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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

About Autism

Autism Magazines and Journals

Magazines

The following are some of the leading magazines geared towards families, therapists, educators and researchers interested in staying on top of the news and scientific developments in the field of autism.

Updated on 2/8/17 5:53 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 2/8/17 5:53 PM

About Autism

Autism & Emotions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Global Autism Awareness

教自闭症儿童进行情感表达 (Teaching Kids with Autism about Emotions)

This article was originally written in English and has been translated into Chinese.

 

家长和教育工作者往往需要费很大的力气教自闭症儿童表达他们的情感。当自闭症儿童不能够辨别和表达他们的情感时,他们可能会有一些不恰当的行为。例如,发脾气、产生敌对情绪,甚至是避世。如果自闭症孩子们能够表达他们的情感,他们的挫败感会得到减少,我们也能够帮助他们减少他们的不满。

Updated on 12/7/16 11:24 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 12/7/16 11:24 PM

Que es Autismo?

Las Primeras Habilidades de Lenguaje y Creciendo Vocabulario

El desarrollo del lenguaje es diferente para cada niño, y hay muchas diferencias en el desarrollo “normal” de los niños pequeños. Si tiene preocupaciones específicas sobre la velocidad de aprendizaje de las primeras habilidades de lenguaje de su niño, debe hablar con su doctor.

Updated on 4/1/16 7:23 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/1/16 7:23 PM

Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Autism Technology

Using the Free Language Builder App and Language Builder Cards Together

Lesson Overview:

Students will use Language Builder cards with the Language Builder App to practice similar matching in both a digital and physical setting.

Updated on 10/2/15 1:11 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 10/2/15 1:11 AM

About Autism

Autism and Language

Autism Technology

NEW Language Builder Software

I am happy to report that Stages Learning Materials has finally taken the leap into the 21st century!

The Language Builder cards have become a staple in autism and speech therapy programs across the country, and even abroad. I regularly attend conferences where parents and therapists alike tell me that they use the cards every day at home or in their practice. The other thing I hear at every conference I attend ... "When will the Language Builder Cards be available in a software program I can use on the computer?" That day has finally come!

Updated on 8/30/14 7:45 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 8/30/14 7:45 PM

Language Builder App

Autism and Language

Autism Technology

New Features Added to the Language Builder App

On March 10th of this year, Stages Learning Materials released the Language Builder from Stages App, and we have had an amazing response! Hundreds of parents, therapists, and teachers are now using the Language Builder App to teach 6 early ABA activities to children with autism. But we are far from finished adding features to the app!

Updated on 5/21/14 11:19 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 5/21/14 11:19 AM

Teaching with Pictures

Autism and Language

Part 4 of 4: Labeling and Requesting

Additional Activities to Develop Sentence Skills

Labeling and Requesting are the most basic of all full sentence activities, and provide a basis for your student to understand that communication requires more than single word utterances. The following list of activities offers just a few examples of the many lessons you can use to help build full sentences and a more complete system of communication with your child.

Updated on 4/29/14 2:49 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/29/14 2:49 PM

About Autism

Autism and Language

Part 2 of 4: Building Vocabulary

Building Expressive Vocabulary

This is the step where your child learns to actually say the words out loud. All of the tasks we just described in the previous Autism and Language article come into play when building your child’s expressive vocabulary. Picture cards are a useful tool again, because it just isn’t feasible to bring every object directly to your child. We certainly want them to learn the words bus and airplane, but it’s difficult to get those items into your living room!

Updated on 4/29/14 1:32 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/29/14 1:32 PM

Early Childhood Education

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Choosing Meaningful Gifts for People on the Autism Spectrum

These days nearly everyone knows a friend or family member who is touched by autism. Perhaps it’s your own child or your sister’s child. Perhaps it’s the child of your neighbor, your dentist, your mail carrier, or hair dresser.

With the holidays fast approaching, you may be asking yourself: are there any gifts for people on the autism spectrum that are both meaningful and appropriate? 

Updated on 4/29/14 12:56 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/29/14 12:56 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Language Builder App

Prompting in ABA -- a little nudge goes a long way!

