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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

Welcome to the Autism Resources & Community (ARC)!

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      feedspot-top50-blogs

      Winner of the Feedspot Top 50 Blogs on Autism Award

      Action Behavior Center's Top 25 Autism blogs of 2020

      Study.com Top Homeschool Blogs for Special Needs Resources

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      5 Ways Sesame Street’s Character, Julia, Teaches People About Autism Spectrum Disorder

      Julia, the new character on Sesame Street can help all children better understand autism

      Sesame Street is a treasured TV show that has educated children worldwide for more than 50 years. It has brought characters like Elmo, Big Bird, Abby, and Cookie Monster into children’s lives and has brought forth lessons that build foundational skills. Through this show, we have learned how to count, how to read, how to sing, how to build relationships, how to channel our emotions, and so much more. In March of 2017, Sesame Street proved that its life lessons are not diminishing. Instead, they are becoming larger than life. Sesame Street introduced their newest character, Julia, to America’s favorite street, bringing knowledge about the autism spectrum to its audience. Here are 5 reasons why this is such a positive initiative in terms of autism awareness: 

      Updated on 8/8/20 2:14 PM

      Updated by Danielle Fowler on 8/8/20 2:14 PM

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Coping Strategies: Find What Works Best For Your Child with Autism

      Use zones of regulation and occupational therapy insight to find the best coping strategies for your child with autism

      The phrase “coping strategy” can be thrown around often in the autism (ASD) community. But what are they? How do we find the best ones for our children? How do each of them work? I had the chance to interview an occupational therapist, Gabrielle Mele-Algus (OT, OTR, MS) who offers her insight about types of coping strategies, zones of regulation, and finding the best fit for your child’s sensory needs.

      Updated on 8/8/20 1:44 PM

      Updated by Danielle Fowler on 8/8/20 1:44 PM

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) And How Can It Help My Child With Autism?

      Two BCBAs explain ABA and how to determine the level of support needed to ensure success for each child with autism

      Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is a common practice used with individuals with high functioning autism. The practice of ABA mainly focuses on the principles of behavior, and uses such to create an environment filled with consistency, predictability, and sensory intervention. I had the opportunity to sit down with Eleanor Brown and Jaime Povinelli, both Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) in Boston, Massachusetts. They enlightened me about ABA specifics, how they determine what level of ABA support is necessary, where ABA is found, as well as what needs to happen to increase access to ABA services.

      Updated on 8/8/20 10:11 AM

      Updated by Danielle Fowler on 8/8/20 10:11 AM

      About Autism

      Current News and Research

      Girls and Autism: The Impact of Gender Bias in Research on Autism

      What we know about ASD is largely based on research on boys with autism: New studies are telling us how different girls with autism are from their male counterparts

      The issue of gender bias is as antiquated as it is familiar to women around the globe. Despite immense political, social, and economic advances in the last century, aspects of female biology continue to be grossly understudied, contributing to a knowledge gap that permeates the scientific community. This gender disparity greatly looms over the study of Autism Spectrum Disorder, contributing to flawed diagnostic practices that are still used today throughout the medical community and beyond.  

      Updated on 8/8/20 8:22 AM

      Updated by Sam Krause on 8/8/20 8:22 AM

      Autism Technology

      Autism Treatment Options

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      10 Best Practices for Providing Teletherapy for Children with Autism

      How to Provide the Most Effective Teletherapy Possible for Children with Autism

      As schools around the world prepare for learning to continue in the fall, educators and service providers are wondering how to best tackle the possibility or reality of virtual learning for the foreseeable future. Many educators are concerned about the steep learning curve that comes with teletherapy and wonder how they might most effectively reach their students. For special education teachers and therapists for students with autism, teletherapy presents a unique challenge as many learning platforms are only geared towards typically developing students. 

      Updated on 7/26/20 1:35 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 7/26/20 1:35 PM

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Tell Me a Story: How to Teach Narrative and Comprehension Strategies to Children with Autism

      In K-12 education, there is no dispute that developing reading skills is fundamental. In fact, research suggests that early literacy instruction for students with and without disabilities is essential for future literacy development3. Teachers across the world are constantly utilizing various strategies to support students’ reading comprehension and decoding skills.  For some, typical decoding and comprehension strategies may be fairly accessible. For others, reading comprehension or decoding may prove to be more difficult. Students with autism typically have challenges related to reading comprehension, such as answering questions or expressing ideas in traditional ways. 

      Updated on 6/28/20 5:47 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 6/28/20 5:47 PM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      Eight Tips and Resources for Explaining COVID-19 to Children with Autism

      COVID-19 took the world by surprise leaving us all to adjust quickly and renavigate home, school, and work life. A top question on many families’ minds is how to explain the virus to our children with autism. The uncertainty of new situations can be stressful for anyone, especially when we are still discovering the facts. Incorporated here are helpful tips and resources to discuss the pandemic with your children with autism, to help them best understand, cope, and thrive during this time.

      Updated on 6/21/20 8:18 AM

      Updated by Arielle Doochin on 6/21/20 8:18 AM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Interviews from the Field

      Professional Hope: One Mother’s Story of Gratitude for the Specialists that Support Parents of Children with Autism

      "I have assessed and treated a great number of families affected by ASD...What I can say is this: When parents can move through the emotion and identify...the strengths in their child and in themselves, they are then able to consider the numerous options they have to support their family. When it comes to treating autism, it takes a community. When parents create the community they need for themselves and their families, they realize they are not alone. It instills hope and it is like watching a rainbow after a storm, which is the most rewarding part of the work." -- Aimee Adray Drescher, Ph.D., former Director of Psychological Services and a clinical psychologist for Unison Health in Ohio.

       

      Updated on 6/7/20 8:42 PM

      Updated by Heidi Ellis on 6/7/20 8:42 PM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Six Proactive Solutions for Challenging Behaviors At Home: Advice from a Behavioral Counselor

      These six tips will help you create a proactive environment in your home to foster task productivity and offer solutions to address undesired behaviors before they arise. By adopting a proactive approach, you are creating a structured and consistent environment that will help your child succeed. If you consistently react to behaviors, work to shift your approach and provide more support and scaffolding to prevent behaviors from occurring. Naturally, your child may exhibit behaviors even with foundational supports in place. That is okay! Look to these guiding factors to address challenging behaviors.

      Updated on 5/24/20 4:14 PM

      Updated by Danielle Fowler on 5/24/20 4:14 PM

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      ARIS Autism Curriculum

      The 12 Best Picture Books for Teaching Nouns to Children with Autism

      Picture books are a widely used resource in classrooms and homes around the world. Picture books support vocabulary development, story analysis skills, and sentence structure skills1. In addition to building language skills, picture books offer opportunities for children to understand what they are reading through illustrations while supporting engagement and encouraging imagination and creativity. For children with autism, picture books are especially helpful as many children with autism are very literal and visual learners.

      Updated on 5/23/20 6:29 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 5/23/20 6:29 PM

      Teaching with Pictures

      Inclusive Education

      Autism and Language

      ARIS Autism Curriculum

      Teacher Tips: Using Expressive Labeling to Teach Children with Autism Language Skills

      For children with autism, communication can be a challenging skill to develop. Children with autism often have difficulties with expressive and receptive language, thus impacting their ability to effectively communicate within their environment, ask for what they want and need, argue their point of view, and engage in successful interactions1. Expressive language development is key for children with autism, as support in this area allows them to use words, gestures, sentences, and writing to express meaning and give messages to others1.

      Updated on 5/12/20 12:36 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 5/12/20 12:36 PM

      Que es Autismo?

      Instrucciones para Registrarse en la Comunidad de Autism Learning Line

       

      Updated on 5/7/20 7:05 PM

      Updated by Patty Martinez on 5/7/20 7:05 PM

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      ARIS Autism Curriculum

      Teacher Tips: Using Receptive Labeling to Teach Children with Autism Language Skills

      Beginning at a young age, many children with autism can find it difficult to relate to and communicate with other people, and thus may have significant difficulty in expressive and receptive language (Simpson, Keen, & Lamb, 2015). Difficulties in language development can impact later functional outcomes, such as maintaining successful relationships and communicating wants and needs effectively. For students with autism, receptive language development is extremely important, as support in this area allows them to understand other’s requests and the surrounding environment. Thus, early intervention to support language development in young children with autism is necessary.

      Updated on 5/4/20 2:25 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 5/4/20 2:25 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Teaching with Pictures

      Autism and Language

      Teaching Parts of Speech to Children with Autism: Prepositions, Opposites, Pronouns and Verb Tense

      Children with autism frequently have delayed language development. For children with autism who have developed language, understanding or using parts of speech correctly may be difficult. While many children develop language skills incidentally, parts of speech such as prepositions, opposites, pronouns or verb tenses may be more difficult and require explicit instruction. Understanding parts of speech are important because it shows how words relate to one another in a meaningful way and allows for clear communication.

      Updated on 5/3/20 1:49 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 5/3/20 1:49 PM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Inclusive Education

      Autism and Language

      Teaching Language Skills to Children with Autism Using 2-D and 3-D Matching

      For children with autism, language skills can be taught using 2-D and 3-D matching skills. Matching is the ability to see two things and recognize that they are the same. Matching skills improve concentration, train visual and short term memory, attention to detail, classification skills, and improve vocabulary. For children with autism, developing these matching skills helps them physically identify and describe relationships between objects which leads to the development of learning language skills. Matching games offer a clear end goal, which is comforting to learners and helpful for teachers and parents.

      Updated on 5/2/20 6:35 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 5/2/20 6:35 PM

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      Autism Learning Line (A.L.L.): An Online Community for All Who Are Touched by Autism

      Autism Learning Line (A.L.L.) and the Benefits of Online Community

      Stages Learning Materials is excited to announce the launch of Autism Learning Line (A.L.L.), an online community designed to support parents, teachers, therapists, homeschoolers, and anyone else touched by autism. Working with interns from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and after several years of planning, Stages is happy to have found a way to give back to our community. This new support group connects with our Autism Resources and Community blog that was launched 5 years ago and now has over 500 articles to support families, educators, and therapists. Our autism blog received the award for Top 25 Autism Blogs of 2020 by Action Behavior Center and is also the winner of the Feedspot Top 50 Blogs on Autism Award.

      Updated on 4/26/20 10:55 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 4/26/20 10:55 AM

      Que es Autismo?

      Recursos sobre Autismo en Español

      Bienvenidos a la comunidad de Autismo y Recursos, también conocida como ARC!

      Updated on 4/24/20 6:52 PM

      Updated by Patty Martinez on 4/24/20 6:52 PM

      Autism & Emotions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      4 Activities and 3 Tips to Help Support Emotional Awareness for your Child with Autism

      Recognizing and understanding emotions is a key part of development. Emotional awareness allows individuals to identify what they are feeling and why. This is a critical step towards building emotional intelligence, a key skill in life. Being able to identify our emotions and understand why we are feeling the way we are allows us to clearly communicate and helps us build relationships with other, thus supporting our social development.

      Updated on 4/20/20 11:36 AM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 4/20/20 11:36 AM

      Teaching with Pictures

      ARIS Autism Curriculum

      Teaching Children with Autism to Follow Simple Directions

      Teaching children with Autism to follow simple directions is an important skill for them to learn. The ability to follow simple directions allows opportunities for your child to gain independence, regulation skills, communication skills, productivity in daily routine tasks, and practice gross motor and fine motor skills. Having these skills are important in school environments, home, and other natural settings. Children can gain the ability to follow simple directions to:

      Updated on 4/19/20 11:07 AM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 4/19/20 11:07 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      Autism & Career Options

      Follow Your Passion: 5 Steps to Finding the Best Career Match for a Young Adult with Autism

       

      1. Follow Your Passion

      I love flying! All my life I have been interested in anything aviation related: airports, travel, planes.

      Updated on 4/2/20 2:22 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 4/2/20 2:22 PM

      About Autism

      ARIS Autism Curriculum

      World Autism Awareness Day 2020: Working Toward the Full Inclusion and Participation of Children with Autism

      The new Language Builder: ARIS (Academic Readiness Intervention System) was developed to provide a curriculum to any teacher or parent interested in helping a child with autism develop to their full potential. ARIS was designed so that even school districts that cannot afford to have a full time behavior therapist on site can still use research-based Applied Behavior Analysis strategies to teach children with autism.

      Updated on 4/2/20 9:49 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 4/2/20 9:49 AM

      About Autism

      Amplifying Neurodiverse Voices With the Giant Autism Billboard

      This World Autism Awareness Day, an exciting collaborative project designed to amplify neurodiverse voices is capturing hearts and minds within the autistic community. It's the perfect time to make your contribution to the Giant Autism Billboard, a compilation of messages offering advice, wisdom, and observations from autistic people and their parents, siblings, caretakers, and professionals.

      Updated on 4/2/20 6:41 AM

      Updated by Never Spicer on 4/2/20 6:41 AM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Coronavirus: Keeping a Routine Schedule at Home

      Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Feel Safe and Secure:  Best Practices for Setting Up a Routine Schedule in Your Home

      The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced schools, offices, stores, care centers, and other businesses to close suddenly. While these closures are important to ensure the health and safety of all families, the disruption in routine and navigating unforeseen circumstances can leave families of children with autism stressed and anxious.

