Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pointers for Autism

Point to Happy: For Children on the Autism Spectrum
I first saw Point to Happy mentioned some time ago.
I didn't mention it here because my son was too old
for the book and it seemed a bit gimmicky.
Yesterday when I saw the book in a fancy toy store
I experienced it a bit differently.  
Often friends and relatives have no idea what
to buy for a child with autism, and this could be
a fine gift choice, especially 
for a family with a newly diagnosed child.
With three places for every dollar, this may
not be a book that parents buy.
After all, you want your kid to point with
his/her finger, and many books will work
for that. If your child has a speech therapist,
she can provide you with materials or
suggestions specifically for your kid.
But the book is well designed and 
engaging with helpful tips on use from
a speech professional. If your child is
young, or non-verbal, and especially
if you are looking for ways to help
your child engage actively with books,
this book could help you.
If anyone has experience with this book,
please comment. I'm particularly curious
about kid reaction to the pointer .  .  .

-Spectrum Mom

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Post from Sam and Boo

Today, I'm pointing you towards a wonderful post 
 by samandboo. Click on the review
title to go to the full post and her wonderful, but not active blog.
Yesterday I met a great mom with a non-verbal five year
old, so this is meant for her (hi!) and for other parents
of young children with autism diagnoses. Boo was two and
newly diagnosed while Sam was doing the blog and
it is a terrific resource for those parents and children
just starting this journey.

Again, all credit for this post belongs to Sam and Boo

click below for the full review:

Review: Lemons Are Not Red

Find at
Find at
Title: Lemons Are Not Red
Author/Illustrator: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Year: 2004
ISBN: 978-1596430082
Format: Hardcover, also available in Paperback
Pages: 32
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler
Kid Love Factor: 5/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 3/5

I saw Lemons Are Not Red reviewed over at Infant Bibliophile’s site. Since we’ve been trying for weeks to get Boo to solidly understand negation, I figured this would be perfect.

It so was.

The yellow opening page declares:

Lemons are not RED.

There’s a lemon-shaped cut-out which clearly displays a red lemon. But once you turn the page, the lemon cut-out is now over the yellow background, and the red former background is revealed to be a nice big apple.

Lemons are YELLOW.
Apples are RED.

The pattern continues through orange carrots and purple eggplants, pink flamingos and grey elephants, brown reindeer and white snowmen, green grass and the blue sky, and ends with the silver moon and the black night. Good night!

This was an instant hit. Boo loves naming colours, so I knew he’d be intrigued, but I failed to predict  .  .  .
click here: Review: Lemons Are Not Red to see the full review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Bear Called Paddington

A Bear Called Paddington

I think I was seven when I
met Paddington. My son is ten.
I tried to introduce them earlier,
but it didn't take. This time there's
a bit more of a connection.
What's interesting lately is how much
more my son both withdraws and engages
during reading. Pauses are longer, and
when I read (we alternate pages) he often
wraps up in a blanket and doesn't look
(I sometimes resist this by having him
read Paddington). He also will act out
parts of the story (crawling for "Paddington
crawled on his paws") and comment on or
question parts of the story.
I do not know how 
much he is retaining, I do not quiz him.
I want this to be fun, or at least funnish.
Paddington has fewer and less clear
pictures (the word "thunder" made him
think that Paddington was under an
umbrella and not a bowl) than I usually
choose. But this is such a good and 
enduring story, I feel it's worth a bit
of effort. The story itself is clear and
doesn't have a lot of difficult emotional
or cultural concepts to decode.
Here's his review:
Paddington was a bear.
But Paddington was also the train station
I didn’t like the man when he didn’t know 
about the bear’s name.
Still, he was called Paddington.
I liked the part when he was in hot water.
A Bear Called Paddington

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yes, but what does that mean?

Readers Theater for Building Fluency: Strategies and Scripts for Making the Most of This Highly Effective, Motivating, and Research-Based Approach to Oral Reading (Teaching Strategies, Grades 3-6)
(This book has nothing to do with this post.)
This post is mainly for the faithful who come every week
looking for new ideas.
Also for those of you who live in Florida.
Also for anyone with a child struggling to read.
Maybe it's for more of you than I thought, but
it's a bit abstract for this blog.
Some time ago, a wonderful advocate told me
about the Florida Center for Reading Research.
There's a lot there, but I'll just put in the heading
and link to a useful section today:

Frequently Asked Questions About Reading Instruction

  1. What is systematic instruction?
  2. What is direct instruction?
  3. Aren’t scripted lessons for inexperienced or uncreative teachers?
  4. Why is it important to have a 90 minute reading block?
  5. May students go to another class for intervention during the 90 minute block?
  6. How do we prioritize what to teach when the Core Reading Program offers so much?
  7. What is the best use of an extra adult in the room during the 90 minute block?
  8. During the 90 minute reading block, should I follow the sequence of student materials in the Core Reading Program or choose stories as they seem appropriate for our thematic units?
  9. Is writing permitted and what type of writing activities can be included during the 90 minute block?
  10. What do you mean by flexible small group instruction?
  11. How can I keep teaching my small group when the students in centers complete their activity early and start misbehaving?
  12. What is a good way to build vocabulary skills?
  13. What can I do to help my students read more fluently?
  14. What is the difference between Core, Supplemental, and Intervention instruction?
  15. What materials should I use for targeted instruction for my struggling students?
  16. What exactly is meant by immediate intensive intervention (iii), or ‘triple i’?
  17. What can we use for intervention when third grade students are not successful with the Comprehensive Core Reading Program?

For the answers to these questions, use the link below.
While this material is specific to Florida's approach, the vocabulary
is useful in any discussion of reading instruction.