Wouldn't it be great if we all got the right answers on the first try? I don't know about you, but when try something for the first time, I often need a little help! Why should we expect anything different from our students when we teach them a new skill? 

Updated on 4/28/14 3:20 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/28/14 3:20 PM

About Autism

Autism and Language

Part 1 of 4: Encouraging Emerging Language and Receptive Vocabulary

Emerging Language and Building Vocabulary

Language development varies from child to child, and there are wide ranges of expected “normal” language development in young children. If you have specific concerns about the pace of your child’s language development, you should definitely discuss this with your health care professional. However, for reference sake, by the age of two a child is expected to be able to:

Updated on 4/18/14 2:14 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/18/14 2:14 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Autism and Language

Part 3 of 4: From Basic Vocabulary to Building Sentences

The most popular use of the Language Builder Picture Card Series is to build vocabulary. The realistic and current photos help students to learn the name of various nouns, occupations, and emotions. In the beginning, this task can be very repetitive and basic, focusing only on learning single-word responses. When a child with autism begins to gain expressive language skills, parents and educators are thrilled to watch how the child moves from basic vocabulary to building sentences.

Updated on 4/18/14 10:38 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/18/14 10:38 AM

Early Childhood Education

Puzzles: Playing or Learning?

Puzzles are classic toys that come in many forms: jigsaw puzzles, peg puzzles, framed board puzzles, block puzzles, and more! When a child starts to put together puzzles they are learning about shapes and space.

Updated on 4/17/14 1:37 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 1:37 PM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Importance of Categorization

Learning to categorize items is a basic task for young children. Close your eyes for a moment and picture a typical pre-school classroom: children are sorting little plastic bears, red bears in one tub, blue in another, and green in a third; another group of children arranges pictures into different piles of animals, vehicles, and foods; and still a third group is reading a book about animals that live in the sea vs. animals that can fly! We instinctively know it is important to sort things into categories… but do we know why?

Updated on 4/17/14 1:15 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 1:15 PM

About Autism

Autism & Emotions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Teaching Kids with Autism about Emotions

Parents and educators often struggle to help children with autism communicate their feelings. When children with autism have trouble recognizing and communicating how they feel, it may contribute to inappropriate behaviors such as tantruming and aggression, or even increased social withdrawal. If our kids could tell us how they feel, they would be less frustrated, and we would be better able to help solve their dissatisfaction.

Updated on 4/17/14 11:56 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 11:56 AM

About Autism

Inclusive Education

Integrating Your Child into the Mainstream Classroom

When you first begin your one-on-one intensive teaching program with a child with autism or developmental delay, the environment is very structured. Often one child will sit alone at a table with one teacher or therapist. The teacher and student are just a few feet away from each other, to minimize the outside distraction.

Updated on 4/17/14 11:47 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 11:47 AM

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Eating Healthy at an Early Age

Our first experiences with food have a large effect on our eating habits for the rest of our lives, so the best time to teach good dietary habits is during the early years. Think about some of your best and worst food habits... don't you wish you had started better habits at age 3, rather than trying to change those habits at age (fill in the blank!)?

Updated on 4/16/14 11:58 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/16/14 11:58 AM

About Autism

Community Helpers and Occupation Flash Cards for Autism

There are so many people our children need to interact with on a weekly basis – teachers, doctors, bus drivers, dentists, janitors, crossing guards, store clerks, mail carriers…. Meeting new people can be difficult for any child, but children with autism often have a particularly difficult time with people they don’t know, or who are not part of their typical routine.

Updated on 4/16/14 11:38 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/16/14 11:38 AM

About Autism

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Basic Matching Activities

Why Matching Activities for Children with Autism?

Note: These activities are excerpted from the Language Builder® ARIS Full Autism Curriculum developed by Stages Learning Materials.

What does matching teach a child? How can this be a step toward developing language? Matching skills are essential for language development for children with autism.

In ABA therapy matching skills typically follow a hierarchy from the easiest and most accessible matching activities using identical physical objects to the more complex and abstract notion of matching representations of objects, such as those found in specially designed picture cards. As the child advances in matching activities they are able to connect physical objects with cards that represent the objects: A big leap forward in the development of language skill learning! Research demonstrates that using a progression of matching activities using ABA therapy techniques provides children with scaffolding needed to develop language skills.