      Updated on 3/27/20 3:38 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 3/27/20 3:38 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      Free Resources for Families of Children With Autism and Other Special Needs During the Coronavirus

      With schools and learning centers staying closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus, families and students are finding themselves having to adapt to learning from home.

      Updated on 3/27/20 2:11 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 3/27/20 2:11 PM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Benefits and Strategies for Teaching Art to Children with Autism: Help for Art Challenged Adults Why Art?

      Art therapy provides many benefits for children with autism because it promotes emotional and mental growth as well as independence and collaboration skills. As an outlet for self-expression, imagination, and creativity, art can contribute deeply to improving a child’s fine motor skills, visual and spatial discrepancies, and coping (ActToday.org) For children with autism, art therapy can be particularly effective, especially because many are strong visual learners and process information differently from their typically developing peers.

      Updated on 3/25/20 2:00 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 3/25/20 2:00 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Cabin Fever? 5 Effective Activities for Students with Autism During Social Isolation or Quarantine

      Note: These 5 activities can be done every day, and we recommend that parents create a schedule so that each of these activities takes place at the same time very day when possible. Having a schedule helps keep children with autism feel more secure and reduces anxiety. We also recommend posting a picture schedule (or words if your child can read so that they know what to expect each day.

      Updated on 3/24/20 8:20 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 3/24/20 8:20 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      Language Builder ARIS Free Emergency Resources: Overview

      Given current circumstances you may be faced with the unexpected challenge of educating and engaging your child with autism or other special needs at home. With so much in flux, we want to offer free lessons, materials, activity sheets, data tracking sheets, behavior management tools, and a basic overview of how to use the system at home with your children.

      Updated on 3/23/20 4:26 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 3/23/20 4:26 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      Tips for Implementing Language Builder ARIS Emergency at-Home Lessons

      I truly hope that the downloadable Language Builder ARIS lessons have been helpful as you endeavor to set up your child's at-home education program. It has become crystal clear to us over the past several days that there is a dire need for resources to support parents as they adapt to recent school closures. We are committed to providing digital resources and virtual assistance to get you though this tough period so that your child can continue learning and building new skills. 

      Updated on 3/23/20 2:41 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 3/23/20 2:41 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      A New Curriculum for Autism: ARIS

      Teachers, parents and Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) have been asking for an “all in one” autism education curriculum for years. Language Builder: ARIS (Academic Readiness Intervention System) is now available to support teachers and parents helping children with autism learn the skills they need to be successful. This new curriculum is ideal for students from preschool through elementary school who have moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorders or older children with learning disabilities. And, ARIS comes with everything needed to begin teaching right out of the box.

      Updated on 3/22/20 10:05 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 3/22/20 10:05 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Teaching with Pictures

      Inclusive Education

      Autism and Language

      Autism Treatment Options

      The Autism Home School Solution: Academic Readiness Intervention System (ARIS) A Comprehensive Curriculum for Children with Autism

      Do you homeschool your child with autism? Have you ever wanted to try homeschooling, but self-doubt or a lack of resources held you back? Through ARIS, Stages Learning Materials, which has over 20 years of experience in the field of autism, offers everything you need to engage in a comprehensive autism curriculum at home with your child. Download two free lessons on Drawing Shapes and Departures and see if ARIS can support your child’s needs. With ARIS, your child can access award-winning materials and comprehensive, research-based curriculums right in the ease of your own home. Here are just a few reasons to consider purchasing Stages Learning Materials’ Academic Readiness Intervention System (ARIS) today:

      Updated on 3/22/20 9:54 AM

      Updated by Arianna Riccio on 3/22/20 9:54 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      COVID-19 Emergency Response

      Do-It-Yourself Materials for ABA-based Lessons

      For the free lessons we provided in our ARIS Emergency Home Autism Education Program we have included a variety of photo cards that you can download, print and get started with, including: Nouns, Occupations, Emotions, Sequencing and Verbs. You can see that many lessons reference specific Stages products, which you may not have access to. This information is designed to help you source some of these materials yourself so you can expand the content you teach in each lesson.

      Updated on 3/19/20 7:37 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 3/19/20 7:37 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Coronavirus and Children with Autism: How to Protect Your Child

      The coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently causing concern around the world. The CDC has declared a Public Health Emergency for the U.S. The situation and number of cases are changing daily. Many have noted the lack of hand soaps, sanitizers, and disinfecting cleansers in stores as people are stocking up. For families of children with Autism, staying germ-free can especially be a concern for children who have not developed proper handwashing skills or hygiene skills, in addition to everyday germs that children encounter at schools, care centers, and other activities.

      Updated on 3/12/20 5:48 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 3/12/20 5:48 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Teaching Healthy Eating Choices to Children with Autism

      For children with autism, making healthy eating choices can be difficult. Children with ASD are five times more likely to have challenges with meals than their peers. It is common for them to have repetitive, ritualistic habits, which can affect eating. Children with ASD may have especially strong likes and dislikes to certain foods, relating to taste, smell, color, and texture of the item. Some children do not eat enough, due to extreme food selectivity or difficulty focusing during eating. For some children, because of their limited food choices, they experience frequent constipation or stomach pain. Medication can also affect a child’s eating habits. For example, some common stimulant medications may reduce appetite. 

      Updated on 3/5/20 11:24 AM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 3/5/20 11:24 AM

      Inclusive Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Strategies for Homeschooling Children with Autism: You Can do This!

      Teaching children with autism even the most basic skills can feel daunting to a home schooling parent or even, at times, an autism professional. For instance, we may attempt to teach a child for the hundredth time to wipe her mouth with a napkin, but then…drum roll...She goes for the shirt again! The good news is practical measures exist that can renew our confidence and sense of composure while facing teaching challenges that are sure to arise. A new curriculum, ARIS, can also provide support by walking parents through using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach children new skills, even parents with little or no ABA experience. 

      Updated on 2/23/20 10:59 PM

      Updated by Heidi Ellis on 2/23/20 10:59 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      8 Ways to Promote Socialization Skills in Students with Autism

      Socialization is an important skill for all children to learn and develop. Research suggests that by supporting a child’s socialization, children are more likely to develop self-confidence, problem solving skills, and key language skills, all of which are vital skills that they will use throughout their lives1. Moreover, socialization can increase the likelihood of many positive outcomes for children, such as becoming more active participants in their communities, increased happiness, and friendship development2. However, many children with autism have difficulty interacting with others, thereby impeding their socialization skill development. Social skills such as initiating conversations with others, playing a game with their peers, sharing, or taking turns can be challenging and overwhelming for children with autism. 

      Updated on 2/21/20 10:49 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 2/21/20 10:49 PM

      Inclusive Education

      Autism & Transitions

      Classroom Routines: Preparing Your Child with Autism

      Preparing your child with Autism for classroom routines is important. Whether it’s the start of the school year, transitioning back to classes from school breaks, or a refresher, common classroom routines can be easily adapted to suit your child’s needs and practiced in and outside the classroom. It is helpful to meet with the teachers and therapists working with your child to understand what their daily schedule in school is like to make a plan for how your child can be supported and successful.

      Updated on 1/26/20 2:15 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 1/26/20 2:15 PM

      About Autism

      Inclusive Education

      Autism and Language

      Strengths-based Approaches to Autism for Teachers, SLPs, and Parents

      Celebrating Strengths and Shifting Away from Deficit-Based Thinking

      Far too often, society’s bias towards students with autism focuses on the autism, rather than the whole child. Students with autism are more often perceived as “lacking” in some area, rather than celebrated for the many strengths they have. Recent research and new directions in education has pointed out the flaws in this deficit-based thinking, advocating for more strengths-based approaches to supporting students with autism.

      Updated on 1/22/20 7:04 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 1/22/20 7:04 PM

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Recommended Children’s Books About Autism

      Children’s books featuring children with autism are an easy and entertaining way to introduce the topic of autism to your children, family members, friends, and your child’s peers. Children’s books offer simple, accessible explanations and illustrations that can help children and others better understand autism and some of its symptoms in a lighthearted manner. These children’s books emphasize messages about friendship, community, and understanding.

      Updated on 12/9/19 10:54 AM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 12/9/19 10:54 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Teaching with Pictures

      Inclusive Education

      Autism and Language

      Whole Child Learning & Autism: How ARIS Supports Social Emotional Learning

      Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and whole child development, often used synonymously, have huge implications for children of all ages. Described as the process of developing the knowledge, mindsets, and behaviors needed to manage and express emotions, interact positively with others, make responsible decisions, and set and achieve goals, SEL has become one of the primary topics of discussion in education. Policymakers and practitioners increasingly recognize SEL as an essential, though often lacking, component of formal schooling. As interest in SEL expands, new research clarifies our understanding of students’ social and emotional development and its connection to academic learning.

      Updated on 12/8/19 10:35 AM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 12/8/19 10:35 AM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Four Ways to Make Your Backyard More Autism Friendly

      Playing outdoors has huge implications for all children. Many researchers cite outdoor play as being a conduit for decreased stress levels, emotional resilience, increased cognitive functioning, increased attention, as well as a host of other sensory-motor, emotional, and social benefits3.

      Updated on 11/16/19 2:12 PM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 11/16/19 2:12 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      11 Strategies to Help Your Child with Autism Develop Fine Motor Skills

      Fine Motor Skill Milestones

      Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements. Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements in our eyes, wrists, hands, and fingers. Many everyday tasks require strength, dexterity, and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills need to be learned and developed as children get older.

      Updated on 11/16/19 1:18 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 11/16/19 1:18 PM

      Starting a Childcare Center for Children With Autism or other Special Needs

      For countless American families, finding the right childcare provider for their little ones can be a real challenge. This is especially true for parents and guardians who are navigating available childcare options for their child with autism or other special needs. While many parents might feel they’re alone in their struggles, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 59 American children has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), while approximately 7 million children with special needs were served by public schools throughout the country during the 2017-18 period.  

      Updated on 10/23/19 10:52 AM

      Updated by Marla Leung on 10/23/19 10:52 AM

      Health & Nutrition

      Autism Treatment Options

      Acupuncture and Autism

      Acupuncture treatment may help your child’s autism symptoms. Acupuncture is a treatment where needles are inserted into the skin to target certain nerve or pressure points. Research has shown acupuncture to be an effective treatment for children with ASD in areas of verbal communication, social skills, behavioral concerns, food sensitivity, and noise sensitivity.

      Updated on 10/21/19 10:18 AM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 10/21/19 10:18 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Teaching with Pictures

      Autism and Language

      The “Why” and the “What” Behind Language Builder: Academic Readiness Intervention System (ARIS)

      ARIS was created with access and implementation in mind: intended to make the principles of ABA easily accessible and easy to implement for educators working with children with autism who may not have formal ABA training.

      Recent research has highlighted the lack of evidence-based strategies and adequate learning programs for students with autism (Stahmer, et al., 2015). Even when teachers have access to learning programs for their students with autism, many lack consistency and effectiveness in using it. Research indidates that many classrooms vary greatly in their implementation of evidence-based practices and various learning curricula, but teachers are more likely to use instructional tools that are highly structured and when they feel supported by ongoing training for those tools (Stahmer, et al., 2015).

      Updated on 10/20/19 9:53 AM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 10/20/19 9:53 AM

      Health & Nutrition

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Anxiety: 10 Strategies to Help Your Child

      Children come into this world with little knowledge of the world around them. As they grow they explore their environment, acquire knowledge about social norms, facts, and what is expected and accepted. For children with autism the expectations are the same. Learning how to interact with peers, teachers, and parents is a process that each developing child navigates.

      Updated on 10/1/19 4:45 PM

      Updated by Arielle Doochin on 10/1/19 4:45 PM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Reconocer los Signos y Sintomas del Autismo

      Saber qué Buscar con el Autismo

      ¿Alguna vez se ha preocupado de que su hijo muestre síntomas de autismo, pero no tenía a quién acudir y no entendía cómo obtener un diagnóstico y asegurarse de que su hijo reciba la ayuda que necesita?

      No hay necesidad de preocuparse, porque con todos los recursos disponibles siempre es posible determinar si vale la pena investigar más sus temores, y descubrirá que existen muchas maneras de ayudar a su hijo.

      Updated on 9/7/19 7:10 AM

      Updated by Heidi Ellis on 9/7/19 7:10 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      How to Prepare for an IEP Meeting – For Teachers of Students with Autism

      As a teacher, it is likely that you have either held or participated in an IEP meeting. Often times, you have likely interacted with family members who may be nervous or anxious about the process. Some parents may come in to IEP meetings feeling intimidated by the many people sitting around a table or the jargon of special education. Many parents, including parents of children with autism, have very unique and specific concerns about their child, and as a teacher, there are ways you and other school staff can facilitate IEP meetings that feel safe, respectful, collaborative, and welcoming.

      Updated on 9/7/19 6:41 AM

      Updated by Madeline Burroughs on 9/7/19 6:41 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      12 Popular Games Adapted for Children with Autism

      Play is often described as the “work” of childhood, where children can make friendships, learn social skills, come to understand expected group behavior, consequences, turn taking, and cooperation, not to mention have some fun! Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can reap these same benefits by playing games with other kids, though many do not naturally gain the aforementioned skills simply by being exposed to games or other play objects, as might their non-disabled peers. As with many concepts, games and their component skills may need to be explicitly taught, supported, and adaptations made in order for a child with autism to experience success with the activity.

