Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Art Start 4 - Cut and Paste

Art Books can do more than educate, they can inspire.
My mother used Cut and Paste (Kuwabara) with her kids, 
and the basic idea remains one of the best to involve all kinds
of kids in creating. Just modify the suggestions to suit
your kid. 
Does your kid like tearing up paper?
Sorting into color piles? Counting each piece?
(I tell my kid to paste a certain number of paper scraps).
The collage suggestions in this old book (there's one available
from Amazon, or check the library) are fun because all
the pictures were made by Japanese school kids.
There are, of course, more contemporary books you
can use to inspire.
Ed Emberly's Picture Pie Cut and Paste 
book shows how to use a circle to create all
sorts of fun drawings.
If you want to show your kid the best cut and paster
of all time, consider 
Henri Matisse Drawing with Scissors
in the Smart About Art series.
I'd recommend this one only for more sophisticated
readers, the pages are crowded with illustrations
and different fonts. The conceit of a kid writing
a school report about the artist also makes for
hard going for some of our kids who benefit from
a more straight-forward presentation. 
But it's a small paperback with many glorious
reproductions of Matisse's work.

-Spectrum Mom

Friday, March 22, 2013

Education Friday - Pintrest

Autism Reads

I review and discuss books for children with autism on the website and Facebook page.

Pintrest surprised me.
I thought the site irrelevant to my interests,
but there's a lot of education/autism resources there.
Since people searching for books about autism for kids 
often wind up here, I've created a 
 Pintrest board for books about autism for kids.
Also, a board for teaching reading basics
and a  board for reading comprehension.
Of course, there are a lot of amazing boards
out there. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Huff & Puff

Huff and Puff simplifies and sillifies The Three Little Pigs story
into an interactive read-aloud.
"It's like the The Three Little Pigs story. It doesn't say, 
'Little Pig, Little Pig, let me in."
Your kid and you get to blow things down (or, spoiler
alert, out) together through a hole in the page.  Then
you turn the page to see on what you've blown.
A gentle story with few words and very cute pictures,
most young readers will enjoy either hearing or reading
Kids are out (of school), so so am I.
Happy reading,
Spectrum Mom

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Art Start 3 Leonardo and the Flying Boy

Anholt's book overflows with pictures and ideas,
much as Leonardo da Vinci did with talent.
Leonardo's sketches and paintings fill the pages,
but so does the story of his relationship with two
of the boys who assisted him in his famous workshop:
helpful, talented Zoro and wild, mischievous Salai.
"One day, Zoro," Leonardo tells his pupil, "people
will sail through the clouds and look down at the
world below."
Zoro dreams of flying, but it is Salai who breaks
into Leonardo's secret room and convinces him to
try out the wondrous flying contraption they find
there. The attempt ends in failure and injury,
but both Zoro and Leonardo know this is just
the beginning of flight.
This is a beautiful book that should appeal to kids with 
an interest in flight, machines, and art. 
The layout is varied, and might confuse
someone whose visual sense gets overwhelmed
by pages with many pictures. But I found the look
remarkably clean, coherent, and relevant despite
its pictorial variety and ingenuity. The pictures relate 
directly to the story, and the story flows well.
My boy thought the flying machine funny, and the 
book reminded him of the
 Getting to Know the World's Getting to Know the
 World's Greatest Artists video we saw about da Vinci.
Anholt's Leonardo is also part of a series that includes
books about Van Gogh, Degas, and Picasso. Each story
centers on a real relationship between the artist and a
child. So if your child enjoys Leonardo, you have more
reading pleasure (and art) ahead.
March is a good time to start with art, as the Northern 
hemisphere buds and blooms you can get out the chalk
and the sidewalk paint - the bucket of water, the paint
brush and the packing paper - the newspaper strips and
the flour paste - the tub of clay - anything messy for
a nice outside art day.
-Spectrum Mom

Friday, March 8, 2013

Education Friday iPad Talk Part 2

More talk about using the iPad for communication with our kids
(many thanks to my friends for letting me share their conversation)

RITE With any device, I always remind parents to make sure there are experience sharing options there - they won't use them if they don't have them. 
Newer iPod and iPad options open a whole new world to our kids. One word comments should be available. Even stuff like, "Wow!" and "Crap!" or whatever you say when you stub your toe.

