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A new day, a new training class

I had a much better day today. Our training class was given by the local autism expert and we got to make stuff to take with us. This is called a "Make and Take" in the highly technical language of education. One of the interesting behaviors associated with autism is that those afflicted are much better at understanding visual information than auditory information. So it is not surprising that most of them get language therapy. There is a very cool computer program by Mayers-Johnson called "Boardmaker" that allows you to create pictures for many everyday situations. Many autistic kids are non-verbal, so pictures like these are their only form of communication. Some kids have notebooks full of pictures that they use to communicate with, and others may have electronic devices that have pictures on them. Even the kids who can use language find that pictures are very helpful in reminding them of specific words or how to perform specific tasks.

So today, we made lots of pictures and used them in various ways. Our instructor showed us some great ways to use everyday materials in new ways to make inexpensive activities. I made the following:

A matching game with letters of the alphabet using a file folder, velcro, and a cut up alphabet bulletin board boarder.
A set of picture cards for behavior words that I can wear around my neck for use with autistic students.
A file folder game with pockets for sorting UNO cards.
An unfinished book and picture interaction set so that the child can answer questions about the book.


I also met some more of the new people in the cooperative. They all have different districts, but they all have questions like mine, so I am not feeling so alone. I also found out that I am not expected to provide therapy the first week of school. This is a big relief, because I had no idea how I was supposed to coordinate schedules that quickly.

More training tomorrow.