I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Flashcards

Uh oh. I don't really have anything to post about today. This is my third week doing therapy posts for WWFM Wednesdays.. and I think I peaked at week #2.

Yep. Like a big ol' goober, I pulled out all the stops for my first two posts and now I'm left blogging about the type of shampoo I use on the kids and the organic suckers we give Noah.

So sorry.

Actually, I've been swamped since Eli got back from England on Monday (I forgot how much of a chatterbox that child is) and we've been diving back into school. So, I thought I'd post some of the flashcards we use with all three kids.

Right now, we're really focusing on reading, spelling, and math. We do a little zoology course on the side, but English & Math are our two biggies. We use Sing, Spell, Read, & Write - although we don't do the songs or the writing part. We just do the workbooks. Currently, we are doing "On Track" which is beginning, basic spelling.

Here's how we tackle that. Keep in mind that each child is different:

1. Noah is nonverbal and very auditory. He cannot write or hold a pencil. We are focusing on spelling words on his alphaboard.

2. Eli is very visual and has dysgraphia. We also suspect dyslexia. Reading and spelling is hard for him. He just mastered the alphabet at 5 1/2. Has a habit of spelling things backwards.

3. Nandi has a brain injury and short term memory problems. Significant speech delay/articulation issues.

We are currently learning "-AT" words. Like fat, cat, sat, mat, rat, bat, etc. We made simple flashcards made up from the words we're studying and then cut corresponding pictures out of magazines.

(Sidenote: I love, love, love the Hi-5 and Highlights magazines. They always have the exact pictures I need. )

This is how we take one word list and use it for all three kids:

Let's start with Eli. As I said, he's very visual and has a hard time with spelling. Here are some of the ways we use the cards with him:

1. Make two columns with the word list and two columns with the pictures - side by side. Have him match the each word card to the corresponding picture card.

2. Lay all the pictures out in rows. Put the word cards in one pile, face down. Have him pick a card, turn it over, and find the corresponding picture.

3. Play concentration. Shuffle the word cards and pictures cards together. Lay them all face down and have him turn over two cards at a time. Each time he picks a corresponding pair, he has a "match". Once all the cards are matched, the game is over.

4. We also reinforce the particular words that we're learning with a corresponding book. We love the Usborne Reader Books "Fat Cat on a Mat" "Shark in the Park" "A Frog on a Log". We bought them all off of Amazon.

5. Place picture cards in one pile, face down, and have him turn over one card at a time. Spell the word on the letterboard. (If you don't know what a letterboard is then see last week's WWFM post).

After doing this for awhile, Eli is really starting to recognize the words without needing the visual cues of the picture cards. We don't rush anything. We know that he has some learning issues, so we let him take his time. We've been working on "-at" words for about 3 weeks now and he's just now getting them right almost 100% of the time.

With Noah (being nonverbal and having very poor motor control), we do this:

1. Go through the list of words and have him spell the word on the letterboard. Sometimes this takes a lot of energy, so we just get him to focus on the first letter. Honestly, we don't try to get hung up on that. Our goal is for him to eventually communicate via spelling. We're talking long-term goal here.

"How do you spell "CAT"? Is it with a "C" or a "B"?

And he touches the correct letter on his alphaboard.

2. Show him a picture (he's not very visual) and have him spell it on the alphaboard. Again, he may just point to the starting letter.

Ex: show him a picture of a word ending in "-at" (like mat). What is this?

3. Show him a pictures and use the corresponding word in a sentence.

"This is a mat. The children wiped their feet on the mat. What did I say this is?"

Have him spell it on the alphaboard.

4. Play concentration. You turn over two cards. Say them out loud and ask if they are a match.

"Okay, we have "sat" and a picture of a "rat". Is this a match?

Have Noah point to "Y" or "N" on the alphaboard.

With Nandi, we just focus on her vocabulary:

1. Turn over picture cards/show her picture cards and have her tell us what it is.

2. Give an example of something and have her hand over the appropriate card and tell us the word.

Ex: "I love animals that say "meow". What animal am I thinking of?" She gives me the cat card and says "Cat".

3. Spell out each word for her and have her repeat. Go over the letters on the alphaboard.

Okay, that's it. Really easy. Cheap to make. Can be used for beginning readers/spellers on all levels - and probably something that everyone already does anyway.

But it works for us!


Adeye Salem said...

Wow, you have some amazing ideas! Thank you for sharing them.

sandwichinwi said...

I can't stand the Fat Cat on a Mat books and have several in my for sale box.

I know there is Fat Cat, which you have, and Fox in a Box and one other.

Let me know if you are interested. They're darn cheap. Like, you pay the shipping.


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