize just how behind your child may truly be... and hence, the reason for concern.     http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/language_development.shtml

The tools I personally provide below will hopefully help many of our children to "catch up".

ABCs, Sounds and Signs   (Phonics By Sign).   This is a Powerpoint slideshow with 246 slides... it is fully narrated...the presentation runs "automatically" for easy viewing by the child.    If you have Microsoft Office 2002 or later, you should have the correct version of Powerpoint on your computer.

This provides each letter (big and small), the sound for each letter and the sign language for each letter... this also cover vowels, consonants, blends (i.e., pl, sm, etc.) and diagraphs (ght, etc.), special sounds (oo, sh, ch, etc.), silent letters, and word formation. 

This presentation takes advantage of "co-located functions" within the temporal lobe -  that part of the brain responsible for the understanding of language.  

Note that within the temporal lobe are also found auditory processing and face, place and body part recognition (the ONLY visual functions in the temporal lobe - perhaps explaining why so many children with autism are non-verbal - in my opinion, that may greatly explain why so many "picture systems" don't seem to help so many of these children - and why some appear to respond to sign language).  

Note that some who are on the autism spectrum also suffer from "Face Blindness" (inability to recognize or see faces - they may appear "blurry) and as such, that may explain why sign language becomes one of the only viable options for these children and why things like "eye contact" are so difficult for these children.

Special Instructions:  You will want to save this to your hard drive rather than opening it online.   The file is large and can take a little while to download and so, you only want to have to do that once.   When you download, give the file the name  ABCs-Sounds-Signs and hit ok.  Users are required to use this specific name for copyright reasons.   That should then put this file in your "documents" folder in your C: drive.  When you open the file, hit the "read only" feature.   I put a password on it to prevent anyone from modifying it.   Once it opens, go to the menu at the top of your screen  where it says Slideshow and select "View Show".  That will start the slide show and run through the whole thing automatically.   You can also use your down arrow keys to move through the slides (a right mouse click allows you to pause, end, etc.).

I also call this one "Phonics By Sign" - remember - OPEN AS "READ ONLY" and save to your hard drive for quicker access next time!  :o)

ABCs-Sounds-Signs

Below are other resources tied to "ABCs", etc.

One comment here though... In teaching how to write letters, I would not teach them in the order they are found in the alphabet... here's why...

Take the letter "d" for example...  "Big D" is first a "stick down" and a circular motion to the right... but, "little d" is the exact opposite... the circular motion comes first - and it is to the left... and the stick is made last... complete opposites in how the same letter is made... I think that may contribute to a lot of confusion for some of these children...

Personally... if I had to teach how to make letters again... I would teach "similar letters first"...  (i.e.,  If I can make an "o", I can make a small a, a small d, a small g, a small q... all these letters make the motion of the circle first... in all these it is to the left and then the "stick part" comes last).   So that is how I personally would teach letter formation... teaching similar letters together - the simple fact is that the only place I find letters in the "alphabet order" is in the alphabet... so, if the child can already recognize the letters when they are presented in a random way, it really doesn't matter if the writing of letters is taught "in order" or not.  I would also start with lowercase letters only first (those are the ones children see the most of in real life) and then take the same type of approach to teaching letter writing for the capital letters once the lowercase letters were known.   You can then easily "match the two" together , in alphabetical order, in a final step.  :o)

Example: 

I would teach them in this sequence... to best take advantage of "like motions", etc.

Group 1:   c, o, a, d, g, q, e

Group 2:    b, p

Group 3:    i, l, t, j, k

Group 4:    r, n, m, h

Group 5:    v, w, x, y, z

Group 6 (special in that they don't really fit with others):    e, f, u, s

Then, look at how capital letters are made and consider making similar "motion groups" there too...  

Group 1:    B, D, P, R,

Group 2:    C, G, O, Q,

Group 3:    L, E, F, T, I, H, K

Group 4 :  A, V, M, W, X, Y, Z

Group 5 (special):   N, J, S, U

Other than that issue of "how to introduce the letters" for teaching letter formation, here's another good resource for parents - allows you to pick a letter and include a picture and download practice sheets, etc. (i.e., a is for apple)

http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/index.htm (this one is pretty good... lots of great tools that can be downloaded for free - this site links to a ton of other resource links providing teaching materials online).

                              

Teaching Shapes This is another Powerpoint slideshow presentation... If you have Microsoft Office 2002 or later, you should have the correct version of Powerpoint on your computer.  