The problem with having a lot of phrases on there, is that my boy pushes them to just hear the sound. He stims on it a lot and in different ways. Any suggestions? I have a feeling that until he learns the phrases, he will do that.

Do you use it to call them to dinner or to interact/turn take?  I don't know if I'd discourage the stimming because I agree with you - it may be the way he processes it until it becomes a part of his vocabulary. I do think I would sit down with it and use it instead of talking sometimes, to model using it - in a fun way.

Every one i've see start with ipad starts with one phrase like "i want" with just a few items to choose from and when the child becomes comfortable with that, you add more options and then folders (like eat or drink with items within folders). then you can break the phrase into words, so "i" and then "want" or "see" with categories under there. you have to start out small and slow, let the child be successful and motivated and build up.

I think that is what we were doing wrong. We want to get him a new one, but I'm not sure how that is going to work with school if they are training on PECS.

The key is to start small, create opportunities for success, build from there. I know for my son, he cannot start with a visually overwhelming field. Even when making choices. We started with one card, moved to two, then three, etc. now he can scan a larger field.

I would add the suggestion of using the iPad with him. Every family I've seen has been taught to use it one-sided, where the parent or teacher talks and the child uses the device. Paula Kluth suggests in a gen-ed classroom setting, to bring in the device, or several of them, and allow the class to communicate with them, play with them, interact with them, a few days before you introduce one to the child w/ autism. Normalize it. Show the gen ed peers how it works and encourage them to engage in back-and-forth with it with the child w/ autism. Here's a link to Kluth's discussion
on how to best use assistive technology in the classroom.
What should I do if he mishandles the iPad. LIke, if he puts it in the floor and jumps on it. Do you take it away?

wow - good question. we have ours in an otterbox, so pretty well protected. mason does not use his for communication at this point. his desire to verbalize overrides the ipad usage - he was just evaluated at school, though, and i'm hoping he qualifies - i'd like him to have the option since his articulation is so bad. we use his solely for reinforcement. it has been thrown in the toilet and tossed several times, still going. BUT - it doesn't get beat up daily.

You can insure an iPad. I wasn't sure about taking it away. I've been told not to take PECS away because it is their voice. Just wondering if the same rule applies to iPad.

I really don't know the answer to this. i wish i did - my immediate reaction, if there was purposeful trying to damage, would be to take it away. i probably would react the same way with PECS. i wouldn't keep it away, but it would be my immediate response until the consequence was understood. but that may be wrong.

Next week, an SLP joins the conversation.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

woof meow tweet-tweet

tweet - tweet

by Cecile Boyer

This book kept my son giggling from start to finish
and I think he would have reacted the same way
at age four as he did at age twelve.
Boyer begins “Do you know how to tell the
difference between a dog, a cat and a bird?”
and uses design and font styles to describe
the individual habits of each animal,
and the clash when the
three animals encounter each other.
The humor is that each is always illustrated with
its animal noise word (as shown in the title). 
The dog is a brown “woof,” 
the cat a black “meow,”
and the bird a blue “tweet-tweet.”
Amusingly, Cecile Boyer wrote this first in French
so the original title was Ouaf Miaou Cui-Cui.
The francophone ontomotapoeia is a fun fact 
to share with an older reader,
another is that woof is set in Futura, 
meow in a font designed by Emmanuel Pevny for the book,
and tweet-tweet in Elementa - the
personality and effect of typeface is a 
sophisticated discussion made easy by
the amusing examples in the book
(the rest of the text is in Neutraface named after Richard Neutra. I find the name Neutraface irresistibly comic).
Kids love making animal noises and this is a great
book for a read along.
I keep the typeface of my reviews simple, but
I'm sure you've noted I enjoy adding a spectrum
of hues to them, as in
-Spectrum Mom

Friday, March 1, 2013

Education Friday - iPad Talk Proloquo2 Part 1

Does your child use Proloquo2go on the iPad? 
Here's a discussion among web friends on the topic.
Names have been changed to LITE, BRITE, RITE, QUITE
because I like Lite Brite (good for fine motor) and rhymes.