Stages Learning Materials has created Language Builder® Matching Kits specially designed to foster identical and similar matching activities using objects and cards. The Language Builder® series is used widely by researchers and ABA therapists.

 

The Hierarchy of Matching Activities   

  1. Start with identical objects (3D - 3D matching): Match apple with apple

Choose a 3D object to start with. Bowls and Cups, as offered in the Everyday Object Matching Kit are often a good first choice because they “nest,” which is a natural motivator for students to stack them together. Alternatively start with an object that is attractive or motivating to your particular student. If your student tends to engage in wheel-spinning stimulatory behavior, you may not want to start with wheeled vehicles.

  1. Sit in a chair or on the floor with the student
  2. Make sure you have the child’s attention
  3. Place 1 object in front of the student
  4. Hand your student the identical object and ask the student to match the objects
  5. Typical commands include “Match the Apples” “Put with Same” “Put Apple with Apple”
  6. Prompt if necessary
  7. Wait for the student to match the object correctly
  8. Reinforce the student

Once the student has mastered matching one object, you can then move through the list of identical objects to match. As the student becomes more competent matching identical objects in a field of one, you can then add more objects to the field so the student will have to scan the objects before matching.

 

  1. Next, match objects to pictures and pictures to objects (3D - 2D Matching): Match horse object with horse card.

Choose a 3D object to start with. The Language Builder® 3D - 2D Matching Kits, such as the Food or Animal kits, are perfect for this matching activity.  Start with an object that is attractive or motivating to your particular student. It is a good idea to choose an object with which your student has had significant success matching in the 3D - 3D matching activity.animal-matching-kit-1.jpg

  1. Sit in a chair or on the floor with the student
  2. Make sure you have the child’s attention
  3. Place 1 picture card in front of the student
  4. Hand your student the corresponding 3D object and ask the student to match the objects
  5. Typical commands include “Match the Apples” “Put with Same” “Put Apple with Apple”
  6. Prompt if necessary
  7. Wait for the student to match the object correctly
  8. Reinforce the student

Once the student has mastered matching one object to the corresponding photo card, you can then move through the list of identical objects to match. As the student becomes more competent matching object to card in a field of one, you can then add more objects to the field so the student will have to scan the objects before matching.  There are additional lessons designed for 3D - 2D matching at the end of this article.

 

  1. Next, advance to photo identical matching (2D - 2D): Match picture of car to picture of car.

Choose a card from the Language Builder® Picture Nouns set to start. Begin with a card that has an image that is attractive or motivating to your particular student. It is a good idea to choose an object with which your student has had significant success matching in the 3D - 3D, and 2D - 3D matching activities.

  1. Sit in a chair or on the floor with the student
  2. Make sure you have the child’s attention
  3. Place 1 picture card in front of the student
  4. Hand your student the corresponding picture card and ask the student to match the pictures
  5. Typical commands include “Match the Apples” “Put with Same” “Put Apple with Apple”
  6. Prompt if necessary
  7. Wait for the student to match the picture cards correctly
  8. Reinforce the student

Once the student has mastered matching one photo card to the corresponding photo card, you can then ask the student to match other identical pictures. As the student becomes more competent matching card to card in a field of one, you can then add more cards to the field so the student will have to scan the cards before matching.

 

  1. Finally, advance to photo similar matching: Match orange cat with white cat.

Choose a card from the Language Builder® Picture Nouns set to start. Begin with a card that has an image that is attractive or motivating to your particular student. It is a good idea to choose an object with which your student has had significant success with in previous matching activities. picture-nouns-lb-546971-edited.jpg

  1. Sit in a chair or on the floor with the student
  2. Make sure you have the child’s attention
  3. Place 1 picture card in front of the student
  4. Hand your student the corresponding similar but not identical picture card and ask the student to match the pictures
  5. Typical commands include “Match the Cats” “Put with Same” “Put Cat with Cat”
  6. Prompt if necessary
  7. Wait for the student to match the picture cards correctly
  8. Reinforce the student

 Once the student has mastered matching one photo card to the corresponding similar photo card, you can then ask the student to match other similar pictures. As the student becomes more competent matching card to card in a field of one, you can then add more cards to the field so the student will have to scan the cards before matching

 

Research on Matching: 3D - 2D is Essential

Basic matching is one of the first lessons taught in an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) program for children with autism. Teaching early language skills to children with autism often begins with having children match identical objects. Before a child can learn that the picture of an object actually represents a real item (picture-object correspondence), the child may need to start learning by matching actual physical objects. It is often necessary to start by matching 3D objects such as cups or toy cars and later transition to matching identical images on cards (Blumberg & Hurley, 2007).