There are 124 slides in this slideshow that is fully narrated.  Shapes covered include:  circle, oval, triangle, square, rectangle, rounded rectangle, trapezoid, parallelograms, diamond/rhombus, star, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon, cross, sector, heart, arc, half-circle, cube, pyramid, sphere, etc.

Special Instructions:  You will want to save this to your hard drive rather than opening it online.   The file is large and can take a little while to download and so, you only want to have to do that once.   When you download, give the file the name  Let's Learn About Shapes and hit ok.  Users are required to use this specific name for copyright reasons.   That should then put this file in your "documents" folder in your C: drive.  When you open the file, hit the "read only" feature.   I put a password on it to prevent anyone from modifying it.   Once it opens, go to the menu at the top of your screen  where it says Slideshow and select "View Show".  That will start the slide show and run through the whole thing automatically.   You can also use your down arrow keys to move through the slides (a right mouse click allows you to pause, end, etc.).

Note:  Computer monitors vary in how they display various colors... that may impact the colors you see somewhat... just something to keep in mind as you go through these materials.   I can only go based on how they appear on my monitor as I describe them... hopefully, they will match what you see fairly closely too.

Let's Learn About Shapes

This link provides a place to get "practice sheets" for some basic shapes...

http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/manuscript/shapes/index.htm

 

Breaking The Code To Colors!

Teaching Colors (color sheets only - showing different shades of a color)

(to view online click on title above)

(to open as PDF file - go to PDF link in this section)

I'm of the opinion that the autistic need to be taught concepts behind colors and perhaps one color at a time... including the various "shades" of that color before moving on to the next.  The issue I see here is that to tell a child with autism "this is red, blue, green, yellow, etc." and to LATER introduce new shades of "red, blue, green, yellow, etc." would be very confusing to a child with autism - a child whom I very much believe lives based on "references"... and as such, one really does not want "moving targets" for references - at least not until the CONCEPT of how colors are made and how they can vary in shades is introduced to do away with the confusion of "moving targets/references".   This section provides color "sheets" to help parents who want to try this.

I provide a few things here... the first is a new tool I completed in Jan. 2005 (part of my teaching tools inventory for children with autism).  This new tool covers CONCEPTS behind colors and then introduces the idea of "hues" and "shades" in order to make the child understand that there are many shades of red, and blue and green and yellow, etc.   I think, too often, we forget to include this critical fact for young children, thinking they will just "figure it out"... but, for children with autism, in my opinion, this omission leads to a great deal of confusion.    

Let's Learn About Colors is a 79 slide Powerpoint presentation that is fully narrated and automatically takes the child through concepts, color hues, shades, etc...

Special Instructions:  You will want to save this to your hard drive rather than opening it online.   The file is large and can take a little while to download and so, you only want to have to do that once.   When you download, give the file the name  Let's Learn About Colors and hit ok.  Users are required to use this specific name for copyright reasons.   That should then put this file in your "documents" folder in your C: drive.  When you open the file, hit the "read only" feature.   I put a password on it to prevent anyone from modifying it.   Once it opens, go to the menu at the top of your screen  where it says Slideshow and select "View Show".  That will start the slide show and run through the whole thing automatically.   You can also use your down arrow keys to move through the slides (a right mouse click allows you to pause, end, etc.).

Note:  Computer monitors vary in how they display various colors... that may impact the colors you see somewhat... just something to keep in mind as you go through these materials.   I can only go based on how they appear on my monitor as I describe them... hopefully, they will match what you see fairly closely too.

Let's Learn About Colors

Open File As PDF File To My Computer For Quick Downloading (color sheets showing shades only)

 

Breaking The Code To Time!

Teaching Time

(to view online click on title above)

(to open as PDF file - go to PDF link in this section)

2 Tools are provided here:  1) The revised tool - the Powerpoint slideshow and 2) The old tool (pdf file format - I left that one on my site for those who don't have Powerpoint).

1)  This is another Powerpoint slideshow presentation... If you have Microsoft Office 2002 or later, you should have the correct version of Powerpoint on your computer.  

