Monday, June 3, 2013

Teaching Nonverbal Autistic Students to Read

Teaching Nonverbal Autistic Students to Read

Non Verbal Autistic students may be brilliant and have a genius IQ but they may struggle with anything more complex than basic concrete concepts. 

Helping nonverbal Autistic students learn to read is nigh on impossible without a can do attitude, you must try everything, even if that means failing hundreds of times, you must find something that works. My 14 years of teaching reading to struggling students has given me insight into the importance of ignoring the bureaucratic rules. The job of the teacher is to find many methods that can help all students learn to read and love reading. Students with autism spectrum disorder are all unique, like all children, and one solution or idea is suited for nearly no-one! The Secret is developing all areas of language, and study and try what has worked with other students with severe language delays. 

"Children are made readers in the laps of their parents." quote  by Emilie Buchwald Nonverbal students may have issues with social interactions that negate traditional methods of teaching reading. Learning what is socially acceptable to a nonverbal autistic child is key before you begin instruction or reconstructing literary ideas that can be understood by a mind that see the world differently.

The first steps to helping Non Verbal Autistic students learn to READ the written word!
  • Read, read, and read what the child finds fascination
  • Use charts for nonverbals students that allow them to demonstrate feelings, thoughts, or questions, like the CAT Kit: By Tony Attwood Cognitive Affective Therapy Kit to Improve Communication Autism
  • Learn Sign language to help break through and make conections
  • Always read out-loud and track each word with your finger when possible
  • Draw, paint, sing, act or sculpt tricky words
  • Learn the art of cursive using classic fountain pens and modern parchment paper (Spencerian)
  • Learn how to use a traditional dictionary 
  • Use the Closed Caption on your TV
  • Skip the computer reading programs and phonics programs and use great books
  • No test, no worksheets, no basal readers, and no grades when you are learning to read!
  • Sing and learn new songs and lyrics weekly 

Students that struggle with reading, language and writing need to be immersed in a language rich environment.

  • Create a language rich environment
  • Turn off the TV or turn on the "CC" Closed Captioning
  • Watch YouTube videos with lyrics
  • Join the Church Choir
  • Watch foreign movies with the subtitles turned on
  • Always talk and engage with children asking them deep questions that make them think
  • Learn Christmas carols
  • Join a children's theater group
  • Play lots of board games
  • Go on field-trips
  • Go Camping
  • Join the scouts
  • Play great music with lyrics that bring the world to life
  • Read Jokes and Riddles
  • Read "Horrible Histories", kids love the Non Fiction BOOKS!
  • Keep trying new ideas
  • Go horseback riding 
  • Parents need to learn how to use academic language in the home
  • Math, Science, Music and Art are all Languages that needs to be taught
  • Use magnetic poetry words 
  • Read books about Theory of Mind and Executive Function 

Reading comes in many forms and one lesson supports them all! 
The power of music and lyrics has time and time again been the first path for many of my students, learning to read. My love of music helped me to listen more intently, and in many ways was my first reading ah-ha moment. It was one of the many things that helped me to make an important connection to written words.

The list of songs below is a collection of songs that my Autistic students have loved. Sean The Dyslexic Learner

This Post is for a Special girl Em! More to Come!

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