      Updated on 6/26/19 5:54 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/26/19 5:54 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Strategies for Promoting Sensory Integration in Writing

      Sensory struggles in a child with autism can hinder his or her ability to grasp a writing implement and to use it correctly. But some marvelous strategies exist that can help children learn to write: countering “floppy” muscle tone, varying implement thickness, trying different implement tips to reduce noise issues, and repetition with different implements are all strategies that can help children with autism and/or sensory integration issues.

      Updated on 6/2/19 11:39 AM

      Updated by Heidi Ellis on 6/2/19 11:39 AM

      Health & Nutrition

      Autism & Emotions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Creating a Yoga Practice for Children With Autism

      Yoga, an ancient practice that originated in India, is today a term familiar across most of the world. Those who’ve experienced the practice may be familiar with its benefits of relaxation and overall improved physical health. Did you know, however, that exploring yoga with a child with autism can help him or her improve mobility, spatial awareness, coping skills, and even contribute to self-confidence?

      Updated on 5/27/19 10:42 AM

      Updated by Arielle Doochin on 5/27/19 10:42 AM

      About Autism

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Top Safety Risks for Children with Autism and How to Communicate with First Responders

      Safety and preparation for emergency situations is a concern for any child, but especially for children with autism, who may be unable to communicate or respond correctly in emergency situations.

      Updated on 4/28/19 3:56 PM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 4/28/19 3:56 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism and Language

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      The Most Popular Action and Movement Songs for Children with Autism

      Updated on 4/13/19 10:44 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 4/13/19 10:44 AM

      World Autism Awareness Day 2019: A Look Back and a Look Forward

      Tracing the journey of improved diagnoses, treatment and

      educational outcomes for children with autism

      April 2, 2019 marks the twelfth annual observation of World Autism Awareness Day.  As described by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, World Autism Awareness Day exists to:

      Updated on 4/1/19 2:45 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/1/19 2:45 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Inclusive Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Inclusive Sports

      Special Olympics and Unified Sports for Children with Autism

      Sports are a unifying, fun way for individuals and communities to connect. For individuals with autism, participation in athletic events may be difficult due to the loud, chaotic environments or exclusion from participating. The Special Olympics and Unified Sports are programs specifically created to be inclusive of athletes of all ages and abilities in participating in team sports.

      Updated on 12/8/18 12:10 AM

      Updated by Chloe Fay on 12/8/18 12:10 AM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Dental Care

      Going to the dentist can be a cause for anxiety for most of us, but it’s a very different feeling for those with autism. Patients with autism often have difficulty staying still and allowing the dentist to do what’s needed, which is why a loved one should always be present. Everyone needs a hand to hold sometimes, especially those who fear the dentist, and it’s no different with patients with autism.

      Updated on 11/24/18 6:46 AM

      Updated by Dr. Greg Grillo on 11/24/18 6:46 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      Autism & Career Options

      Top Work Places Supporting Adults with Autism

      Individuals with autism too often have been underrepresented and discriminated against in employment. A 2017 report from Drexel University found that only 14 percent of adults with autism held paid jobs in their communities. Another study found that employment rates for people on the spectrum were about 25 percent lower than those for people with other disabilities. Qualified autistic job seekers are being turned away: 45 percent of adults on the spectrum were over educated for the job they were performing. Of the 35 percent of autistic adults with college degrees, only 15 percent are employed.

      Updated on 10/23/18 10:00 AM

      Updated by Emma Shanahan on 10/23/18 10:00 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      First Person Autism

      Young Adulthood on the Spectrum: An Interview with a Friend

       

      Updated on 10/22/18 8:40 PM

      Updated by Emma Shanahan on 10/22/18 8:40 PM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Autism Technology

      Choosing iPad Apps for Children with Autism

      The explosion of apps available on tablets like the iPad has been an exciting opportunity for children with autism. It may come as no shock to parents and educators that in general, children with autism prefer and are more engaged during app-based interventions than traditional interventions. And while in the past some have feared that technology could lead to social isolation, a recent study found that a group of children with autism spoke more sentences per minute together while using iPad apps than without iPads.

      Updated on 10/14/18 3:10 PM

      Updated by Emma Shanahan on 10/14/18 3:10 PM

      Inclusive Education

      Autism & Transitions

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Inclusion Toolkit: Top Ten Products to Accommodate Students with Autism in the Classroom

      The beginning of a new school year can be a difficult time for some children with autism. Shifting from the comfort of home to an environment packed with loud voices, stiff chairs, slamming doors, and a new structure can trigger anything from distraction and discomfort to full meltdowns.

      Updated on 8/19/18 12:56 PM

      Updated by Emma Shanahan on 8/19/18 12:56 PM

      About Autism

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      Does My Student Have Autism? A Guide for Teachers

      It’s a couple months into the school year. The kids in your class know where to put unsharpened pencils, how to ask to go to the bathroom, and what to expect day to day. You have a strong sense of each child’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses. And you’ve noticed which students are not flourishing in the typical classroom structure and need specialized attention. But what do you do if you suspect your student has autism, and they don’t have an IEP?

      Updated on 7/22/18 6:26 PM

      Updated by Emma Shanahan on 7/22/18 6:26 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Health & Nutrition

      Inclusive Education

      Autism & Emotions

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Positive Pedagogy: How to Bring Positive Psychology into Special Education and Inclusive Classrooms for Students with Autism

      How can you help your students discover stillness? joy? authenticity?  Positive psychology is the science of well-being, which applied, can bring more positivity and happiness into your classroom. Try investing in these easy “rituals,” or habits, to transform your classroom into an oasis where your students can learn to flourish, no matter their challenges. 

      Updated on 5/10/18 8:42 AM

      Updated by Arianna Riccio on 5/10/18 8:42 AM

      Autism & Emotions

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Parent Strategies for Helping Children with Autism Cope with Transitions and Changing Routines

      Transitions from one activity to the next can be difficult for any child, especially if they are being asked to leave a preferred activity to instead do something they need to do. While some behaviors in response to transitions may look similar between neurotypical children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the reasons behind the behaviors can differ. When a child is navigating life with ASD, the world can be an unpredictable place, and a set routine can help them feel more in control, greatly easing anxiety and frustration. If that routine needs to change for any reason, it can feel like someone pulled a rug out from underneath them, and they may feel emotionally overwhelmed in response.

      Updated on 5/8/18 9:30 AM

      Updated by Lauren Panzano on 5/8/18 9:30 AM

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Parent Strategies to Help Children with Autism Cope with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

      In this article, we explore Sensory Processing Disorder (also called sensory integration or sensory sensitivity), and how these issues can be alleviated and treated, and strategies parents and caregivers can use at home and school to help ease day to day life.  Stages Learning Materials provides a comprehensive collection of products that alleviate sensory challenges.

      Updated on 5/5/18 3:55 PM

      Updated by Lauren Panzano on 5/5/18 3:55 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Autism & Emotions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      5 Positive Play Therapies to Help Your Child with Autism

      Despite being riddled with its own challenges and stressors, childhood can often be idealized as a time of magic and freedom. What often makes childhood so uniquely sacred is the acceptance and endorsement of play. While play can often seem like a time of rest and rejuvenation unburdened by demands, it can also be carried out in a therapeutic manner to help your child with autism practice important life skills. Furthermore, enhancing play therapy through engaging principles of Positive Psychology, the scientific study of well-being, can make your child’s play even more beneficial by inviting in more positivity, happiness, and joy during playtime.

      Updated on 4/16/18 8:30 AM

      Updated by Arianna Riccio on 4/16/18 8:30 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Lesson Plan: ImPRINTING Food Vocabulary to Learn Language Skills

      Lesson Overview

      Create an art print to reinforce food vocabulary and encourage tactile exploration.

      Download Lesson Plan:

       

      Skills Practiced

      • Key Food Vocabulary
      • Tactile Sensory Processing
      • Fine Motor Skills

      Materials

      • Language Builder 3D - 2D Animal Matching Kit

      • Target Food (select from apple, banana, broccoli, carrots, corn, orange, bread or cookie)

      • Paper Bag (or Cloth Sack)

      • Washable Paint

      • 18” x 24” Construction Paper 

      • Smock

      • Paper Plate (or Reusable Container)

      People

      Appropriate for one-on-one instruction or a small group of learners

      Updated on 4/15/18 5:02 AM

      Updated by Lucia Berliner on 4/15/18 5:02 AM

      This April - Celebrate Autism Awareness Month with Stages Learning Materials!

      The chirping of birds in the morning, the budding flowers on the trees, and the influx of tax forms to be completed can only mean one thing: April is on its way. There are so many reasons to look forward to April – the warm weather, the blossoming gardens, and the celebrations of our planet, including Earth Day and Arbor Day. But in addition to these festivities of nature, it’s important to celebrate people, too. April is also Autism Awareness Month, and this April 2nd marks the 11th annual celebration of World Autism Awareness Day. Join Stages Learning Materials in celebrating our friends and family members with autism through these fun and simple activities:

      Updated on 3/30/18 12:40 PM

      Updated by Arianna Riccio on 3/30/18 12:40 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      How to Bring Positive Psychology into Special Education and Inclusive Classrooms for Students with Autism

      How can you help your students discover stillness? joy? authenticity?  Positive psychology is the science of well-being, which applied, can bring more positivity and happiness into your classroom. Try investing in these easy “rituals,” or habits, to transform your classroom into an oasis where your students can learn to flourish, no matter their challenges.

      Updated on 3/17/18 6:00 AM

      Updated by Arianna Riccio on 3/17/18 6:00 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      How to Prepare For Your IEP Meeting - For Parents of Children with Autism

      Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are defined as written plans outlining a program designed to meet the unique needs of one child. Walking into an IEP meeting prepared will help you and the school design the best plan for your child. Children with autism have distinctive needs, and in your role as an advocate for your child you can help school personnel understand what accommodations will be most successful in supporting your child’s strengths and weaknesses. 

      Updated on 3/15/18 7:27 PM

      Updated by Lauren Panzano on 3/15/18 7:27 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Lesson Plan: Using Identical Matching to Teach Beginning Language Skills to Children with Autism

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use Language Builder 3D – 2D Matching Kits to practice matching things that are the same.

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Matching
      • Social skills

      Materials

      People

      This activity can be done with just one child or in a larger group, in a classroom or therapy setting. 



      Updated on 3/9/18 9:04 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 3/9/18 9:04 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Storytelling and Recall with Animals Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Teach storytelling skills, animal names, and recall skills with this story-based lesson plan.

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Storytelling
      • Recall
      • Improvisation

      Materials

      People

      This activity can be done with just one child or in a larger group, in a classroom or therapy setting. Children should be familiar with basic elements of a story and with animal names.

      Updated on 3/6/18 7:06 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 3/6/18 7:06 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Mastering Matching 3D - 2D Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      In this lesson, the child will learn how to match 3D objects to 2D picture cards of the same object.

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • 3D - 2D Matching
      • Receptive Language

      Materials

      People

      This lesson is best suited for one-on-one sessions with a teacher or therapist. The child should have mastered 3D object to 2D picture matching.

      Updated on 3/3/18 6:43 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 3/3/18 6:43 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Spelling/Reading Food Names Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Practice reading and spelling food names with these movement-based activities.

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • 

Reading
      • Spelling
      • Recognizing food names

      Materials

      People

      

This game can be played with children in a small group or in a larger classroom group setting.

      Updated on 2/25/18 9:23 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 2/25/18 9:23 AM

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Five Principles of Positive Psychology to Transform Your Parenting with Your Child with Autism

      Positive Psychology is a novel and accessible science that focuses on cultivating well-being, positivity, and happiness in the lives of individuals and families. Positive Psychology can help transform the way you parent your child with autism. Change can be created by investing in practices as habits, creating what Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard-trained leader in the field, calls “rituals,” a commitment to incorporating the practices into your life on a regular basis to drive true change. The following five principles from Positive Psychology are a few ways that you as a parent can create rituals to transform your relationship with your child with autism:

      Updated on 2/23/18 8:31 PM

      Updated by Arianna Riccio on 2/23/18 8:31 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Music Therapy for Children with Autism

      Choosing the Best Program for Your Child

      Benefits Overview

      Music has been an enriching and meaningful way for people to engage with each other throughout time, and music can provide powerful, multi-sensory experiences for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is especially helpful for children still developing verbal skills, as it provides an entirely different way for children to express themselves. It can provide opportunities for children to relate to others, experience new forms of relaxation to ease tension and anxiety, and promote self-expression. Whether through music education programs or specialized music therapy, engaging in singing or playing a musical instrument can help children explore an entirely new side of themselves and the world around them.

      Updated on 2/19/18 8:00 AM

      Updated by Lauren Panzano on 2/19/18 8:00 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      My Favorite Things Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Learn about different action verbs and express why they dislike or like common activities

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Asking and answering “why” questions
      • Identifying and associating verbs and common emotions

      Materials

      People

      This lesson is ideal for any number of students, ideally for kindergarten - 2nd grade, a beginning ELL student, or for a one-on-one session with a therapist. Students should be familiar with the emotions chosen for review in this lesson.

      Updated on 2/16/18 7:47 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 2/16/18 7:47 AM

      Autism and Language

      Current News and Research

      Five Research-Based Strengths Associated with Autism

      Genius, Attention to Detail, Problem Solving, Memory, and Visual Skills

      All children, whether or not they are neurotypical, have unique sets of strengths and weaknesses. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often also have some unique challenges to overcome in building routines and relationships that are functional and fulfilling. While much of current research and therapeutic intervention focuses on addressing those challenges, more and more research is showing that people living with ASD may also benefit from unique strengths previously unnoticed by the general population. 