Teaching daily living skills to children with autism often depends on using activity schedules and sequencing charts. These tools are effective only at the point at which children have mastered the prerequisite skills of matching a 2D image to a 3D object (Haas, 2011). Until a child has the capacity to understand that a 2D image such as a picture of a toothbrush represents an actual object, being able to prompt a child to engage in brushing their teeth cannot be accomplished using an activity schedule or card. Some children will eventually be able to move from seeing an actual toothbrush, to recognizing a card that has a photographic image of a toothbrush, to recognizing the word “toothbrush.” Other children with more severe language delays will only be able to respond to 3D prompts (Baynham, 2007).

 

The Research Connection Between Matching Activities and Language Development

3d2dmatching.jpgIn a study using different types of photographs, symbols, and objects to teach language skills to 40 non-verbal subjects with autism the real objects proved to be much more readily recognized than any of the other representations of objects (Mirenda & Locke, 1989).

Typically developing infants and children under the age of three also learn from viewing 3D objects and often cannot process a 2D picture of an object until a later age. Researchers testing 5-month-old infants found that these infants could not understand 2-D images, but when presented with the same content in 3D representations infants were able to understand the objects. The researchers found that by examining 3D objects children naturally learn about objects in their world and that being able to examine a 3D object provides additional sensory information rather than just viewing a 2D image on a card (Mash & Boornstein, 2012).

 

The following are resources that can help support basic matching activities to promote language development:

Lesson Plans:

Resources for Matching Activities

Stages also offers 10 Memory Card Games that teach matching skills

 

References to Research on Matching and Language Development

Baynham, Tanya Yvonne. (2007). Training a non-match response: Toward a technology for determining controlling stimulus dimensions for two children with autism. University of North Texas, Dissertation. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Blumberg, E.R. & Hurley, E. (2007). Enhancing Early Intervention for Parents of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Information, Strategies, & Resources. New Brunswick, NJ: The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities.

Haas, Stephanie Iwanciow. (2011). “Teaching daily living skills to young adults with autism: the creation of a curriculum guide for special education teachers.” California State University: M.A. Thesis. Available: http://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/caps_thes/426 

Mash, C., & Bornstein, M. H. (2012). 5-month-olds’ categorization of novel objects: Task and measure dependence. Infancy, 17, 179-197.

Mirenda, P., & Locke, P. (1989). A comparison of symbol transparency in nonspeaking persons with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 54, 131-140.

Updated on 4/15/14 3:37 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 3:37 PM

About Autism

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Back to School Success

red-apple-imageNew routine, new teachers, new classrooms…. New, new, new! This can be stressful for all children, but even more so for children with autism and other special needs. What can you do to minimize stress and maximize success in the new school year? Here are some ABC’s to ensure back to school success.

Updated on 4/15/14 3:17 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 3:17 PM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Autism and Language

Using Picture Cards to Aid Speech

A common challenge for children and adults with autism is their ability to communicate. Many a parent and therapist will tell you that Picture Cards are one of the best tools to aid in communication with individuals with autism, whether the individual is verbal or non verbal.

Updated on 4/15/14 2:40 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 2:40 PM

About Autism

Using Games to Promote Peer Interaction

We all know how difficult it can be to facilitate healthy interactions between children on the autism spectrum and their typically developing peers. The stereotypic “stimming” behaviors that are often present in children with autism, combined with a lack of appropriate social behaviors, tend to alienate other children and reduce the opportunities for peer interaction. Healthy social relationships are critical for early development, so it is extremely important to build some skills in children with autism that will help them relate to and interact with other children.