There are 160+ slides in this slideshow that is fully narrated.  Topics covered include seconds, minutes, hours, quarter after, quarter to, 1/2 past, time equivalents (i.e., 3:45 = 45 after 3:00 = 15 to 4:00 = 1/4 to 4:00), numerous examples as are different practice clocks (hours, minutes after, "to minutes").   Children are also provided with an example that shows the minute hand going all the way from 3:00 to 4:00 o'clock and showing how both arrows change over that time frame, etc.   Concepts of "start of a new day" and "end of the current day", am vs pm hours, afternoon hours, evening hours, etc. are also provided.   These are probably the most in depth materials you will ever find on teaching time and certainly materials that allow the parent to pick "which section" to cover based on the child's needs.  :o)  Parents are encouraged to go through the slides and determine how they best want to teach their children by looking through the various sections and then deciding how to best teach their child.   All concepts are covered, it is up to you to decide the order in which you want to introduce them.   I provide the order I gave my son in these materials... but again... this tool certainly provides the flexibility to teaching concepts in the order parents feel is best for their child.

Special Instructions:  You will want to save this to your hard drive rather than opening it online.   The file is large and can take a little while to download and so, you only want to have to do that once.   When you download, give the file the name  Let's Learn About Time and hit ok.  Users are required to use this specific name for copyright reasons.   That should then put this file in your "documents" folder in your C: drive.  When you open the file, hit the "read only" feature.   I put a password on it to prevent anyone from modifying it.   Once it opens, go to the menu at the top of your screen  where it says Slideshow and select "View Show".  That will start the slide show and run through the whole thing automatically.   You can also use your down arrow keys to move through the slides (a right mouse click allows you to pause, end, etc.).

Let's Learn About Time

2) In this tool (link in left column is the "old version" - the old tool is still quite good for those who are looking for pretty in depth materials to teach the concept of time and don't have access to Powerpoint 2002 or better - or you can download the pdf from the link below).  

Open File As PDF File To My Computer For Quick Downloading         (old tool)

Copy of Clock Poster (old tool)

I provide 160+ slides  to teach all the concepts of time and provide numerous examples.   This was the tool I used to teach my son time (and later revised it as above).   Zachary easily learned time from these materials.     With Zachary, I found that starting with the FINAL clock was the best clock to show him first because it had "the basic concepts" all there (see large red clock that takes up an entire page in the old tool - toward the end of the pages).

Both tools allow plenty of flexibility for parents to "pick and choose which concepts to work on" for a given day.     

Other helpful hints when teaching time: 

When I first taught Zachary time, I could use information in the last 20 pages (old tool and also last part in new tool) to show him specific examples (i.e., 3:00, 3:05.... all the way to 4:00).   I worked with him on that first and then went back to solidify more difficult concepts.  

I also used the microwave to show him how long it takes for the "minute" counter to change to the next number... I waited with him watching it for a few minutes... always saying something like:  12:05 plus 1 minute = 12:06... and then I'd wait for that minute to go by... and the next one too in order to give him an idea of "how long" a minute is.   I also made him count to 10 and told him that was equal to about 10 seconds.   These simple things helped to solidify the concept of "time".   As the hours went by during the day, I'd ask him "what time is it?" as often as I could when I noticed it was "another hour" gone by.

Zachary is now able to read a clock just fine.   It took me longer to make the materials than it did for him to learn them.  :o)  

In these materials, I provide several "concept cards", as well as "examples" of each key time, and finally, "questions" on time and "practice clocks" for each concept.   These tools (pdf files and the revised Powerpoint slideshow) certainly provide for all necessary concepts and in my opinion, and are much more complete than anything you'll find in a store.  With Zachary, I find some things I can just "zoom through" and with others, I have to go slower, but having all the concepts there makes it easier to go back as needed.

I found that in teaching time, the best thing was actually to make sure he knew how to count by 5 all the way around the clock.  Then, when he said the "hour" and stumbled on the "minutes"... all I had to do was provide a "count by 5" reminder and Zachary could easily find the answer and give me the correct time.  

The other thing I found useful was to make use of the concept of "count by 5 forward = AFTER" and "count by 5 backward = TO".   These simple tricks really helped him to nail down the concept of how to read time.

 

Teaching "The In Between" Situation There are many ways to teach "the in-between" situation to children with autism in order to show them that "references" include more than just the "extreme" scenarios of "this way" or "that way".   Using fractions as I describe in my second book under the "Exercises" section is a great place to start.   I also find that in reading, the best stories are those that teach "in between situations" too.  

A good example of that would be a book called The Fire Cat by Esther Averill (ISBN: 0-06-444038-9).   In this book, a cat becomes a firehouse cat.   Below is the part of the text on page 13 in this wonderful book:  

"Pickles, you are not a bad cat.   You are not a good cat."  

After Zachary read that, he paused.   I could see that Zachary was trying to figure out the answer... if not good or bad, what is he?   The book then went on to give the answer:

"You are good and bad.   And bad and good.  You are a mixed-up cat."

