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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

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About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Autism and Language

The Research Effectiveness of the Language Builder® Academic Readiness Intervention System (ARIS)

The Academic Readiness Intervention System (ARIS) is a new comprehensive early autism education curriculum based on the Language Builder Picture Cards created over twenty years ago by Stages Learning and widely used in classrooms and therapeutic settings.

Updated on 5/5/17 1:55 AM

Updated by John Richards, Ph.D., Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed., MLIS and Angela Nelson, J.D.; M.Ed. on 5/5/17 1:55 AM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

New Tools to Help Your Child Sleep

Research[i] confirms what many parents of children with autism already know: children with autism have a higher incidence of sleep challenges, and the more severe the autism symptoms the more severe the sleep challenges. Research,[ii] as well as common sense, also tells us that impaired sleep has a negative impact on physical, emotional, academic, and social functioning.

Updated on 11/18/15 12:09 AM

Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 11/18/15 12:09 AM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Health & Nutrition

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Teaching Stranger Safety to Kids with Autism

Teaching young children about safety around strangers is nothing new. In fact, most adults can remember their own parents and teachers talking to them about the dangers of “taking candy from a stranger” or “getting in a car with someone you don’t know” at an early age. For today’s youth, these same ideas still exist, but parents can find it even more challenging to protect their children from strangers, not only in the physical sense, but also virtually, in a world of cell phones, texting and social media. For parents of children with autism, these challenges can be magnified because of the social and communication weaknesses experienced by their children. Autistic people do not always pick up on the subtleties of social interactions as easily as their typically developing peers. They may not understand why it is okay to hug their friend on a play date but it’s not acceptable to hug a stranger on the sidewalk. These types of safety skills often need to be explicitly taught in order for kids with autism to understand, practice and generalize them in everyday life.

Updated on 5/30/15 7:50 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 5/30/15 7:50 PM

Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

Teaching with Pictures

Autism and Language

Autism & Emotions

Go Fish with the Language Builder Emotion Cards!

This lesson plan gives the classic card game Go Fish an emotional makeover! Students work on their expressive and receptive vocabulary and understanding of the five basic emotions, all while practicing social skills, taking turns, and following the rules of the game.

In a hurry?  Download a one page description of this lesson plan by clicking on the picture below:

Updated on 8/30/14 7:57 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 8/30/14 7:57 PM

Teaching with Pictures

Language Builder App

Autism and Language

Autism Technology

Flash Cards vs. iPad Apps: Which is Best?

All over the news, we see stories about kids with autism and their iPads. Rookie reporters tout the devices as The Next Big Thing, even going so far as to refer to them as cures. I’m sure we would all agree that the touch screen tablets are amazing, for little and big kids alike. But where’s the research backing their use for educational purposes for our students? In one word, nonexistent. As a doctoral student at Montreal’s McGill University, I aim to change that.

The focus of my upcoming thesis is on developing a rigorous and research-based understanding of using iPads to teach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I have been extremely fortunate to meet with the Stages Learning Materials staff, and receive their support to use the Language Builder Picture Cards and the newly created Language Builder from Stages app to test which method results in better and faster learning of receptive and expressive language.

Updated on 8/30/14 7:23 PM

Updated by Hayley Vininsky, M.S., BCBA on 8/30/14 7:23 PM

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

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

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

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

How to Modify Chores for your Child with Autism

When you have a child with autism or other special needs, chores are often overlooked or parents don’t consider it a possibility for their child. Just as modifications are needed in the classroom, small modification or supports can be developed to not only make chores a possibility, but part of the daily routine.  Find out more about increasing your child's independence with chores at home!

Updated on 4/18/14 10:20 AM

Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/18/14 10:20 AM

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

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

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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