Updated on 4/15/14 2:29 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 2:29 PM

Global Autism Awareness

Lang-O-Learn Cards Labeled in 17 Different Languages

Stages Learning Materials produces 13 flash card sets that are labeled on the reverse in 17 common languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Polish, Filipino, Portuguese, Greek, Thai, Arabic).

Updated on 4/15/14 2:07 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 2:07 PM

Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

Not on Twitter? Reasons Why You Should Be

know, I know – you just conquered Facebook so why should you even consider joining yet ANOTHER social media network? Believe it or not, Twitter is more than just a status update community. It is a great way to network and have conversations about topics that interest you. I have laid out five reasons why I think you should join Twitter.

Updated on 4/15/14 11:17 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 11:17 AM

Autism Technology

Autism Technology

Over approximately the past 2 decades, with the rise in the prevalence of autism, an entire industry has grown up around treating and teaching children and adults with autism, as well as easing the challenges and improving the quality of day-to-day life for individuals on the autism spectrum. Within this growing market, the past 10 to 15 years has seen the adaptation of many new technologies to the particular needs of individuals with autism.

Updated on 4/15/14 10:51 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 10:51 AM

About Autism

What is Autism?

Rise in Autism Diagnosis

20 years ago most people had never heard the term autism, much less met anyone who had a child with autism. Today the Center for Disease Control estimates that rates of autism are as high as 1 in 88 children, and 1 in 54 boys (Center for Disease Control, 2008).  Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability, with a growth rate of approximately 1,148% (Cavagnaro, 2007). Recent news stories report that number as high as 1 in 68 children. So, what is autism? 

what-is-autism-infographic

Updated on 4/15/14 10:41 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 10:41 AM

Early Childhood Education

Autism and Language

Language Milestones

How many professionals have been asked: “How do I know if my child is behind in language development?” How many parents have asked the question, or at  l east  w ondered to themselves?

Language development varies from child to child, and there are wide ranges of expected “normal” language development in young children. If you are using Stages Learning Materials products with your own child, and you are concerned about language development, you should definitely discuss this with your health care professional. However, for reference sake, in general:

Updated on 4/14/14 5:05 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 5:05 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Why Real Photo Games in Early Childhood Education?

A growing trend in Early Childhood Education is the focus on using materials with real photo images rather than illustrations.

Teaching ideologies such as Montessori have long understood the importance of focusing on fact rather than fiction in the materials used for teaching young children. The closer the educational experiences are to real life, the easier it is for children to make the links and connections to their real world experiences, and to recognize and transfer the learning value when they later encounter the real thing in nature.

Updated on 4/14/14 5:00 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 5:00 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Classroom Bingo

Classroom Bingo is a fun teaching tool for use at home or in the classroom. With Stages’ Picture Recognition Bingo kids won’t even know that they’re learning as they listen intently to match the beautiful photographs on their player’s card with the corresponding words spoken by the instructor!

Updated on 4/14/14 4:54 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 4:54 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Why Real Photos? What about Cartoons?

Iconicity refers to the degree of resemblance between a picture and the object that it depicts. A cartoon image, for example, would have a low degree of iconicity, while a photograph would have a higher degree of iconicity.

Updated on 4/14/14 4:33 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 4:33 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Not Just Why... How? - Get them Engaged!

Just using realistic pictures to interact with and teach children is not enough. The key is in the specific ways that you use the pictures to build vocabulary, communication, literacy and critical thinking skills. The following chapters will introduce many techniques and teaching ideas across broad instructional categories, but one thing is clear: interaction is paramount. Active strategies that engage children and encourage them to participate in discussion about the picture are much better than just offering up passive descriptions.

Updated on 4/12/14 11:08 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/12/14 11:08 AM

Teaching with Pictures

Background on Teaching Children with Autism Language Using Pictures

When very young children first begin to learn language skills, they learn new words by hearing the spoken word tied to the actual object (Richards & Goldfarb, 1986). For example, if parents repeat the word car every time they take their child to the car, the child will quickly learn that the word car represents the real car.

Updated on 4/10/14 5:33 PM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/10/14 5:33 PM

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