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Using Multisensory Resources for Children with Autism

by Sarah K Major February 04, 2016

Using Multisensory Resources for Children with Autism

Although many children with autism are able to read, some parents find that comprehension can be an area of concern. Many special education teachers and parents of autistic children believe that children with autism learn best with hands-on or very colorful activities. Books with pictures, audio books, and touch and feel books all work well. 

We’ve received positive feedback from many parents of children with autism who used our visual and kinesthetic products. The Easy-for-Me™ Reading Program specifically addresses the need for hands-on practice, visuals, explicit phonics instruction, and sight word recognition via visuals—all strategies critical to the learning process for children with autism.

What are some good teaching strategies for children with autism and Asperger’s?

Children with autism and Asperger's need to be purposefully taught in areas in which they are less strong, using visuals as often as possible. They need highly structured learning experiences, and as they tend to think in pictures, need plentiful visuals and concrete objects used in their learning.

Why are images so important for children with autism learning to read?

We have come to the point in our society where every child seems to need a label and one that details specifically how he learns or doesn’t learn. We have visual learner, tactile learner, dyslexic learner, autistic, and many, many other labels. The implication is that each of those types of learners requires a specific set of directions for how to teach them successfully. In doing research, however, and as I have read the experts in each of the most common areas of disability, one element keeps on showing up: the fact that so many of these non-traditional learners learn best through pictures and hands-on lessons.

Why is a multisensory teaching approach best and what does one look like?

What does it really mean when we say multisensory? The accepted, traditional teaching techniques typically used in the classroom meet the needs of (left-brained) sequential learners. Concepts are introduced in a stepby step sequence and are practiced and reviewed using drill and memorization; children must also show evidence of their learning in a particular time frame. This is all very good for children who are left-brained or sequential learners. The problem is, of course, that while the approach to teaching is great for those children who are sequential, every learner is taught this way and this traditional approach is ineffective at best for all the non-sequential learners. 

We combine all the needs of many learners into one line of products

  • We use pictures to carry learning information – a powerful strategy for teaching and learning that is essential for beginners, for children who are strongly visual in their learning preference, those who are strongly right-brained, for children identified with various learning disabilities including (but not limited to) dyslexia, autism, auditory processing disorder, and more.
  • We incorporate meaningful movement into our materials – not just repetitive movements such as bouncing or swinging a leg. In our resources, the body movement is tied to the concept the child is learning so it becomes another hook for remembering.
  • We use stories that serve to glue together the various elements/details of what the child is learning. When the child remembers the story, she will also recall all the things she learned via the story.
  • We use metaphors and analogies to concepts your child is already familiar with in order to provide your child with links to understanding and hooks for remembering.

What do I need?

TEACH READING K-1. Use Easy-for-Me Reading – For beginners or for any child who is really struggling with reading – including trouble with letters and their sounds – this kit is the answer. The Easy-for-Me Reading Kit covers grades Kindergarten through 1st Grade and includes everything you need to successfully teach reading. If you have two children at roughly the same place in reading, teach them at the same time. For example, you might have a kindergartener and a third grader who is virtually a non-reader. Teach them at the same time, but enlist your older child to “tutor” or guide your beginner as he/she is learning the concepts for the first time.

multisensory resources for reading

 Easy-for-Me Reading Kit

READING HELP. Use SnapWords® sight words – For children who are good with letters and sounds, but just need to improve their reading, a SnapWords® Kit is the answer.

Reading struggles can include:

  • Trying to sound out every word
  • Not being able to sound out words
  • Sounding out words but not being able to remember them 10 minutes later
  • Reading but having no clue what he/she just read
  • Reading and knowing what he/she read, but reading is laborious and hard words are impossible to decode
  •  

    illustrated sight words cards

    SnapWords® for reading help

     

    TEACH READING 2-3. If you have used Easy-for-Me Teaching Kit 1, this Kit is “what’s next.” The Easy-for-Me™ Teaching Kit 2 is a right-brained approach designed especially to teach all aspects of reading explicitly so that no child is left behind. It is visual, tactile, hands-on, and very effective where traditional approaches fall short. Use it for your beginning readers and for children who have failed to learn to read to date.  OR  This Kit will be the starting point if your child:

    • Knows well all basic sounds including vowel sounds
    • Can read these words fluently (List A SnapWords®):

    SKILLS INCLUDED:

    • SnapWords® B, C, D, E, Nouns 1 (283 words)
    • Phonics and sound spellings
    • Phonemic Awareness
    • Spelling
    • Comprehension
    • Writing
    • Reading Fluency

     Easy-for-Me™ Teaching Kit 2

     

    MORE SPELLING and PHONICS HELP. Use SnapWords® with SnapWords® Mini-Lessons – For your child who needs help with spelling, memorizing lists of words and their spellings is not the answer. The drilling won’t result in your child remembering how to spell the words later. Get your child into the habit of studying the SnapWords® picture and then closing his/her eyes and picturing the same image in his/her imagination. Then have him/her open their eyes and write the word they can “see” on paper. It might be slow-going at first, but the more your child practices visualization, the easier it will become and the more he will rely on this very strong asset that is built into their brain – the power to instantly remember visuals. Any SnapWords® Kit (306 or 607) will come with the SnapWords® Mini-Lessons in it and this book will guide you through the process of teaching the words in either 306 SnapWords® Kit – as well as visualization, spelling, phonics, and writing.

    sight words lessons

     SnapWords® Mini-Lessons

     

    MORE PHONICS HELP. Use The Illustrated Book of Sounds & Their Spelling Patterns. This book is a valuable resource that teaches all the sound spellings in our language! One book covers everything and lessons are on 2-4 difficulty levels so you can gear your lesson to each specific learner. The book comes with a CD version so you can print off the pages you need to give your children. Take the approach of making sure each of your children knows the contents of this book – and thus they will be able to decipher any word in our language – rather than thinking you have to teach a spelling / phonics lesson for every day of their school years.

    How to teach sounds and spelling patterns

    The Illustrated Book of Sounds and Their Spelling Patterns

     

    Testimonial:

    “I just wanted to say that we recently purchased your sight word cards for our son, who has Asperger’s. He’s doing so much better with them! I also forwarded your site to his teachers and they ended up purchasing a set for his school. Thanks so much!”

    Rebecca





    Sarah K Major
    Sarah K Major

    Author

    Sarah's absolute belief in every child’s ability to learn, and her passion to empower the child by supporting his/her own unique giftedness have fueled her life’s work and provided a new pathway for children to succeed academically.


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