      Updated on 2/13/18 7:00 AM

      Updated by Lauren Panzano on 2/13/18 7:00 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Where Do You Move? Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Learn about different action verbs and review prepositions through the Stages Learning Verb Cards

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Vocabulary
      • Grammar (present and prepositions)

      Materials

      People

      This lesson is ideal for any number of students, ideally for kindergarten - 2nd grade, or a beginning ELL student

      Updated on 2/9/18 7:34 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 2/9/18 7:34 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Let's Move With Verbs Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Learn about different action verbs and review present and past tense through the Stages Learning Verb Cards

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Acting
      • Vocabulary
      • Grammar (present and past tense verbs)

      Materials

      People

      This lesson is ideal for 2+ students, ideally for kindergarten - 2nd grade, or a beginning ELL student

      Updated on 1/21/18 12:57 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 1/21/18 12:57 PM

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      How to Choose a Summer Camp for Your Child with Autism

      Summer camp can be a positive and enriching experience for children on the autism spectrum, providing an alternative to the rigorous school year routine and opportunities for peer interactions. However, finding the right fit for your child can be intimidating and does require research and planning - here are some steps to help get you started.

      Updated on 1/15/18 5:59 PM

      Updated by Lauren Panzano on 1/15/18 5:59 PM

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids with Autism

      Travel can be a beautiful way to explore a new environment, bond as a family, and learn together. For children on the autism spectrum, travel can also mean venturing through unfamiliar routines and adjusting to stressful, chaotic situations. However, with thoughtful preparation, traveling can be an opportunity to show your child that a break from the usual routines can be a wonderful adventure. Use these 10 tips to help create a travel experience that is rewarding for everyone in your family.

      Updated on 12/20/17 6:00 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 12/20/17 6:00 AM

      About Autism

      Ten Holiday Gifts for Children with Autism

      Whether you’re shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, finding the “perfect” gift for a child with autism can be hard, given the range of sensitivities and needs a child may have. Because autism spectrum disorder (ASD) includes a wide list of symptoms and affects each child differently, it may be best to ask the child’s parents or guardians for some guidance. Avoid gifts with surprising sensory inputs like moving robots, toys with swirling lights, or toys with strong scents without consulting the child’s parents. Consider asking about the child’s sensory needs, as that can guide the types of sensory toys you can gift. Are there any triggers you should be aware of? Any sensory inputs the child particularly enjoys? Also, ask about the child’s cognitive and motor skills level, to find a gift the child will love. Finally, don’t forget about the gift of an experience - sometimes, in lieu of a toy, the gift of time together may be the perfect present.

      Updated on 12/19/17 6:04 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 12/19/17 6:04 AM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Ten Tips for Visiting Family When Your Child Has Autism

      With the holiday season comes family gatherings, cozy meals, vacation plans, and yes — a dash of festive chaos. Traveling to visit family can be stressful even when everything goes as expected. However, a bit of planning and preparation can help keep your holiday season the most wonderful time of the year.

      Updated on 12/18/17 12:16 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 12/18/17 12:16 PM

      Autism and Language

      Current News and Research

      Stages Learning Language Builder Cards: The Choice for Autism Researchers

      For over a decade, researchers have been relying on tools developed by Stages Learning to evaluate approaches that are most effective for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Wide-ranging research topics span from assistive technologies to socio-emotional learning, and language development. Researchers turn to Stages products because of the company’s commitment to creating quality tools that utilize the latest technologies and evidence-based approaches.

      Updated on 11/5/17 5:07 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 11/5/17 5:07 PM

      First Person Autism

      First Person Autism: Review of Netflix Series Atypical

      About two weeks ago, I began to watch the show Atypical on Netflix. This is a program that was of great interest to me, as it is about an 18-year-old high school senior who is living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The plot revolves around this young man (Sam) as he tries to find a girlfriend and have an intimate relationship for the first time. I looked forward to seeing how this progressed due to my own experiences in high school with wanting to date and feel loved by a partner. However, I quickly realized that were certain aspects of Atypical that made me feel slightly uneasy due to the broad generalizations of autism that were displayed at times. Despite this, I was not disappointed with this program overall, as it provided a thoughtful and entertaining perspective about a topic that is often ignored when we talk about growing up with autism.

      Updated on 10/2/17 8:30 AM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 10/2/17 8:30 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Tips and Strategies for Helping Children with Autism Develop New Routines

      With difficulty making sense of their surroundings and feelings of anxiety, children with autism often develop routines and rituals to have some form of order and structure to their lives. Everyday routines such as washing and teeth brushing are generally consistent. There are times, however, when routines change during events such as fire drills, field trips, and special occasions. During times of transition or change, children may be more likely to have tantrums, aggressive behavior, and show resistance. It is important to prepare children for the possibility of change and help them understand the procedures they need to follow during novel situations.

      Updated on 10/1/17 8:30 AM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 10/1/17 8:30 AM

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Interviews from the Field

      A Parent’s Guide to Supporting Siblings Of Children With Autism

      A family's bond is one of the strongest, purest forms of love. Each component is essential - parents, siblings, and extended family. When we consider a family consisting of a child with autism, the familial ties become increasingly vital. Parents and caregivers definitely become surrounded by more demands than anticipated and have limited time for other tasks and relationships. There is also a heavy reliance on extended family and friends for physical and emotional support. A sibling can become heavily involved in the development of their brother or sister with autism by helping foster social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. However, throughout the process, siblings may be overwhelmed by the mature role they play in their sibling's lives, feel overshadowed by their sibling with autism's required parental attention, or struggle to understand the ramifications of having a sibling with autism. So how can we support the siblings of children with autism? Here are strategies that can help:

      Updated on 9/30/17 8:16 PM

      Updated by Danielle Fowler on 9/30/17 8:16 PM

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Helping Children with Autism Develop Friendships

      5 guidelines for the class or the home

      Friendships can have a major impact on wellbeing and personal growth, yet building new relationships can be anxiety provoking for adults and children alike. So, imagine how hard it can be for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), who may struggle to perceive social cues and respond in conventionally acceptable ways. As a result, they may have few friends and shy away from conversations or other interactions. Children with ASD need opportunities to build meaningful relationships and have many wonderful qualities to offer others. Using various strategies to help children with ASD build supportive friendships can help them live happier lives and realize their potential. Below are some approaches to consider and build upon:

      Updated on 9/11/17 8:44 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 9/11/17 8:44 PM

      About Autism

      Autism Treatment Options

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Can Horseback Riding Help Children with Autism?

      The Benefits of Equine Therapy 

      What is Equine Therapy?

      Updated on 9/5/17 7:41 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 9/5/17 7:41 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      10 Tips for Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

      Top Tips to Help You Get Started

      All children have unique learning needs, but children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD require a little extra guidance and support. Whether you’re a parent or teacher, it’s essential to understand what a child with autism needs and how you can help them learn better.

      Updated on 8/30/17 8:03 PM

      Updated by Dana Jandhyala on 8/30/17 8:03 PM

      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 5/4/17 10:55 PM

      Updated by John Richards, Ph.D., Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed., MLIS and Angela Nelson, J.D.; M.Ed. on 5/4/17 10:55 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Wandering and Autism: 6 Strategies to Prevent Wandering Behavior

      Wandering or “elopement,” a common behavioral occurrence among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to the tendency to leave a safe, supervised space or caregiver and subsequently expose oneself to potential danger. Wandering is both tragic and terrifying for parents, given that drowning and wandering-related behaviors are the top causes of death in the ASD community (Rice et al., 2016). Although most of the reports of wandering have been anecdotal, the first major study on wandering by the American Academy of Pediatrics provides hard data on wandering and elopement among individuals with ASD.

      Updated on 4/8/17 7:28 AM

      Updated by Krupa Patel on 4/8/17 7:28 AM

      Inclusive Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      School Support for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Guide for Parents

      This article was originally published on the Speech@NYU blog. Speech@NYU is the online masters program in speech-language pathology from NYU Steinhardt.

      1 in 68 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which is roughly 1 percent to 2 percent of students in the United States, according to a recent CDC report. Schools, in increasing numbers, are recruiting professionals to serve the academic, social, and emotional needs of students with autism.

      Updated on 4/3/17 10:16 PM

      Updated by Michelle Manno on 4/3/17 10:16 PM

      Autism & Emotions

      Helping Children with Autism to Communicate & Recognize Emotions

      Recognizing, Showing, and Regulating Emotions

      Think about the different ways that you recognize the emotions of others in your daily life. Do you focus on their facial expression? Their body language? Or their tone of voice? While some of us may do these things in our daily lives without thinking twice, for children with autism it is often difficult to communicate their emotions and recognize the emotions of others. Parents and educators often find that their children or students with autism display inappropriate behaviors due to their difficulty recognizing and communicating their emotions. For example, children may have tantrums that seem easily triggered, they may become aggressive, or may become withdrawn. Although difficulty communicating and understanding emotions is not a universal challenge in those who have autism, it is very common. Therefore, parents and educators should become familiar with the different ways to help children communicate and recognize emotions.

      Updated on 4/2/17 2:05 PM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 4/2/17 2:05 PM

      About Autism

      Autism Awareness Month: The History and Today

      What is Autism Awareness Month?

      Each year during the month of April, individuals and organizations across the globe celebrate Autism Awareness Month with events to educate local communities and raise public awareness about autism. Almost 50 years have passed since the Autism Society held the first National Autism Awareness month in April of 1970. Since then, autism has become the fastest growing developmental disability in the world, with the diagnosis rate of children with autism increasing from 1 in every 2000 children in the 1970's and 1980's[1] to 1 in every 68 children today[2].

      Updated on 4/1/17 4:06 PM

      Updated by Laura Danforth on 4/1/17 4:06 PM

      Current News and Research

      Research White Paper: Vocabulary Cards for Early Word Learning

      Link4Fun Cards are new language-learning tools designed to scaffold preschool language development by synchronizing traditional manipulatives with digital media. Children tap flashcards against the screen of an iPad to display interactive digital content that engages them sensorily and encourages them to continue learning.

      Updated on 3/21/17 9:53 PM

      Updated by Briana Brukilacchio, Ed.M. and Angela Nelson, Ed.M. on 3/21/17 9:53 PM

      Autism & Emotions

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      How to Help Young Children with Autism Avoid Behavior Problems

      Linda Hodgdon has been a long-time friend of Stages Learning and is author of the best-selling book, "Visual Strategies for Improving Communication." We have invited her to impart some of her wisdom and experience in a guest blog and she discusses an important topic that comes up often in the autism space.

      If you have a student with autism, you probably have a list of situations where you deal with problem behaviors and meltdowns. Children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are frequently identified because of their difficulties with communication and behavior.  Visual strategies provide a solution.

      Updated on 3/17/17 8:17 PM

      Updated by Linda Hodgdon, CCC-SLP on 3/17/17 8:17 PM

      Inclusive Education

      Autism Treatment Options

      It Takes a Team: 4 Steps to Building a Stronger Therapy Team

      For students on the Autism spectrum, having a strong and reliable therapy team to support individual needs can be an important factor in student success. When members of a therapy team are collaborating seamlessly, a student is more likely to have high quality support across all areas of development (communication, social, cognitive, play, motor, and adaptive skills).

      Updated on 3/17/17 8:04 PM

      Updated by Rosemarie Griffin CCC/SLP BCBA COBA on 3/17/17 8:04 PM

      About Autism

      How a Child’s Special Interests Can Assist in Learning and Growing

      Affinities, Avatars, and Autism: Oh My!

      Learning empathy from Simba. Recognizing emotions with Ariel. It may seem unconventional, but the inspiring story about Owen Suskind, an autistic child depicted in the book and adapted award-winning documentary, Life, Animated, illustrates an innovative therapeutic approach for autism: social and emotional skill building through communication with affinity-based avatars.

      Updated on 3/16/17 9:05 PM

      Updated by Kelly Sayres on 3/16/17 9:05 PM

      Autism & Emotions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      5 Ways to Help Reduce Anxiety in Children with Autism

      It’s likely that we all know someone who experiences anxiety, and there’s no doubt that anxiety can be exhausting and can interfere with daily life. For children with autism, anxiety can occur more frequently and can be very intense. Seemingly simple daily activities such as leaving the house, interacting with peers, riding in the car, or taking public transportation can become increasingly difficult and anxiety provoking.  In order to help children who may be experiencing anxiety, it is important for parents and teachers to understand anxiety and how it may be affecting children with autism.

      Updated on 3/6/17 10:10 PM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 3/6/17 10:10 PM

      Global Autism Awareness

      Autism & Career Options

      New Program Prepares Teens with Autism to Serve in the Israel Defense Forces

      Although almost seven thousand miles away, Leora Sali’s tone of determination resonated her passion for her work. She agreed to speak with me about the program she co-manages in Israel, Roim Rachok. “For the first time, he called his grandmother and planned a visit on his own. This is huge!” Sali described how the teens in this program, for the first time, are able to “decide what they do and how they do it.”

