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Persephone Persephone is offline
 
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What Can I Do to Teach My Son?
Old 07-17-2012, 07:43 PM
 
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My 12-year-old son has autism. He is non-verbal. He tries to use PECS and sign language to communicate. He attends the extended school year for another week, but I would really like to recreate the whole school routine at home so that he doesn't regress. I want to do all the subjects. (Is this a good idea OR should I just let him relax and enjoy his short summer?) What are some basic things that I can focus on teaching him?
Usually during the summer, we:
-create a lot of arts and crafts projects: He loves making greeting cards, artist trading cards, collages and painting wooden boxes and birdhouses. He loves making these Sticky Mosaic Pictures.
-play a lot of board games (Candyland, Cariboo Island)
-read adapted books (stoybooks with PECS)
-go for nature walks and trips to the zoo
-listen to and play music (drums, bells, keyboard)
-visit museums, amusement parks, festivals
-go out to eat and visit the Library
-cook
That keeps him pretty busy.
Just wondering-
What basic topics can I teach him?
How long should we do each learning session?
How can I record data for his teachers to use?
Thanks for your help.


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You are already doing plenty.
Old 07-18-2012, 11:59 AM
 
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I also hope that he is getting some time to relax, and just be. Trust that a lot of processing happens during downtime. What I don't see in your list is anything about being with peers or making friends or doing self directed activities.

Why don't you just chat with the teachers about your son's summer activities instead of creating data sheets. Also, why don't you ask your son what he wants to do.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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It sounds like you're giving him lots of learning opportunities! And, he must have some good basic skills and behaviors if he's participating in them.

Another option would be to just use PECS with the activities you are already doing. Since language appears to be his biggest issue, this might be a great option. Are the using the actual PECS program with him at school or just using picture communication symbols? Does he have a PECS notebook and do you use it at home? Have you been trained in the same methods they are using at school? I know it's frustrating to get so many questions, but if you don't mind answering them, I'll try to help you come up with a plan.
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Pecs
Old 07-18-2012, 03:02 PM
 
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Thank you for your help. PECS from Boardmaker program
We have a PECS notebook at home and we're using it...as well as books that I adapted with PECS. He likes using the PECS on the ipad. So, I really need to get him an ipad to use at home. I know the strategies in using the PECS.
When we do our arts & crafts projects and play board games, I talk with him A LOT. I was thinking about reworking some of the easier board games to adapt them to what he's learning. We have this Cat in the Hat game where you put a household item in the hat and the player has to guess what it is. I could use the PECS to give him clues.
We go hiking a lot and we see alot of different birds and animals, so I'm going to make a PECS board so that we can "talk" during our walks.

Do you need to use the Boardmaker PECS or are photographs from the internet just as good?

Thanks again.
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Happy Medium
Old 07-18-2012, 03:10 PM
 
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I talked with the teachers and learned about some materials and strategies that I can use to sneak a little academics into our summer days.
My hubby and I are pretty much our son's best buds and we hang out with him and do everything together. Which can be a challenge when he wants to ride on the spinning rides at the amusement park over and over. My stomach isn't iron like his.
We have family members, but they do not relate to him well.
Our friends, a very nice couple who don't have kids of their own, have taken him under their wing. They take us on many exciting outings and they interact with him in a friendly, respectful way. They're the ones who got him hooked on hiking.
I'm a teacher, too, so I'm off for the summer. Since I'm on the move all year, if I stop and relax, it's very easy for me to get into lounge-around mode. Then I end up watching daytime tv and eating goodies. So, I want to keep us both up and moving, both physically and mentally.


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Old 07-19-2012, 03:25 AM
 
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You don't necessarily need Boardmaker, but you do need to have a consistent symbol set. Whatever symbol he has for "eat" needs to be the same in every environment. He doesn't need to have a boardmaker symbol at school, a photograph of himself in therapy, and a clipart picture at home. Now, it's perfectly acceptable to have different types of symbols for different words, just not different symbols for the same word. So, he could have a boardmaker symbol for "eat," a picture of you for "Mom," and a clipart picture for McDonalds so long as those symbols stay consistent across every setting.

That's the equivalent of asking him to speak 3 languages. Just coordinate with his teachers. By the way, that also means that the symbol in his pecs notebook should be the same as the one on his communication device.

I really think he needs a good AAC eval. Talk to your medicaid case worker also. I know that in my state parents can often get personal communication devices, although ipads are preferable in some cases. Definitely consult an AAC specialist before you make a decsion.

Some additional thoughts:

Go to ablenetinc.com and sign up for their webinar on game based play (the title is something like that) for some good ideas on using play to teach language.

Use games to teach communication skills. For example, use his pecs notebook to request turns when playing a game. If you and dh are both playing, even better. You use the pecs to say "my turn" and take a turn. Prompt your son to use the pecs to say "my turn" before he gets his turn. (You may need to pull the board back, hold the dice in your hand, whatever so that he HAS to make the request before he can play.)

Use art projects to teach communication skills. Put set up the project by making sure you have all of the materials visible but out of his reach. Make sure that you have symbols for everything in his notebook. As you work through the project, "forget" to hand him things or act like you don't know what to do next. Help him request, "I want glue" or "I want blue." He can also make comments, "Cool" "Like it" "Gross!" You can use the same approach for cooking activities.

You can use outdoor games and exercises as opportunities to teach him to say things like, "Do it again!" "Faster" "Slow down"

Notice that I'm focusing on HIM communicating with the pecs. You should also model frequently, but have him use the pecs to communicate with you as well. You'll have to do some prompting, but if he keeps getting what he wants without asking, he's never going to learn to communicate. Keep it light and fun so that he isn't frustrated, but practice often. Make a goal of having him communicate 50x a day even it that means that you are physically prompting him. Here are some videos of teachers and parents using this kind of approach:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbJaB...ature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt5SZ...ature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxbTy...ature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzIDv...ature=youtu.be

And here's a link to the website if you'd like to look for more video examples: http://sda.doe.louisiana.gov/Site%20...eoGallery.aspx

Does that make sense? Does it help?
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Thank You So Much for Your Help
Old 07-19-2012, 05:07 AM
 
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I truly appreciate it and I will get cookin' on all of the great ideas.
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I'm reading a good book called 1001
Old 07-19-2012, 02:19 PM
 
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Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism and Asperger's.
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