I have worked and talked with many teachers that have used my books to help kids with special needs. As well, I have done many plays with kids with special needs, and the change and awareness that is created during the process is amazing! Knowing this, I wanted to share an idea that I just received from a teacher. Here is what she wrote:
I used your Midsummer Night’s Dream for Kids as reading material. I couldn’t get my high school special ed students to reread anything. Their thinking was I have already read that once and do not need to repeat. But by introducing this as a play that needed to be word perfect and beginning on page one each day, they were willing to participate. They were rehearsing for a show not simply earning a grade for the reading class. Your materials made all the difference. Most important, reading skills improved.
A clever use of my books, or plays in general, to get special needs kids more engaged in reading! Just a lesson idea from a teacher in the world. I hope this helps, as well as I’m always here to help if you need it, just reach out to me!
The Skinny: Where is the Cake? and its sequel Where is the Cake Now? are wonderful illustrated books without any words. Taking away the text can be great for some children who are nervous about reading, and prompt them to create their own narratives about the pictures. What it is: Where is the Cake? and Where is…
The Skinny: This is a nice, simple visual timer system for kids to see how much longer they need to work on a task and get a break, or even as simple as how long it takes to bake the cookies. It helps my kid understand when I say, “Give me 5 minutes” and he is…
The Skinny: This particular app has already been given Apple’s “App store Hall of Fame” status. So you know it’s pretty good. Toontastic is an amazing game that you can use to build language and story sequencing. It is simply designed to show how a story goes from beginning to climax to the end. They even integrate music so…
The Skinny: Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are great open-ended activities prompting language, learning about body parts, and practicing pretend play skills. What it is: Mr./Mrs. Potato Head (any version) What it’s used for: Language – teaching requesting,”more”, body parts, and colors, following directions Ways to use it: Language: Withhold Potato Heads parts momentarily to prompt your kid to…
The Skinny: Okay, I think this is one of the simplest, yet coolest products out there! It’s very simple in the sense that your kid can wear a different message every day. But, the best part about it is it allows your child to enjoy playing with language. See some of the pictures I took just playing…
The Skinny: This is a fun Rube Goldberg type game that really works on your motor planning. It’s a cross between a marble run game and the board game Mousetrap. There are 7 obstacles to move your ball through. Each one has its own joystick or button to maneuver the ball with. The goal is to move the ball through the course.
What it is: Screwball Scramble
What it’s used for: Motor Planning and Language
Ways to use it:
I would start with just successfully doing one task, then move up from there, one at a time.
I would progress to setting up sequences to solve, to encourage their constant accomplishments
Lastly, once they have solved the entire board. I would pull out the timer. For some kids, competing against their own time or that of a friend, is a great motivator. The goal with having your child do this task faster and faster is that they are working from muscle memory, versus thinking through every step. Similar to breathing, you don’t realize that you are doing it, but you are. You don’t think about it, you just do it. Like walking. We want the fingers and the brain to work simultaneously.
For language, I would be constantly describing all the different segments with unique descriptive words: Lever boards, rails, tubes, ringing bell, etc. There are several different areas to describe that you can build multiple new words into your child’s vocabulary.
Then, if your child is ready for it, and the game motivates them, you can have them name pieces of the game with the new words you have just taught them. “Label 3 items to the get the next ball to play with” It’s a bit ABA, but it does get the repetitive practice in.
The Skinny: Word Magic is a great app that we used with my kid to help him learn his first words. At about 3 years old, we were still very concerned about his language. But, he was starting to come along. I remember the time when we had a giant matrix of words, and worked every day…