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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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Topics: Early Childhood Education, Inclusive Education, Advice for Parents and Caregivers, COVID-19 Emergency Response, Infant/Toddler (0-3), Elementary (4-12), Teen (13-17), Young Adult (18-21), Parents, Adult (22+), Articles
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students will learn picture identification based on word association. Skills practiced include receptive language and photo discrimination.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Students will use Stages Learning Memory game to practice matching things that are the same.