Zachary thought that was absolutely hilarious.    What is great here is that this simple children's story provides for the "in between" situation and shows that there is more than just one extreme or the other.

In my opinion, it is books and software like this that are needed for children with autism.   Books that teach "the in-between" in a fun way... books that make a statement, then provide the opposite... and then, provide the "in-between"... and in my opinion, the more "in-betweens" provided, the better!  :o)

There are many ways to show "in-betweens"... you can do it with play dough to show big, bigger, biggest... and go a little more in depths by showing for example, big, a little bigger,   a little bigger still, almost the biggest, the biggest.   You can really, in my opinion, do this with almost anything... spoons, twigs, rocks, etc. and then apply the concept to more abstract things like "emotions" and other aspects of life too where children have more difficulty.  Once the concrete is used to teach the concept, it is in my opinion, my easier to teach the same concept in more abstract situations.  :o)

 

Breaking The Code To Math!

(I'll be adding to this in sections as I get through them)

Teaching Basic Addition

In teaching Zachary, I always try to be conscious of the fact that he "lives by reference".   As such, I am of the opinion that he can not be taught basic addition the way one would normally teach addition.   Instead, references need to be provided.   There are also issues with short term memory that I've noticed.   Click on the link for this section for more on that as well as for what I do to teach basic addition.

Note:   I did begin to teach Zachary basic addition and subtraction using my fingers... and that worked well for him.   What I'm talking about here is really getting to the "next step"... past the "finger counting"... to teaching that there can be more than one way to get a single answer.   I never want to give Zachary the impression that there is only ONE answer to a question.   Yes, at times there is just one answer, but, generally, there is more than one way to get to the same answer.

For example,  if I teach that 0+1 = 1.   That is true but, there is still more than one way to get to the answer 1 (although it is something that will come further down the road, and that would involve "minuses"... for example,  -1+2=1).   Thus, in teaching Zachary, I always try to "think ahead" and that means that I don't want to teach him that there is only "one answer"... because in life, in almost everything, there is always more than one answer.   Given I am of the opinion that these children live by reference, I always want to make sure that the "concept for the formation of that reference" allows for "flexibility" in arriving at an answer.  :o)  The idea is to at least have Zachary be able to do all basic addition to the number 18... at the minimum from 0+0 = 0 to 9+9 = 18 and showing that you can have "different ways" to get to that ONE answer too.  My goal is to at least get him to understand that you can get to the same answer different ways, and to have him MASTER 0+0=0 to 9+9 = 18 in order to then move on to "carry the one" type math.    Of course, before I do "carry the one", I'll be tackling subtraction... but, that will work much in the way I do basic addition - teaching the "basics" and the fact that you can get the same answer many ways.  Once Zachary understands how "addition" and "subtraction" fit together (i.e., 6+6 = 12, 12-6 = 6 because 6+6 = 12, etc.) I'll then move on to "carry the one".   

In working with Zachary, I also show him how to "count by 10s, 5s, 2s" etc.   When I count by 2s, I make sure I do both even and odd numbers all the way to 100 or so.   I'm just doing these verbally for now, but, he is quick at picking up the pattern.  Just another aspect of basic addition that I'm starting to teach him because it plays a role in so many other things.

I do the same thing with subtraction... I peg the answer, not a variable within the equation.    So, I may pick the number 20 and show Zachary the many ways to "come up with 20" using subtraction (i.e. 50-30 = 20, 49-29=20, all the way down).

The beauty of this approach was that it provided "many answers" or "many ways to get the same thing" and it was flexible enough to allow for future "expansion" in mathematics (i.e., getting into the adding of negatives also, such as -10+11 = 1).   That could easily be done by simply "expanding the charts" at either end.

 

Teaching Multiplication As I completed my 4th book - on language - a friend of mine had loaned me a video she felt Zachary would absolutely love... it was for teaching multiplication.   Zachary had just turned 6 at the time... and although I did not think he was ready for multiplication yet, I figured I'd at least "expose him to it" via this video.

Well... to my surprise, after watching it a few time, Zachary started going around the house reciting his multiplications.   I couldn't believe it.   After watching this video about 15 times, he knew all his multiplication tables, from 0 through 12!   I had done nothing to teach him this stuff other than explaining what "times" means.   For that, I simply gave him an example and said for example that 3x3 = 3+3+3 = 3 times 3.   These videos make use of songs, colors and motions... all things I knew were absolutely key for Zachary... and they teach the "concept"... something too many materials today fail to do!  