My child used Proloquo2go on the iPad when his speech was emerging; 
still difficult to understand.It's basically PECs, but on the iPad. He had been 
doing PECS for about 1 1/2 years before starting Proloqo2go. 
A friend’s daughter uses an iPad for communication and is AWESOME with it!! 

We've tried to use Proloquo2go before in the past, 
but we ran into a lot of problems. Proloquo2go has updated the program since, 
and I think it will fix some of our problems (like pushing the button 100 times 
or closing the program and playing other apps). 
But, I'm afraid he will stim on the program and the pictures. 
It almost seemed the program over excited him in the past
 and he wasn't focused on communication. 
I'm wondering if I should stick to PECS because of this.

My child's speech therapist at school felt an iPad would help him 
communicate more clearly and asked for an evaluation. 
The therapist in charge of communication devices evaluated him 
and approved him getting one. 
We have the iPad on loan through Metro schools. 
She trained his therapist, his teacher and us, 
but my kid knows how to navigate it more than I do. 
I truly think it helped his speech and he no longer needs it for communication. 
He does use it for sight words and spelling words. 
He's had it almost 2 years.

I have memories of the thing saying POPCORN 50 times in a row.

I have not seen an iPad. I have seen a DynaVox and similar devices. 
My HUGE problem with them is that every one I've seen is programmed 
JUST for manding and maybe for labeling objects.
If you are going to use a device for communication, make sure there are 
experience sharing words on it. 
Make sure that YOU can have a conversation on it - 
if there are not enough words and phrases on it for YOU to communicate, 
then there are not enough for the child.
A homeschooling friend blogged about using ProLoQuo2Go: 
(I think you'll have to read backwards; the post on top is the last post.)

You do have to start with demands - that's the thing. 
but one would hope the child's communication level would improve over time.
 i think, until the child becomes fluent, it is important to keep the screen clear,
 simple, and motivating. 
The ipad, as an AAC, functions nearly identical as the dynavox, 
but for a fraction of the price. additionally, it is multi-faceted instead of 
having just the one function. 
and, IMO, very importantly - it's COOL and socially appropriate!

Proloquo also has the typing option, so it operates as more
 than just a phrase builder - 
the individual can actually speak through the device, 
should he or she choose to.
Proloquo2go is made to make sentences and has many, many pictures/words, 
plus you can make your own. 
It's basically like having a HUGE PECS library.

 Being able to mand is important. 
A 4 year old that can't ask for what they want to eat is not going 
to be a happy 4 year old. 
And, being able to at least communicate on that level is a huge deal. 
But, I see your point, and that leads me to another question I have. 
How do you communicate back when your child uses an iPad? 
J doesn't necessarily understand just verbally. 
Do you use the iPad to communicate back, picture cards, or just verbally?

You respond the same way you would if he were communicating without it 
- you definitely respond to any level of communication, right? 
also, i can tell you that M understands far more than he is given credit for 
or can exhibit. 
He has been able to show us over time in small ways.

ABSOLUTELY, being able to mand is important! 
But that's all the kids were doing!

Some kids can stay in mands for quite awhile, while the rest catches up
 - my kid was in mands for over 2 (i'd say closer to 3) years. 
He is now in the commenting stage, and it's been fluid and really awesome.
 He makes request in sentence form, 
but commenting is single words. 
i can't tell you how pleasing it is to hear him share his observations with us
 - he comments on car colors, types, food, etc
 - when we are driving around or watching tv. i love it.