      Updated on 3/6/17 9:22 PM

      Updated by Irina Uk on 3/6/17 9:22 PM

      Autism and Language

      The Twitter Accounts Every School SLP Must Follow

      Twitter is a valuable tool for professional development (PD) and community building, especially for members of the education community. The platform is a must-have for digitally literate teachers who use their timelines, followers, and hashtags to inform and improve their PD and pedagogy.

      Updated on 2/25/17 11:59 AM

      Updated by Michelle Manno on 2/25/17 11:59 AM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Six Simple Mindfulness Practices for Kids with Autism

      The practice of quieting the mind, otherwise known as mindfulness, is increasingly being practiced across the board – from Google executives to classrooms as a replacement to detention (Bloom, 2016). Mindfulness specifically refers to the practice of paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally. Observation of our thoughts and feelings allows us to better understand our emotions and react rationally to negative situations. 

      Updated on 2/24/17 9:10 PM

      Updated by Krupa Patel on 2/24/17 9:10 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      7 Tips for Teaching Your Child with Autism to Cook

      I can still remember when I was a child watching my mother cook. Her face always beamed with a smile so big that everyone could tell how much joy she had in preparing a great meal for my family. It seemed cooking was not only a hobby that she enjoyed, but also one of her passions. She told me she had watched my grandmother cook as a child and started learning at a young age. I know the experience is still one of her fondest childhood memories. No wonder why she is a great cook!

      Updated on 2/22/17 9:46 PM

      Updated by Zholl Tablante on 2/22/17 9:46 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Best Sports for Children with Autism

      5 Tips for Helping Your Child Succeed in Sports

      It is no secret that sports are a big part of most people’s lives. More than 100 million people in the United States alone tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year. However, being a sports fan and playing a sport are two completely different things–especially in the eyes of a parent. You probably know enrolling your child in a sport has tremendous benefits such as endurance, strength, and general fitness. But as you might have guessed, for many children with autism, finding the appropriate sport can be challenging.  

      Updated on 2/8/17 8:22 PM

      Updated by Zholl Tablante on 2/8/17 8:22 PM

      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 2:53 PM

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

      Brain Parade

      Schools Warned On Speech Services For Kids With Autism

      According to The U.S. Department of Education an increasing number of kids on the autism spectrum may not be receiving services from speech-language pathologists at school, (Disability Scoop July 28, 2015) and they are reminding schools not to skimp on needed speech and language services for children with autism.

      Updated on 2/4/17 4:57 PM

      Updated by Jim McClafferty on 2/4/17 4:57 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism and Language

      Autism & Emotions

      Social Thinking: 6 Strategies for Teaching Children with Autism

      What is Social Thinking?

      Social Thinking is a flexible teaching framework that is designed to help individuals ages four and up with autism spectrum disorder and other social and communication difficulties. The framework helps these individuals better understand the process by which we interpret the thoughts, beliefs, intentions, emotions, and actions of another person within the context of a situation. We use this information every day to better understand the experience of those around us. This understanding helps us respond in a way that will effect the other person’s thoughts about us in order to ultimately achieve our social goals.

      Updated on 2/1/17 8:25 PM

      Updated by Courtney Chase on 2/1/17 8:25 PM

      About Autism

      First Person Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Leveraging Special Interests to Help Children with Autism:  An Autistic Person* Shares Her Experiences

      Having a special interest in something is a major part of the repetitive behavior that comes with autism. In fact, researcher Tony Attwood (2003) found that special interests seem “to be a dominant characteristic, occurring in over 90% of children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome.” Your child, client, or student with autism may have an intense interest in one particular subject. While hearing someone you love go on and on about his or her favorite subject may get tiring, special interests are important. A 2007 study done by Winter-Messiers (2007) reflected that special interests should be treated seriously because they may be beneficial in building up skills that would be hard to obtain otherwise.

      Updated on 1/23/17 8:16 PM

      Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 1/23/17 8:16 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Link4fun Lesson Plan: Identify, Categorize & Communicate!

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use the Link4Fun Cards to practice identifying, categorizing, and communicating with vocabulary words. Students will interact with the teacher or therapist using vocabulary cards with interactive technology. Each part of the lesson plan can be extended or shortened depending on the needs of the child.

      Updated on 1/22/17 9:27 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 1/22/17 9:27 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Link4fun Lesson Plan: Early Literacy & Social Skills Development

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use the Link4Fun book and app to develop their literacy, social skills, and vocabulary. Students will interact with the teacher or therapist using a print-based picture book with a digital device for an interactive reading experience. Each part of the lesson plan can be extended or shortened depending on the needs of the child.

      Updated on 1/21/17 9:36 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 1/21/17 9:36 PM

      First Person Autism

      Product Reviews

      Book Review: “Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap”

      This is a book review of “Why Johnny doesn’t Flap,” a book about an autistic boy’s neurotypical (meaning without neurological disabilities) friend, Johnny. I will give a brief description of the book’s story, illustrations and message.

      Updated on 1/17/17 8:41 AM

      Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 1/17/17 8:41 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Link4fun Lesson Plan: Learning About Verbs

      Lesson Overview

      Learn about different action verbs through the animals in the Link4fun Pets book

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Acting
      • Vocabulary
      • Grammar

      Materials

      People

      This lesson can be for an individual child or adapted for a larger group, ideally for preschool or kindergarten, or a beginning ELL student

      Updated on 1/16/17 11:17 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 1/16/17 11:17 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Link4fun Lesson Plan: Learning About Textures

      Lesson Overview

      Learn about different textures through the animals in the Link4fun Wild Animals book.

      Updated on 1/10/17 9:30 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 1/10/17 9:30 PM

      Interviews from the Field

      Interviews from the Field: Kristy Johnson

      Kristy Johnson is a mother of a child with significant special needs, as well as a researcher in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders. While she has always been very involved in science and engineering, her son greatly influenced her decision to pursue research in this field. Her current research is focused on designing a device that engages children who have neurodevelopmental disorders using the gold standard principles of therapy. Kristy provides wonderful insight into being a parent of a child with special needs (and a parent to an infant), conducting research in her field, being married to someone who also works in academia, and balancing these aspects of her life. Kristy has a strong passion to provide children with the materials they need to thrive.

      Updated on 1/8/17 9:51 PM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 1/8/17 9:51 PM

      Global Autism Awareness

      为在中国传播自闭症的信息助力 (Help Spread the Word About Autism in China)

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

      Updated on 12/10/16 8:09 AM

      Updated by Sihan Yang on 12/10/16 8:09 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Autism and Language

      Autism & Emotions

      How to Foster Social Skills Development at School: A Guide for Teachers and School Counselors

      Social Skills & Autism 

      Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by deficits in social communication and interaction. This can include challenges in social-emotional reciprocity and non-verbal communication used in social interactions. This can often lead to children with autism having a hard time developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with their peers.

      Stages Learning Emotion Cards

      Updated on 12/8/16 8:54 PM

      Updated by Courtney Chase on 12/8/16 8:54 PM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Global Autism Awareness

      辨别自闭症的迹象和症状 (Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Autism)

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

       

      你曾经担心过你的孩子有自闭症的征兆,但是你却不知道去寻求谁的帮助,也不知道怎么找到确诊的途径吗?

      Updated on 12/7/16 8:26 PM

      Updated by Michelle Kuras on 12/7/16 8:26 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 8:24 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 12/7/16 8:24 PM

      Current News and Research

      In the News: Autism Research

      This current news release is provided by Stages Learning. Stages Learning provides award winning learning tools and other resources for children with autism for parents, teachers, and therapists.

      Updated on 12/7/16 2:12 AM

      Updated by Marina Ebert, M.A., Ed.M., Ph.D. candidate on 12/7/16 2:12 AM

      First Person Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism and the Holidays: Advice from the Front Lines

      Navigating the holidays with autism

      The time has come for families and friends to get together and celebrate. This particular time of the year means many things: inviting extended family over, wrapping presents, pie, singing, joy, worshipping, and making cookies! However, holidays also mean a messed up routine, sensory chaos, and unwritten social rules.

      Updated on 11/29/16 8:53 AM

      Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 11/29/16 8:53 AM

      Interviews from the Field

      Interviews from the Field: Sarah Scruton

      Sarah Scruton is an English teacher at Triton Regional High School in Byfield, MA. Although Sarah is a general education teacher, she provides excellent insight into how to make accommodations for students with special needs within an inclusive classroom, the pros and cons of being a teacher, alternative assessment, and advice for future educators. Furthermore, Sarah strongly believes that if a student is separated from the classroom due to their learning needs, they are also being separated from the overall school culture.

      Updated on 11/18/16 8:02 AM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 11/18/16 8:02 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Practicing Math and Engineering Skills with Blocks

      Lesson Overview

      Using the Language Builder Blocks and customized dice, children practice math and engineering skills in this creative challenge.

      Updated on 11/17/16 11:10 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 11/17/16 11:10 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Hide and Seek with Blocks Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Play this twist on hide and seek to teach collaboration and teamwork.

      Updated on 11/16/16 11:10 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 11/16/16 11:10 AM

      Interviews from the Field

      Interviews from the Field: Timothy Jepson

      Timothy Jepson teaches chemistry to sophomores at Triton Regional High School in Byfield, Massachusetts. Although he teaches general education, it is imperative that he make accommodations within his classroom for students who have special needs. Additionally, Timothy has a strong belief that high-stakes testing can interfere with the quality of education. Throughout our conversation, Timothy provided excellent insight into being a general education teacher, providing accommodations for students with special needs, and advice for aspiring teachers.

      Updated on 11/15/16 8:04 AM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 11/15/16 8:04 AM

      Autism Technology

      Interactive Bridging Books for Early Literacy: Research White Paper

      This White Paper was written by Consulting Services for Education in order to better understand the learning impact of the newest Stages Learning product: Link4Fun Books.

      These "bridging" books are designed to support early literacy using innovative new technology and research best practices in order to pair the advantages of traditional print based books with the interactivity available on an iPad. This report can also be downloaded as a PDF. (link)

      See Link4Fun books for more information.

      ---------------------------------

      Summary 

      Link4Fun Books are printed children’s picture books that are placed next to an iPad or other digital device to provide synchronized interactive content. As the young reader turns a page the action triggers the device to display digital content that compliments the content of the physical book and provides an interactive and engaging learning experience.

      Updated on 11/14/16 8:59 AM

      Updated by John Richards, Ph.D. and Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed., MLIS on 11/14/16 8:59 AM

      Interviews from the Field

      Interviews from the Field: Stephanie Hicks

      As a behavior analyst, Stephanie Hicks experiences the field of special education through multiple lenses. Stephanie works mainly with classroom teachers, parents and a variety of therapists on how to manage and teach behaviors to children with autism. In addition to observing behaviors and writing plans to increase or decrease those behaviors, Stephanie finds it extremely important to consider other factors while writing a plan for a child. She carefully considers developmental milestones, relationships, school anxiety, sensory issues and anything else that may influence behaviors. Additionally, Stephanie conducts workshops regarding new research and strategies for working with students who have autism.

      Updated on 11/13/16 1:51 PM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 11/13/16 1:51 PM

      About Autism

      Autism & Transitions

      First Person Autism

      Autism & Career Options

      Work Environments, Adjustments for Employees with Autism

      Advice for entering the job world

      It is common knowledge that people with disabilities tend to experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment. Many employers seem to be unwilling to give disabled individuals a chance when they feel that their company’s success is at stake. However, according to the latest employment statistics, autistic adults are the most unemployed group when all individuals with disabilities are compared. The social idiosyncrasies of this group may lead employers to believe that they cannot complete the necessary tasks for the position, which is clearly an incorrect assumption. As someone with Asperger’s, I too have struggled to find full time employment, but my knowledge of what makes an ideal working environment has been very helpful with my journey. I would like to share my thoughts in this regard, and I hope that you find my advice to be beneficial as you enter the working world.

      Updated on 11/11/16 9:59 AM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 11/11/16 9:59 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Practicing Number Skills with Blocks Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Use the Language Builder Blocks as a quick way to practice number skills.

      Updated on 11/2/16 8:54 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 11/2/16 8:54 PM

      About Autism

      Inclusive Education

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Parents Guide to Bullying for Children with Autism

      What is bullying?

      Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as:

      “Unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance and the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

      There are three types of bullying: verbal, social, and physical. All three types of bullying can have serious, long-lasting effects on children. Therefore, it is important to teach children the appropriate strategies to deal with a bullying situation should they ever encounter one.

      Updated on 10/30/16 1:26 PM

      Updated by Courtney Chase on 10/30/16 1:26 PM

      Autism Technology

      Autism & Career Options

      A New Education: Teaching Coding to Students with Autism

      Although many students with autism possess incredible talents and abilities, especially related to spatial reasoning, only about 10 to 20 percent of adults with autism are employed (Born, 2011; Kavilanz, 2016). Providing code education to students with autism is not only critical for providing these students with a fulfilling and enjoyable educational experience, but also for their success as adults.

      Updated on 10/27/16 8:28 AM

      Updated by Irina Uk on 10/27/16 8:28 AM

      First Person Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      How To Make Life Easier for a Person Who Uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

      As an autistic person, I am very familiar with AAC. I use it, and I am around others who use it too. Because it is AAC awareness month, I thought this was a good opportunity to write about it.