This wonderful video that taught Zachary all his multiplication tables at age 6 was entitled:   School House Rock Multiplication.   For those interested in this video... and this company has other good ones such as Grammar Rock and Math Rock... 2 others I recently purchased... here's the link:

http://www.school-house-rock.com/multiplicationrock.html

I guess the lesson in all this is that you can not underestimate your child... and, if they are going to watch videos or television, they may as well watch something educational that will actually teach them something!

 

Breaking The Code To Money!

Teaching Money

(to view online click on title above)

(to open as PDF file - go to PDF link in this section)

 

I provide the poster I came up with in sections in the hope that parents can simply print the sections and cut/paste them together.   Also, there are numerous flash cards to teach both concepts and provide practice too! 

With money, although the poster I made provided the basic $1.00 equivalents (i.e., 4 quarters = 1.00, or 10 dimes = 1.00, or 20 nickels = 1.00, or 100 pennies = 1.00), there is a reason I do not provide that in the cards.   The reason is because if you just give "those equivalents" as the basic ones, a child with autism, in my opinion, would grasp those as the "critical reference" points and as such, may have a hard time understanding that there are many more ways to make $1.00 using a mixture of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.   In my opinion, I think it is better to provide the concept of the "mixture" and give/emphasize the basic "references" after!    You always want to provide for the "in between" situation... and in the case of money, that means "mixing up" the coins rather than just working with one type because the "one type of coin" only provides for that "all or none" children with autism so often get fixated on!  :o)

This Is ONLY For Those Allowed To Use My Materials Based on Terms Of Use Conditions!   

Open File As PDF File To My Computer For Quick Downloading

Copy of Money Poster

 

   
GOOD RESOURCES  ON THE WEB

Internet Picture Dictionary...

Great resources to start providing basic labels for many, many things...

http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/index.htm (this one is really good... lots of great tools that can be downloaded for free - this site links to a ton of other resource links providing teaching materials online)

http://pdictionary.com/cgi-bin/browse.cgi?lang=&letter=a

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/DictionaryA.html

Picture systems can get rather expensive ... in our family, we found that "I Spy" books were much better... they provided a TON of pictures in just one book... and Zachary loved having all these different things to look at.   The mistake I think parents make is that they think they need to "show pictures" of all these objects out there... but the fact is... it is the lesson that everything has a name or label that is critical... once a child gets that... in my opinion, there is no need for all these "picture cards"... there are much more cost effective things to use.   We never really used picture cards... I just pointed to things in our house and labeled them for Zachary.  Read a whole lot more on all these issues in my 4 books... posted in full on this website!  :o)

   

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Copyright 2002-2008 All materials I provide on this site including several key words and phrases are copyrighted materials.  All rights reserved.  Please see Use of Materials for more on this issue.  For general comments/questions, contact me at jbrohart@hotmail.com 

Things have a tendency to disappear on the Internet, but I can often find where the information has been moved or find replacement links addressing the same issue.  There is a lot of information provided on this site and any assistance with broken links is most appreciated.   My site has now been hacked twice.   If you get bounced to sites for online drugs, etc., report this to me at once using the above email as this is a result of hacking on my site.  This had nothing to do with me and/or my site.  Read more on hacking issue.

DISCLAIMER - The statements here mentioned and/or found in my materials have not been evaluated by the FDA or any other government agency or person in the medical field or in behavior therapy and are not meant to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any illness/disorder and/or behavior.  This information is not intended as medical advice or to replace the care of a qualified healthcare physician or behavior therapist.  Always consult your medical doctor or behavior therapist.  All information provided by Jeanne A. Brohart on her website is for INFORMATION PURPOSES and to GENERATE DISCUSSION ONLY and should not be taken as medical advice or any other type of "advice".  Information put forth represents the EXTENSIVE RESEARCH and OPINIONS of a mother based on her experiences and research and provides information as it relates to one family's journey with autism in hopes that other families may benefit from this experience and/or research.  The creator of this site is not responsible for content on other sites.

DISCLAIMER - PART II - Now... for those of you who think "mother at home researching" means "uneducated person with unfounded information"... I have 10 years of university... 3 degrees... and over 30,000 hours of research into these areas.   For anyone who thinks my research is "unfounded"...  read the RESEARCH FILE posted on my home page... with its over 1,000 references ... for your reading pleasure... because... quite clearly... you haven't read it yet!    

Autismhelpforyou.com   Breaking The Code - Putting Pieces In Place!