Recommended Resources

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Ways to Increase Communication and Language

There are a variety of ways to increase communication depending on a child’s age and ability level. Below are some ideas for increasing language and communication throughout the day.
1. Expand Sentence Length – When children answer a question or request an item using one or two words, increase their sentence length by repeating their answer with an expanded phrase. For example, if you ask a child, “Would you like orange juice?” and they answer “Yes,” model a longer response. “Yes, I would like orange juice.” Then have the child repeat the phrase.
2. Use Books for Language - Reading stories is an excellent way to incorporate language into a fun activity. Ask questions about the pictures, the story, and the characters. Even very young children can identify colors, gender, words, or concepts (e.g. the boy that is the tallest/shortest)by pointing to pictures. Have children predict what is going to happen next throughout the story. After finishing the book, review what happened in the story.
3. Create Situations that Promote Language - Favorite toys, clothes, and foods can motivate young children to use language. Store favorite items in eye sight, but out of reach, so children have to use their words to request the items.
4. Provide Choices – Give children choices in activities, stories, toys, and foods so they communicate their preferences. You can create an opportunity for communication even if you know a child is going to select a favorite story or game.
5. Find Time to Communicate – Many children like being entertained by technology, but opportunities for communication are lost when families spend a good deal of time watching television and playing video games. Turn off the television during meals and refrain from using portable video games in the car. Time spent together at the dinner table and in the car are wonderful opportunities for learning about a child’s day and increasing communication and language skills.
6. Be Supportive – Children are more likely to communicate if they feel valued. Encourage language by listening attentively to children and asking them questions. If children answer questions incorrectly, teach them the correct answers using kind, supportive words. Repeatedly asking a question a child does not know how to answer or condescendingly correcting them can hurt their feelings and decreases the chance they will answer questions in the future. Instead, encourage them to say, “I don’t know,” and use the situation as a learning opportunity.
7. Be a Role Model – Children learn from the adults around them. When adults speak in full sentences, use correct grammar, and articulate well, children hear and are reminded of how words and sentences should sound.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Using Community Activities to Develop Social Skills

Community activities are diverse, fun, and provide a wide range of opportunities for
social skill development. Meeting people, maintaining conversations, collaborating with peers, following directions, and problem solving are a few social skills to practice in a community setting.
Below are a few ideas on incorporating social skill development into your community activities.
1. Story Times and Plays – Community libraries, bookstores, and theatres often have book readings or short plays for children. These events are opportunities to practice attending, following directions, maintaining personal space, and asking and responding to questions in a group setting. For children working on attending, find out how long the event lasts, if there are frequent breaks, and if the event is interactive. Attend shorter, more interactive events then gradually increase the
length of time so children are successful and are engaged in the event.
2. Playground - Although primarily thought of as a place for exercise,
playgrounds are a wonderful place to learn conflict resolution, problem solving, and communication skills. Children can practice asking to join an activity, helping peers, and working with friends to create and resolve game rules. Patience can be practiced waiting for a swing or the slide. Playgrounds in fast food restaurants are a way to get out of the hot summer or cold winter weather and help children interact with peers.
3. People of Authority in the Community - The ability to socialize with people of authority is important for school, community, and future work environments. Doctors, dentists, and religious leaders are examples of people who should be addressed more formally. Use these interactions as opportunities to practice formal introductions, greetings, conversations, and good-byes. Prepare children by letting them know who they will be seeing and practicing short conversations.
4. Frequent Interactions – Addressing people at a store or in the neighborhood involves less formal interactions. These meetings are an opportunity for greeting someone by name, asking questions about their interests, and ending the conversation appropriately. Practice at home in advance and remind children, if necessary, how to respond when they see the person. For example, ‘Alex, you remember Mrs. Smith who lives across the street and has the dog, Skipper.’
5. Community Parks and Recreation Centers - Community parks and recreation centers
frequently have summer baseball, soccer, or basketball teams. These teams are opportunities for children to learn good sportsmanship, meet with children their age, and learn to follow rules and regulations associated with an activity. Other activities offered at community centers include art and science camps which teach fun skills while providing social interactions. Children learn to work collaboratively with children their age on projects or share materials for completing activities.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Leeds Dyslexia Day

A big big thank you to The Students from:

Leeds Met
Rotherham College
Kensington Junior/Infant School, Liverpool

For making our Student Dyslexia Day in Leeds such a massive success yesterday.
Best wishes

Social Stories

New Social Story event to be launched next month.
After months of very hard work, we are now ready to take the Social Stories training day out on the road. Special thanks to Stu the fabulous designer from as always his understanding of our vision is appreciated.

First two events:

Tuesday 11th May 2010
Premier Inn,
Main Road, Boreham
Chelmsford, Essex

Thursday 13th May 2010
Stonecross Manor Hotel
Milnthorpe Road, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5HP

These will be quickly followed by a further 17 events up and down the country between
May and July.

The course will be run by Andrew our Senior SEN Consultant.

Course content:
A visual and auditory social and behavioural strategy for teaching and support staff who work with
young people with Autism and Asperger Syndrome.
The day will include:
• What is a social story?
• Why children with Autism and Asperger syndrome need social stories and how they can benefit from them.
• Different ways of writing and presenting social stories for different ages and levels of understanding.
• Some scenarios.
• Group activities.
• Once back in your own learning environment you are invited to design a Social Story and email it back to us
for guidance and editing.

Hope to see you there!

NASUWT SEN Inclusion Report

Recommendations for training in SEN.