      Updated on 10/24/16 5:28 PM

      Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 10/24/16 5:28 PM

      Early Childhood Education

      Inclusive Education

      Autism and Language

      Let's Build: How Playing With Blocks Benefits Children

      It’s no surprise that colorful building blocks are a staple in early childhood centers, given the robust research that supports benefits gained from playing with blocks. Besides the simple joy in building and creating, playing with blocks improves literacy and storytelling skills, builds engineering and mathematical concepts, and teaches young children about communication and collaboration.

      Updated on 10/22/16 8:00 AM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 10/22/16 8:00 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Improv Storytelling with Blocks Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      This lesson will build storytelling skills in a hilarious, creative way.

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Storytelling
      • Gross motor development
      • Geometry, numerical skills
      • Communication skills

      Materials

      People

      Play with just one child or in small groups of preschool/kindergarten children

      Setup

      Find a space with room to spread out the blocks.

      Updated on 10/21/16 12:21 PM

      Updated by Sophia Chung on 10/21/16 12:21 PM

      Brain Parade

      11 Classroom Management Strategies for Children with Special Needs

      Strategies to use with your students

      Inclusion is a great thing. Children with special needs are no longer isolated in “Special Ed” classrooms and only seen on the playground or in the lunchroom. Kids with special needs thrive in the presence of their peers. There are so many lessons that children with special needs can learn from other kids, and so many friendships to be formed.

      Updated on 10/15/16 9:41 PM

      Updated by Jim McClafferty on 10/15/16 9:41 PM

      About Autism

      First Person Autism

      Autism Explained

      An Autistic Woman Explains Common Autism Characteristics and Misconceptions

      Basics- What is autism?

      Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder. It is a condition that affects every part of a person’s life. Autism is diagnosed by looking at the three ‘pillars’ of autism:

      • Repetitive behavior
      • Language
      • Communication

      So, let’s take a closer look at these things. (If you would like to learn more the National Autistic Society has some great information)

      Updated on 10/9/16 2:30 PM

      Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 10/9/16 2:30 PM

      About Autism

      First Person Autism

      Author Catlaina Vrana On Her New Book “Ella Autie”

      Hi! My name is Catlaina, and I am the author of "Ella Autie". "Ella Autie" was a book made for my senior project. Here is a quick summary:

      Updated on 10/8/16 2:53 PM

      Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 10/8/16 2:53 PM

      First Person Autism

      Book Review: The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

      Whenever I sit down to write a new blog entry, I mentally acknowledge the importance of self-advocacy in the lives of people with autism. It is vital that we tell others how we are feeling and what we are thinking, so that the community can understand our needs. I write these blog entries for similar reasons, and I appreciate the opportunity to tell family members and professionals about my experiences so that they can learn from them. However, I have recently read a book where a 13-year-old boy with autism describes the thought processes and emotions that result in his autistic traits. This book, titled “The Reason I Jump,” is a vital resource for those who are seeking to understand children who are on the lower end of the autism spectrum, and I enjoyed reading it very much.

      Updated on 9/27/16 8:00 AM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 9/27/16 8:00 AM

      Autism & Emotions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Strategies for Responding to Rude Comments About Your Child’s Behavior

       *Print out out Free Card to give to a stranger when your child is having a difficult time in public.

      The “Five W’s”: Choosing when to be an ambassador for autism and when to walk away

      Children with autism and their families often find themselves in uncomfortable situations during encounters with strangers. Despite much more widespread awareness about autism, strangers can be outright rude, insensitive, or simply ill informed. Any parent wants to step in and defend their own child, but for parents of children with autism, there often is an even stronger desire to defend and protect their child. These psychologically demanding public encounters with strangers are confusing, hurtful, and stressful for parents and children (Ryan, 2010).

      Updated on 9/26/16 10:48 AM

      Updated by Marina Ebert, M.A., Ed.M., Ph.D. candidate on 9/26/16 10:48 AM

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Cool Down Spaces: Best Practices for Managing Challenging Behaviors in the Classroom or the Home

      Parents and teachers can feel confused and uncomfortable when students shout, cry, or act in ways that appear developmentally or culturally inappropriate. It’s helpful to learn who you can turn to for training or advice on behavior management and it’s equally useful to learn a few strategies to help children regulate their emotions and, in turn, their behaviors.

      Updated on 9/19/16 1:13 PM

      Updated by Briana Brukilacchio on 9/19/16 1:13 PM

      Interviews from the Field

      Janet Sauer: Parent, Professional and Educator

      Interviews from the field

      As a Special Education Associate Professor at Lesley University, a parent of a child with special needs, and a previous K-12 educator, Janet Sauer has many insights into the field of special education. Janet has a passion for social justice, as well as inclusive education for all students. Through our conversation, it was clear that Janet believes that the structural aspect of our education system can sometimes be what hinders inclusive education. Therefore, a major focus of her research is to find a way to change the system to benefit all students.

      Updated on 9/19/16 12:07 PM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 9/19/16 12:07 PM

      Autism and Physical Spaces

      Creating Spaces that Work for Children with Autism

      If you’re like me, there’s nothing more appealing than a home renovation show where a grand reveal shows furniture that is perfectly staged and pristine. As a teacher, this enthusiasm for design and decoration carried over to my classroom even though I was often tasked with making the best out of discarded furniture, fixed bookshelves, and dollar-store items rather than a design team and unlimited budget. Over the years, I learned what design concerns and investments in furniture and materials were worth my time, resources, and energy and what was not.  Ultimately, classrooms are just as, if not more important, than any grand home makeover as it is within those spaces that we, as educators, provide the learning opportunities and experiences of our students.

      Updated on 9/15/16 9:29 AM

      Updated by Rebecca Pagitt-Mungai on 9/15/16 9:29 AM

      Autism Technology

      Stages Learning Serves as Incubator for New Harvard Graduate Student Interns

      Back-to-school energy was in the air at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Fall Intern Fair where Stages Learning staff met and recruited eager and passionate new students who are excited about working with the autism community and are curious about how to leverage innovation and technology to reach young learners.

      Updated on 9/13/16 8:50 AM

      Updated by Rebecca Pagitt-Mungai & Kristen Nichols on 9/13/16 8:50 AM

      First Person Autism

      A Special Thank You to a Special Teacher

      A Former Student with Autism Shares his Gratitude for a Teacher that Helped Him Succeed

      When I was growing up, school was very rough for me. I struggled with many of the same social and emotional challenges that many others on the spectrum had, and each day I am thankful for the fact that I survived. However, there were some school years that were better than others. I smile as I remember certain teachers who encouraged me to try my best and were forgiving of the challenges that I had, and I remember other teachers with frustration as memories of meltdowns and misunderstandings play in my mind. I could write an entire book about the latter, but I now want to focus on a teacher who truly helped me as I attempted to succeed in a mainstream elementary school setting. I will give her the pseudonym of “Mrs. Johnson,” although this teacher deserves to be known.

      Updated on 9/12/16 10:27 AM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 9/12/16 10:27 AM

      About Autism

      Stages Learning Top Resources for Autism

      Our favorite resources around the web

      Stages Learning has compiled a selective list of high quality resources and support information for parents, teachers, and families. Please contact us by filling out the form at the bottom of the page if you would like to suggest a resource for us to consider.

      Updated on 8/31/16 1:55 PM

      Updated by Marina Ebert, M.A., Ed.M., Ph.D. candidate on 8/31/16 1:55 PM

      Interviews from the Field

      Interviews from the Field: Casey Bryn McCarthy

      Interviews from the field

      As a speech-language pathologist working in Early Intervention, Casey Bryn McCarthy has a passion for communication and expression. Her passion for communication developed at an early age after working with children who have special needs. At fourteen years old, she began working at summer camps and volunteering at daycare centers, where she gained experience working with children with a diverse range of skills. Through these opportunities, Casey became particularly interested in children who have autism and cerebral palsy, and she now works with these children on a daily basis.

      Casey Bryn McCarthy

      Casey attended Wheelock College for her undergraduate education where she studied Developmental Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Education. She then attended the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she received a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. During graduate school, Casey participated in a 6-month clinical placement within the Augmentative Communication Program and Autism Language Program at Boston Children’s Hospital working with children with complex communication needs, including those with autism spectrum disorders. Casey has been working as a speech-language pathologist for almost a year now, and it was clear from our discussion that she has a strong belief that all children deserve access to a means of communication.

      Updated on 8/29/16 3:35 PM

      Updated by Kasey Salvatore on 8/29/16 3:35 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Building Vocabulary with U-Play Mat Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use the U-Play Mat to practice identifying, categorizing, and communicating with vocabulary words. Each part of the lesson plan can be extended or shortened depending on the needs of the child.

      Updated on 8/23/16 7:37 AM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 8/23/16 7:37 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Strong Start: Back to School Tips

      Tips for getting back into gear for the school year

      Summer is an important time to take a break from school routines, spend time with the family, and explore extracurricular interests. However, the transition from the more laid-back schedule of the summer to that of the school year can be stressful for students and parents alike. This article offers tips to help you and your child with your back-to-school transition.

      Updated on 8/20/16 2:11 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 8/20/16 2:11 PM

      Health & Nutrition

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      6 Strategies to Prepare Your Child for Back to School, Haircuts, Hospital Visits, And More!

      Preparing Your Child with Autism for the New Year

      Activities that are comforting, thrilling, or intolerable to people with autism can vary considerably from what a neuro-typical child or adult may experience in the same situation. For example, haircuts or birthday parties can be extremely unpleasant. Carly Fleischmann, a woman with autism, wrote a book about her experiences and a team of talented disability rights allies helped her produce this video, demonstrating her experience within a coffee shop.

      Updated on 8/14/16 2:27 PM

      Updated by Briana Brukilacchio on 8/14/16 2:27 PM

      First Person Autism

      The Positive Side of Autism

      Note: Nathan Hughes is a writer who works for Stages Learning. He provides an inside view of his experiences living with autism. Stages Learning is dedicated to providing our community with useful articles relating to autism. For more about our products and resources for children please see our collection of learning tools.

      Updated on 8/4/16 9:33 AM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 8/4/16 9:33 AM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Autism

      Knowing What to Look for with Autism

      Have you ever worried that your child is exhibiting symptoms of autism, but had no one to go to and no understanding of how to acquire a diagnosis and ensure that your child will receive the help they need?

      Updated on 8/1/16 2:20 PM

      Updated by Michelle Kuras on 8/1/16 2:20 PM

      Autism and Language

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      “What Happens Next?”: Strategies for Teaching Your Child Sequencing Skills

      Sequencing is the ability to logically order events, images, thoughts, and actions. Why is sequencing important for children?

      Updated on 7/24/16 11:12 AM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 7/24/16 11:12 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Sequencing Cards Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use sequencing cards to review vocabulary words and practice ordering events.

      Download Lesson Plan:

      Skills Practiced

      • Picture identification and vocabulary
      • Fine and gross motor development
      • Conceptualization skills
      • Communication skills
      • Sequencing skills 

      Materials

      People

      This lesson is designed for 1:1 instruction with a teacher or therapist. It can also be adapted for use with a small group of 2-4 students.

      Updated on 7/23/16 12:30 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 7/23/16 12:30 PM

      First Person Autism

      Top Blogs by People with Autism

      Nathan Hughes has curated a collection of the most useful and interesting blogs that are written by people like himself: People with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nathan’s selections reflect a variety of experiences and provide advice, wisdom, experiences, poetry and art from people with ASD who are reaching out to help others.

      Updated on 7/16/16 6:49 AM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 7/16/16 6:49 AM

      Inclusive Education

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Transition: A Guide to College Readiness and Applications for Students with Autism

      Tips and Strategies for Transitioning to College with Autism

      Of the roughly 50,000 young Americans with autism who graduate from high school each year, less than 7,000 end up with a college degree (Wei et al 2015). This discouraging statistic has given rise to countless transition programs that we hope will allow more students to enroll in appropriate postsecondary programs, benefit from their time on campus, and enter rewarding careers. A series of steps from transition meetings to college admissions, outlined below, function as a roadmap for teens and parents who have set their sights on higher education.

      Updated on 7/1/16 11:54 AM

      Updated by Briana Brukilacchio on 7/1/16 11:54 AM

      Language Builder App

      Building Language: What Does the Research Say?

      Understanding the research on language development

      Think of a weekend visit to a park swarming with children. Kids playing soccer, kids swinging on the monkey bars, kids talking a mile a minute, kids climbing the jungle gym. Chances are a few of those kids have autism, a condition that affects 1 in 68 people. These kids have difficulties with their social communication, and often have restricted interests or repetitive patterns of behaviour.

      Updated on 6/30/16 12:41 PM

      Updated by Hayley Vininsky, M.S., BCBA on 6/30/16 12:41 PM

      First Person Autism

      Autism & Career Options

      Career Choices for People with Autism: First Hand Advice

      Finding a Job that Matches Your Skills

      Many people struggle with finding a job and establishing a career for themselves. In addition, there are often multiple applicants for only one job vacancy, which can be discouraging to any jobseeker. However, for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD), this search is often much more difficult. The social difficulties that result from ASD can cause these individuals to struggle in job interviews and in finding a work environment that is appropriate for their needs. When I look at my own experiences as someone who has ASD, finding stable employment has always been difficult for me. However, I have learned lessons during my journey that may be helpful for individuals with ASD, their parents and their teachers as they transition into the world of work.

