What's a letterboard? Glad you asked!
It's called a rolled letterboard and is basically the alphabet on a piece of paper that is rolled around a swim noodle. (Another mom came up with this idea. Aren't we autism moms creative?)
This is a great letterboard for kids who are new to spelling and the concept of spelling out words. However, you don't want your child to get stuck on it because the ultimate goal is for the child to completely and independently communicate on his own (without you giving spelling hints by rolling to the proper line).
Ah hah! Lightbulb moment.
Just a basic child's puzzle that you can get for a couple of bucks at Walmart. We, though, have a ton laying around with missing pieces so we just used one of those.
They come 60 to a thing, so there are at least two of each letter of the alphabet. Hot glue the letters together (the two A's together, the two B's together, etc) so that you can get a really good height on them. Then paint them any color you want. We did two boards. One painted black with white letters and one board we left unpainted but painted the letters black. Then hot glue the letters to the back of the puzzle.
It sounds really time-consuming, but it took no longer than 30 minutes tops.
Oh my gosh! I cannot tell you what a difference this had made. Not only with Noah but with Eli, too! It really helps to separate the letters from the "page". Otherwise, for some kids, it just all runs together and looks like Greek.
Which is great if you know Greek....
Noah still has a little trouble with his vision field cut, but he is getting the letters right more and more. I think because the letters are raised instead of being flat, it just stands out more to him. Honestly, I can't scientifically tell you how it makes a difference, but trust me. It does!
We also did a rolled letterboard using glittery foam letter sticks. It's perfect for a child with autism! You've got your 3D letters. They're sparkly. And they have a cool, sandpaper-y texture that makes Noah want to touch them.
Sooooooooo cheap and easy!
Actually, ( as a sidenote) Noah's therapist, Erica, realized that Noah loves the feel of sticky tape, so she rolls up pieces of tape and puts them on the letterboard and because Noah sooooo wants to feel the sensation, he is motivated to reach out and spell out words with his finger.
Okay, well I am rambling way too much, but one more thing. If you don't have a child who gets overwhelmed by lots of colors, you could make a cheap letterboard by just buying a simple alphabet puzzle at Walmart, turning it over, and hot gluing the letters on the back. Like this:
This is just an example. (We're missing some pieces). We chose not to go this route because Noah and Eli both get overwhelmed so easily.
Anyway, I hope this helps. If you want more info about RPM, then check out their website at: http://www.halo-soma.org/ . You can also look at clips of kids doing RPM on their site.
Cheap letterboards for under 5 bucks. Works for me!