Friday, January 20, 2012

Education Friday-Dena Gassner, guest expert

Today I'm featuring Dena Gassner in conversation with a great parent of a wonderful kid
with autism. Understanding how
your child remembers may determine best practices in teaching your child.*
Because this was originally a web posted conversation, I've added some clarification.

I was talking with his resource teacher and his EA (he has had the same EA for 2 years) 
and my son is just a slow learner. He does really good at sounding out the sounds and know 
all his letters and the sounds they make. He has a hard time recalling the info he has in his
 little brain. He will know the word and then it's like he has never seen it before. Then we will 
be driving around town and he knows the name of his favorite restuarants or stores. Those he 
can read over and over again with no problem! So frustrating!!!! He is a very smart little guy 
and has so much potential. I also know how important the building blocks are in 1st grade. 
They say 2nd grade pretty much goes over everything you learned in 1st. 

I think working on working memory is the first step. He seems unable to hold the 
cluster of words together long enough to retain it. But when it is in context (restaurant sign) 
he can match the pieces together. Like when you see your doctor out of scrubs...but the opposite.**
** [You don't know who your doctor is out of context. The boy has the opposite problem. 
He knows the letters and the sounds, but he doesn't know them in the new context of a word]

Dena L. Gassner, LMSW, is the director of The Center for Understanding
The Center for Understanding seeks to reduce the disenfranchisement of individuals and families 
who experience the world with autism spectrum differences through individually designed advocacy, 
systems navigation support, training,support groups and holistic empowerment.
*My boy used the Lindamood Bell Visualizing and Verbalizing system at school to help with visual memory
See past posts.