      Updated on 6/28/16 12:15 PM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 6/28/16 12:15 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Bingo Generator Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Students will review vocabulary words and play bingo using Stages Learning Bingo Generator Cards. Students can also review vocabulary in foreign languages since the Bingo Generator Cards are available in Spanish and French.

      Updated on 6/22/16 2:17 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 6/22/16 2:17 PM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      The Talk: Speaking with Your Child About Autism

      Approaching the discussion with your child

      Many parents are unsure about how to speak to their child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) about the diagnosis. Parents may fear a number of reactions: that their child will not understand, become angry or depressed, or use ASD as an excuse for why he or she cannot do some things. While some children can find the news upsetting, the information can also come as a relief, as found by a group of researchers that interviewed 9 individuals with high-functioning ASD, aged 16 to 21. Most children reported feeling a sense of shock and disbelief when first informed of the diagnosis, but seemed able to incorporate the idea of “having ASD” into their identity by the time of the interview. Some expressed that learning that they were on the autism spectrum helped them understand why they had experienced various difficulties and had been treated differently. It also provided a reason for their behavior that they thought others might understand (Huws & Jones, 2008).

      Updated on 6/21/16 1:11 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 6/21/16 1:11 PM

      First Person Autism

      My Thoughts on School Experiences and Being on the Autism Spectrum

      First Hand Experiences of Being a Student with Autism

      As an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I have found myself reflecting on both the challenges and strengths that my differences have brought me. On one hand, I had a rather hellish experience with school for much of my kindergarten through twelfth grade career, and I had social difficulties that resulted in my not having many friends growing up. On the other hand, academics and computer-related skills were always easy for me and the unique personality that my autism helped to create (although misunderstood at times) was occasionally endearing to people. Although this is clearly a mixed bag of positives and negatives, I am very proud of who I am and I cannot even imagine how being any different would improve my quality of life. 

      Updated on 6/17/16 2:16 PM

      Updated by Nathan Hughes on 6/17/16 2:16 PM

      About Autism

      Raising Money for Autism? Find Out Where Your Dollars Go

      Guidance on Raising Money for Autism Support

      If you are helping raise money for autism research, advocacy, or other programs related to autism, it is wise to follow the advice of Charity Navigator: Your Guide to Intelligent Giving. They recommend, at minimum, that at least 50% of money raised goes toward the actual program, and most types of charities stay upward of the 65 to 75% mark. But for some of the organizations listed below, money raised goes straight to staff and administrative costs because staff are involved in carrying out the mission of the organization, rather than just engaging in raising funds (such as research or lobbying efforts) - or because the organization is complex, has a large administrative structure, and is attempting to achieve many diverse.

      Updated on 6/8/16 2:04 PM

      Updated by Briana Brukilacchio on 6/8/16 2:04 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Feelings Box Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview

      Students will review the Emotion Flash Cards and create their own chart depicting various emotions. Students will then think of emotions they show outside and inside to make a feelings box.

      Updated on 5/30/16 11:35 AM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 5/30/16 11:35 AM

      About Autism

      Global Autism Awareness

      Spreading the Word in Pakistan: Global Autism Awareness Project

      Stages Learning is committed to helping people with autism around the world. In 2016 we founded the Global Autism Awareness Project (GAAP) in collaboration with students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

      Updated on 5/19/16 7:00 AM

      Updated by Myra LalDin on 5/19/16 7:00 AM

      About Autism

      Global Autism Awareness

      Syrian Refugees with Autism Are Given a Second Chance

      For Our Readers: Stages Learning started a new service project in January of 2016: The Global Autism Awareness Project (GAAP). Partnering with students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education we are working to destigmatize autism around the world and provide information to help children receive early diagnoses and find treatment.

      Updated on 5/16/16 9:40 AM

      Updated by Guest Author - Melissa Diamond (Founder/Director, A Global Voice for Autism) on 5/16/16 9:40 AM

      About Autism

      Autism Goes to Hollywood: Our Favorite Documentaries, Movies and TV Shows Depicting Characters with Autism

      And…action! As there is growing awareness about autism, the media is also increasingly portraying characters with autism and those who are on the spectrum. How autism is portrayed in entertainment can have a significant impact on how our society understands people with autism. While some representations can be stereotypical and misleading, others can be more complex and realistic, showing the diversity and multidimensional humanity of people who are on the spectrum.

      Updated on 5/9/16 8:00 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 5/9/16 8:00 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 4:23 PM

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

      Que es Autismo?

      Antecedentes Sobre La Enseñanza del Lenguaje del Autismo con Imágenes

      Cuando los niños muy pequeños empiezan a aprender las habilidades del lenguaje, ellos aprenden palabras nuevas y conectan la palabra dictada al objeto actual (Richard & Goldfarb, 1986). Por ejemplo, si los padres repiten la palabra “coche”, cada vez que ellos llevan su niño al coche, el niño va a aprender rápidamente que la palabra “coche” representa el coche real.

      Updated on 4/1/16 4:12 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 4/1/16 4:12 PM

      About Autism

      5 Ways We Can Make the World More Autism Friendly

      What it Means to be Autism Friendly and How You Can Help

      An exciting and fast moving effort is under way to create “Autism Friendly” spaces so that children and adults with autism can feel more supported and families can better enjoy visits to the theater, restaurants, and even just going out for ice cream. More businesses are tuning in to ways that they can provide welcoming spaces for individuals with autism: doctors offices, airports, grocery stores, and clothing stores are all finding ways to accommodate sensory needs and provide emotional support for all of their customers.

      Updated on 4/1/16 1:12 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 4/1/16 1:12 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Animal Cards Dance Party

      Lesson Overview

      Students will make an animal that they would most like to be or admire in some way. Students will then choose a song that their animal likes and move their animal to the rhythm of the music. Students will then listen to various types of music and choose other animals to move, following the rhythm of the song. Students will then see how different animals might interact with each other. This is an early childhood activity that can be adapted to special needs students by breaking down the activities and reinforcing the steps separately. Students can build skills that they can use to interact with their peers.

      Updated on 4/1/16 8:01 AM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 4/1/16 8:01 AM

      Global Autism Awareness

      Help Spread the Word about Autism in China


      Before I came to study in the US seven months ago, “autism” was just a word I memorized when I prepared for standardized tests. I seldom encountered the word in a contextualized situation in my life, and I never concerned myself with people who lived with this word.

      Updated on 3/31/16 8:55 PM

      Updated by Sihan Yang on 3/31/16 8:55 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      What Just Happened?

      Lesson Overview

      Students will verbalize an inference about the events leading up to a visual scene by explaining “what just happened” in response to visual cues.

      Updated on 2/22/16 5:00 AM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 2/22/16 5:00 AM

      About Autism

      Autism and Art Therapy: Four Beneficial Treatment Options

      Finding the Form of Art Therapy That Works Best for Your Child

      For more than 70 years, creative arts therapies such as visual art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, and drama therapy have been used in psychotherapy or counseling with individuals of all ages, particularly children. A credentialed professional who has completed an approved program in a specific creative arts therapy specialization can help build life skills and promote healthy self-expression in children with autism. Often used in conjunction with behavioral treatments and medication, these alternative or complimentary creative arts treatments have a broad range of options available.

      Updated on 2/21/16 5:10 PM

      Updated by Grace Chen on 2/21/16 5:10 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Occupation Card Perspective-Taking

      Lesson Overview

      Students will infer how professionals feel at work by verbally elaborating on visuals from occupation cards.

      Updated on 1/26/16 10:42 PM

      Updated by Marysa Sheren, M.Ed. Technology, Innovation, and Education on 1/26/16 10:42 PM

      About Autism

      The Therapeutic Power of Pets for Children with Autism

      Jackson Tillman is in third grade, lives in Kentucky, and has autism. The biggest challenge Jackson’s family has is that when a situation becomes overwhelming Jackson bolts, and when Jackson is with his grandmother she can’t keep up. That’s where Jackson’s buddy Mateo comes in. Mateo is a two-year-old Labradoodle with short curly locks. He is the first autism service dog in Kentucky.

      Updated on 1/26/16 10:13 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 1/26/16 10:13 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Emotion Card Holiday Stories

      Lesson Overview

      Students will match December holiday vocabulary words with emotion cards by creating a holiday sentence. 

      Updated on 12/18/15 3:50 PM

      Updated by Marysa Sheren, M.Ed. Technology, Innovation, and Education on 12/18/15 3:50 PM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Grandparent's Guide to Shopping for a Grandchild who has Autism

       As a grandparent it can be a struggle to find presents for a granddaughter or grandson who has autism. Sometimes traditional gifts can backfire for the child with autism.

      Updated on 12/18/15 8:48 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 12/18/15 8:48 AM

      About Autism

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      How to Enjoy the Holidays with a Loved One Who Has Autism

      Holidays can be a time of great joy and excitement, but they can also be stressful and disruptive. For families who have children with autism, extra planning is essential to keep everyone on an even keel. Managing expectations about what a holiday “should” be like, and minimizing the changes that will occur in your family routine will help reduce stress and avoid meltdowns.

      Updated on 12/18/15 8:41 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 12/18/15 8:41 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 11/17/15 9:09 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 11/17/15 9:09 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Building Basic Letter Knowledge with U-Play Mat

      Lesson Overview

      In this activity, children will work on recognizing beginning letters of words and will find corresponding plastic letter to build basic letter knowledge. 

      Updated on 11/17/15 5:00 PM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 11/17/15 5:00 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 10/1/15 10:11 PM

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

      About Autism

      Health & Nutrition

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Autism Parents: How Do You Rate on Self-Care?

      As a parent our needs are often the first to be postponed or set aside. Sometimes there is no choice: we have to attend to the immediate needs of our children. But in the long run we could be doing significant damage to our physical and emotional health by not attending to our own needs. And if our health and emotional well-being is compromised this is likely to have an impact on how well we are able to care for our children.

      Updated on 10/1/15 9:20 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 10/1/15 9:20 PM

      Autism Treatment Options

      Using Sensory Tools to Help Kids Focus and Concentrate

      Using sensory tools in your practice can provide a more focused, content and alert individual. Whether you are a specialist using ABA, speech and language techniques, occupational therapy interventions or teaching lessons, keeping the sensory needs of your children in mind while using your specific therapy or teaching approach can make the difference between a calm, organized individual and one who is overwhelmed and over stimulated. What often is referred to as a sensory diet, can be implemented by simply keeping a few sensory strategies and tools at your fingertips. Lets take a look at a few elements that can help you apply sensory intervention while working with children with autism, ADHD, special needs or sensory integration dysfunction.

      Updated on 8/30/15 3:28 PM

      Updated by Ilana Danneman on 8/30/15 3:28 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Receptive Labeling Lesson Plan

       Lesson Overview:

      By touching or pointing to the appropriate card, students show that they recognize the word and can identify the corresponding picture. This activity can be prefaced by the Picture ID lesson to familiarize the student with the pictures he/she is finding.

      Updated on 7/30/15 12:15 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 7/30/15 12:15 PM

      Autism Treatment Options

      A Closer Look: Pivotal Response Training (PRT)

      Overview

      Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a variation of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) type therapy. It focuses on more comprehensive “pivotal” areas such as increasing a child’s motivation to learn, initiate communication, and monitor their own behaviors. This focus on motivation is crucial: a child who is motivated to change their behavior will experience more success. By focusing on critical over-arching areas, the effects of treatment can carry over into many aspects of a child’s behavior and skills including social, communicative, and academic.

      Updated on 7/30/15 11:21 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 7/30/15 11:21 AM

      Autism Treatment Options

      A Closer Look: Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)

      Overview

      EIBI is a type of Applied Behavioral Analysis focused on children under five years of age. New research has shown that while intensive behavioral interventions work well with all children, children starting before the age of two were likely to make the most significant gains. For EIBI to be successful children are provided with 20 to 40 hours of one-on-one therapy and families are also incorporated into the process so that young children get as much exposure as possible.

      Updated on 7/30/15 7:41 AM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 7/30/15 7:41 AM

      Autism Treatment Options

      Effective Treatment for Autism: It’s Never Too Early to Start

       

      There are many promising treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Decades of research and a recent synthesis of 6 major research reviews indicate that the therapies listed below are all based on solid research.

      Updated on 7/29/15 3:01 PM

      Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 7/29/15 3:01 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Expressive Labeling Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      Students will practice expressive language skills by verbally identifying a picture on a card. Skills practiced include expressive language, picture identification and photo identification.

      Updated on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

      About Autism

      Health & Nutrition

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Talking about Puberty with Children with Autism

      All bodies go through puberty, regardless of the developmental "age" of a child or the level of their cognitive or academic skills. It can be startling for parents to see their child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) begin to develop an adult body and characteristics when they do not have the adult skills, reasoning, or competences to go along with it. Regardless of a child’s cognitive abilities, they will go through puberty and they will need support to understand the changes that are happening to their body, as well as assistance to know that these changes are normal and not something to be scared of. Children with ASD will also benefit from understanding about the social rules that accompany puberty, including those that relate to privacy, hygiene, and relationships with others. While schools teach about puberty and sex education in their health or wellness programs, children with autism often need much more explicit instruction about these topics than what they receive in school. Therefore it often becomes the parents’ responsibility to teach about these topics in a way that will be accurate, meaningful, and appropriate to their child with ASD.

      Updated on 6/30/15 9:27 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/30/15 9:27 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 4:50 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 5/30/15 4:50 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Picture ID Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      Students will learn picture identification based on word association. Skills practiced include receptive language and photo discrimination.

      Updated on 5/30/15 10:05 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 5/30/15 10:05 AM

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      3 Ways to Build Skills for Transition Now!

      Planning for a young adult with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other special needs to transition from special education to adult services can be overwhelming for children and their parents alike! Many parents are so intimidated by the transition process that they refuse to think about it until their child turns 14 and a statement about that student’s transition services is required by law to be in their individual education program (IEP), or age 16 when those services must start to be implemented. Other parents may think that they don't need to consider transition until their child is older since the actual transition from special education doesn't happen until students turn 21 (or the age at which special education services end in their state). However, as with any change, the sooner parents and their children start preparing for transition, the smoother the actual shift from special education will likely be.  Despite what some may think, there are skills that can be taught to children at a young age that will make any transition easier as they get older. Three of these skills and the importance of implementing them at home are discussed below:

      Updated on 4/27/15 11:42 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/27/15 11:42 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Guess Who Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      Students increase their understanding of jobs, tools used for certain jobs and identify features of particular workers by guessing which occupation the teacher is describing.

      Updated on 4/22/15 2:14 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/22/15 2:14 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Tell Me About Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      Students will learn job identification and better understanding of tools and identifying features of particular workers as they respond to the prompt, "Tell me about..." to describe a worker and/or a worker’s job as depicted on Language Builder Occupation Cards.

      Updated on 4/22/15 2:07 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 4/22/15 2:07 PM

      Autism & Emotions

      Autism & Transitions

      Advice for Parents and Caregivers

      Grief and Loss: Helping Children with Autism Cope

      Coping with the death of a loved one is difficult for everyone. The idea of death can be particularly scary for kids, and the thought of not being able to see or talk to a loved one again may be confusing and overwhelming.

      Updated on 3/25/15 11:00 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/25/15 11:00 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Identical Matching Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      This lesson plan teaches fine motor and receptive language skills in order to have students match identical pictures of familiar objects.

      Updated on 3/18/15 9:22 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/18/15 9:22 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Adjectives Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      This lesson plan focuses on the uses of adjectives and other descriptive terms to discuss the attributes of objects shown in the pictures with a teacher, and develops picture identification and vocabulary skills.
      In a Hurry? Download a print-friendly version of this lesson plan:

      Updated on 3/16/15 12:48 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/16/15 12:48 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Functions Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      This lesson plan practices sentence building, picture identification and vocabulary development. Students look at pictures of objects and describe the function of each item.

      Updated on 3/16/15 9:52 AM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 3/16/15 9:52 AM

      About Autism

      Autism is on the Rise

      Autism – you see it on the news; hear about it from advocacy campaigns like Autism Speaks [1]; you may know someone whose life is affected by someone with the diagnosis. Undoubtedly, there are students with autism in your local public schools. Simply put, autism is more prevalent than ever, and it is on the rise.

      Updated on 2/18/15 8:09 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 2/18/15 8:09 PM

      Language Builder App

      Autism Technology

      Language Builder from Stages App Updates!

      The Language Builder from Stages app was released earlier this year to high praise from long-time Stages Learning Materials customers who were looking for a digital companion to the paper flash cards they love. The app has now been used in classrooms, clinics, and homes throughout the United States, and teachers, therapists, and parents have provided us with invaluable input about improvements to make the Language Builder app even better. Stages Learning Materials is happy to announce that version 1.1 has just been released for both the Basic and Pro versions with this customer feedback in mind! The latest version of the app has some great new features, including unlimited student accounts and record keeping capabilities to track student progress, and the Pro version now offers the ability to create your own flash cards. Your favorite language builder app has been updated and is now better than ever!

      Updated on 12/7/14 3:03 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 12/7/14 3:03 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      "I Need Help" Lesson Plan

      Lesson Overview:

      This lesson plan reinforces the idea that sometimes, you just need a little help! Students use their problem-solving skills to identify when they need help, then advocate appropriately to get the assistance they need to complete a puzzle that is missing a piece.

      Updated on 10/4/14 6:26 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 10/4/14 6:26 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 4:57 PM

      Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 8/30/14 4:57 PM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Language Builder App

      Autism and Language

      Autism Technology

      Using the Language Builder App with Picture Bingo

      Lesson Description

      Students will use the “Picture Identification” activity within the Language Builder app to call out the bingo prompt.  

      Updated on 8/30/14 4:51 PM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 8/30/14 4:51 PM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Language Builder App

      Autism and Language

      Autism Technology

      Using the Language Builder App and Language Builder Cards Together

      So you’ve just downloaded the new Language Builder app. That means you can throw out all your paper flash cards right? NO!! As you may have already realized through our previous blogs, we are big proponents for blending hands-on and digital learning. There are so many ways that you can combine both digital and tangible resources to support deeper engagement.

      Our intent with the app is to complement, rather than replace, the physical products. We will begin a new blog series demonstrating ways to use your physical language builder cards and other Stages products in conjunction with the app. 

      Updated on 8/30/14 4:49 PM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 8/30/14 4:49 PM

      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 4:45 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 8/30/14 4:45 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 4:23 PM

      Updated by Hayley Vininsky, M.S., BCBA on 8/30/14 4:23 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 8:19 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 5/21/14 8:19 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 11:49 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/29/14 11:49 AM

      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 10:32 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/29/14 10:32 AM

      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 9:56 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/29/14 9:56 AM

      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 12:20 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/28/14 12:20 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 11:14 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/18/14 11:14 AM

      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 7:38 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/18/14 7:38 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 7:20 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/18/14 7:20 AM

      Early Childhood Education

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Autism Technology

      Using Apps to Support Fine Motor Development

      Most early childhood classrooms are stocked with blocks, crayons, puzzles, and many other tools that support fine motor development. With the iPad becoming ubiquitous across all subject areas in the classroom, does this mean that the manipulatives and toys we once loved no longer have a place in the classroom and will begin to collect dust? One big question continues to pop up: should we replace traditional fine motor development activities and exercises for iPad apps? 

      Updated on 4/17/14 11:55 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/17/14 11:55 AM

      About Autism

      Favorite Autism Stories of 2013

       
      As 2013 comes to a close, we look back at some of the news articles that had the biggest impact on our thinking this year.

      1. Telling your child about autism should not be the “Big Talk.” Saying that it's big makes it seem like it's bad. Read more of Brenda Rothman’s article at Huffington Post Education.

      Updated on 4/17/14 11:41 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/17/14 11:41 AM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Blending Hands-on and Digital Learning: Holiday Edition

      Building on our theme of blending hands-on and digital learning, the holidays are a great time to utilize technology to help kids understand tradition and explore not only the world around them, but also beyond their own communities. No need to stress about how to keep your kids entertained over winter break, because this week we examine photo and video apps that help build basic language skills, Santa letter writing websites to build emergent writing skills, and a video to illustrate what magic occurs inside the oven as we bake our sweet treats this season. 

      Updated on 4/17/14 11:21 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/17/14 11:21 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 10:37 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 10:37 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 10:15 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 10:15 AM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      SXSWedu Special Education Overview

      This past week Stages Learning Materials fled the arctic tundra of Boston and Cincinnati to (what we thought would be) the warmer weather of Austin, Texas and SXSWedu.

      What is SXSWedu? It is an annual conference filled with panels and discussions focusing on technology innovation and learning. SXSWedu brings together an audience of stakeholders from backgrounds ranging from business development, research, and policy to early childhood educators. Aside from the obvious draw of meaningful conversations and the live music of Austin, we were looking forward to hearing how technology is having an impact on special education and experiencing some of the latest innovations in assistive technology. 

      Updated on 4/17/14 9:29 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/17/14 9:29 AM

      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 8:56 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 8:56 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 8:47 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/17/14 8:47 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 8:58 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/16/14 8:58 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 8:38 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/16/14 8:38 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 12:37 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 12:37 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 12:17 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 12:17 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 11:40 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 11:40 AM

      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 11:29 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 11:29 AM

      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 11:07 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 11:07 AM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Blending Hands-On and Digital Learning Part 3

      Are you still on the fence about letting your child use an iPad or other mobile technologies?  The latest survey by Common Sense Media shows that even since their last survey two years ago, media habits of children have changed significantly. One large difference includes the average daily use of mobile devices. Time spent on a mobile device has tripled from 5 minutes to 15 minutes in the past two years.

      Updated on 4/15/14 10:13 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/15/14 10:13 AM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Blending Hands-On and Digital Learning Part 2

      Continuing with our series on blending digital and hands-on learning, we are going to switch focus today from one-on-one activities to ways to blend hands-on and digital learning in a whole group (classroom) setting. 

      Keeping in mind Beth Holland’s questions regarding appropriate use of screen time in early childhood, we will be exploring an appropriatemeaningful, and empowering way to teach kids features of 2-dimensional shapes using the VoiceThread app and various tangible 2-dimensional shape resources.  

      Updated on 4/15/14 8:22 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/15/14 8:22 AM

      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 8:17 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 8:17 AM

      Blending Hands-on & Digital Activities

      Blending Hands-On and Digital Learning Part 1

      Stages Learning Materials presents a new blog series to discuss blending digital and hands-on learning. Mixed messages abound when it comes to using technology in early childhood. In a recent Edutopia article, Beth Holland advises teachers and parents to look beyond all the negative screen time publicity and to ask themselves three questions when choosing to use digital materials:

        1. Is it appropriate?
        2. Is it meaningful?
        3. Is it empowering?

      Over the next couple of weeks, we will be taking Beth Holland’s advice and showcasing various examples of how you can meaningfully blend hands-on and digital learning both at home and in the classroom to meet the needs of all learners.  The following showcase will feature the Stages Lang-0-Learn Everyday Object photo flash card set paired with the Kid in a Story Book Maker App. After briefly introducing each product, we will suggest how your lesson can be strengthened by pairing the hands-on product with the digital product.

      Updated on 4/15/14 8:09 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/15/14 8:09 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 7:51 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 7:51 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 7:41 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/15/14 7:41 AM

      Que es Autismo?

      Que es autismo?

      El Autismo: Sintomas, Terapia, Materiales de apprendizage, Recursos

      Si le preocupa que su hijo o hija pueda tener autismo, y no sabe a dónde acudir, es importante que usted sepa que no está solo(a). Hay muchos casos de autismo y hay personas que han pasado por situaciones similares, muchos de los cuales están dispuestos a ayudar. En muchos casos los padres no tenían ni idea al principio, pero escucharon a sus instintos y buscaron ayuda.

      Updated on 4/14/14 2:14 PM

      Updated by Patty Martinez on 4/14/14 2:14 PM

      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 2:05 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 2:05 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 2:00 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 2:00 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 1:54 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 1:54 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 1:33 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/14/14 1:33 PM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Collaborating with Stages Cube Puzzles

      Lesson Overview

      Student will gain familiarity with the Stages Cube puzzles through hands on exploration. 

      Objectives/Goals

      • Spatial awareness and hand eye coordination
      • Peer collaboration - working with others to solve a problem. 
      • Demonstrate an increasing attention span by remaining on a task until completion. 

      Updated on 4/14/14 11:24 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/14/14 11:24 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Autism and Language

      Lang-O-Learn Everyday Objects & Kid in a Story App

      Stages Learning Materials is starting a new blog series around blending digital and hands-on learning. There are a lot of mixed messages surrounding the use of technology in early childhood. In a recent Edutopia article, Beth Holland advises teachers and parents to look beyond all the negative screen time publicity and to ask themselves three questions when choosing to use digital materials:

      1. Is it appropriate?
      2. Is it meaningful?
      3. Is it empowering?

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use Everyday Object Lang-O-Learn Cards in conjunction with Kid in a Story app to build vocabulary on common objects that can be found around the home and at school. The app enables sharing between parents, therapists, and teachers, which leads to consistency across all environments. 

      Objectives/Goals

      • Build expressive and receptive vocabulary surrounding common objects. 
      • Sharing activities across all learning environments (home, school, therapy).
      • Build digital and print literacy.

      Updated on 4/14/14 11:16 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/14/14 11:16 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Food Description Bingo

      Lesson Overview

      Using Stages Bingo sets provides children an opportunity to build various language skills through seeing and hearing new vocabulary words. 

       

      Objectives/Goals 

      • Recognizing and naming familiar foods
      • Building descriptive vocabulary. Recognizing foods by description and providing basic descriptions for foods.  

      Updated on 4/14/14 11:08 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/14/14 11:08 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Matching Things That Are the Same

      Lesson Overview

      Students will use Stages Learning Memory game to practice matching things that are the same.

      Objectives/Goals

      • Identify things that are the same. 
      • Engage in turn taking when working with others.

      Updated on 4/14/14 9:14 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/14/14 9:14 AM

      Autism & Preschool Lesson Plans

      Autism & Emotions

      Identifying Feelings with Emotion Cards

      Lesson Plan Overview

      Use Stages Emotion Cards with literature to support a child's recognition of facial emotions and feelings in various contexts.

      Objectives/Goals

      • Learn and name parts of the human face.
      • Learn that people carry many cues to identify how they feel.
      • Learn that facial expressions change as emotions change.

      Updated on 4/14/14 8:56 AM

      Updated by Lindsey Dunn, Ed.M. on 4/14/14 8:56 AM

      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 8:08 AM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/12/14 8:08 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 2:33 PM

      Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/10/14 2:33 PM

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