Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MORE Teach me Language by Dr Freeman and Dake:4 techniques

Here finally is the continuation of the post where I first talked about Dr Freeman's and Dake's  fabulous book "Teach me Language " that the wonderful  M  referred me
Its here on Amazon

This will probably be my last post on "Teach me language" becasue I think I have covered some of the generally applicable things here.

For  more you will need to read the book

Dr Freeman also has a very nice website called "The Autism Pundit".
( I love her slogan "Question Everything . Expect Evidence")

This spring summer these are the 3-4 techniques we - the fabulous trio of Mrs K , Miss S and Mrs G - have been using with a lot of success

The beauty of these tools is that they can be used perennially , they make a ton of sense, they give the language scaffolding and practice that our kids need.

 Finally, they mimic typical language development

For me the most important thing is that we are getting R's own original thoughts and these are priceless


Why  do we we do this?

The idea is to

1. have the child see and verbalize the relationship between words 

2. develop the ability to answer why questions and to understand the concept of "why-because"    

There are two ways to do simple word association 


Therapist writes down  a word pair

She  asks R to give the reason why they go together.

For example, therapist writes down " green .... sprite " and asks "R why do these words go together "?

 Therpaist introduces a prompt in writing like " "because a ----- is ......."

Once R  figures out the meaning of "is" we will introduce other concepts like tastes , sounds , feels

example therapist writes down "sweet... sprite" or "fizzy.. sprite"   


Therapist suggests a word  : a noun


Therapist writes down "flight of a bumble bee"  and then asks  child
"R what goes with the flight of a bumble bee?"

When Ro answers "Miss sadie's phone"

Then therapist writes down what R said  and then asks "why do" flight of the bumble bee" and "miss sadie's phone "   go together ?

WHY : the idea is to help the child express his/her ideas without having to frame them in a sentence  this will show the therapist the gaps in the child's general knowledge 


The therapist begins by saying a word and writes it down.

The child must say a word that is associated with the word and the therapist writes it down.

Then the therapist says a word that is associated with the word and so on    "snow-- year ".

The idea is to complete a whole page  

Here is one made my R and his Miss S

I am enthralled with the  fantastic association R did with monster - "yellow eyes"

 I have fantastic associations that Mrs K and R did - as during this time Mrs K was getting married. She took this opportunity to teach R about weddings and as R went to her wedding - he had many opinions about this :-)


If the child has difficulty completing the whole page then go sentence by sentence

 it may take many times before the child picks this up - persevere .
DO not allow the child to come with the same train of thought over many turns
VARIATION : after the set is complete do the "why do --- and --- go together ?
like this...


Take the contingent word sheet and point out the related words and describe the relationship between the two words

Here is one made by R and Mrs G ( those are the initials on the top - this is one clever thing that Mrs G does - by putting his initial on the top - she provides a reminder that its his turn )
Tell me does not the last one make you smile


In this the therapist asks the child to choose a topic ( in the example I will show below, "Beach" was the topic R chose)

The therapist then asks the child to talk about the topic

The child gives a few words ( in this case  R chose- Pebbles, Sand, press your toes and Rocky )

Then the therapist uses each of those words to build a sentence and writes it down

In this way, R is expressing his own ideas and Mrs G is helping him turn his ideas into full sentences

This is genius becasue its a window into R's world  - you can see that R experienced the beach in a sensorial way - clearly he expereinced it( I think unpleasantly )  through his feet and it explains why R does not like beaches :-)

If you do nothing else just the writing down of questions and answers has been so great

What I never thought of - is that a guy who does not process well auditarily - does not just miss out on what others say to him but  possibly does not hear what he says himself

In this way, he gets to explain his own true feelings and bargain
Our motto with R has always been First, love and it has served us well

But I think any time we attempt to teach a child our moto has become "First understand and then customize to your child's needs"

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer days!

Summer says Sensory diet

So the BIG theme for summer this year as it always is with R is SWIMMING !!!

That is all he wants to do

And since his is a FAR preferable obsession to us than the Wii or the Ipad - we really go with it

We have a pool at the cabin ( but not at home ) though R has been asking us to get an "Intesk" pool ( he is very brand aware and wants to biggest and most expensive one ( which was a real pain last year to clean also the water was icy cold almost constantly )

We have gone so far as to ask Miss Sadie to take him to her apartment's pool and do therapy there

Boy, I have never seen R run to therapy like he does here

We  also try hard to ensure he is doing other physical things and tempt him with things like this -

have you ever played with a Giga Ball ?

OMG R loves his
Honestly we keep him enticed with all these physical activity because otherwise all he wants to do is
We had some visitors to the cabin recently - what I am amazed by is how comfortable R is with visitors once he gets to know them

Look at the way R is leaning on their daughter

They had a lovely dog and while he avoided Raafi in the beginning,  he was good with them too

Developmental leaps 

R always seems to take developmental leaps when school is out ( which makes me worried  - is school bad for him )

For instance he is copying what he sees on videos - there is a character called Charlie on ( I blush dear reader , when I write babytv  for R is 7 years old !)  that R is copying

He perishes to ride his old tricycle ( gifted by my friend as he took such a fancy to it when we visited her house )
as his hero Charlie does here

Like his hero, Charlie invites 1 to ride with him , R too invites me to ride with him
( which, in fact , I do  after checking that no one is around )

We ride to our neighbors - looking like a Extra terrestrial - as our movement is mostly through me propelling us with my legs

Where we have a long chat with Miss Lucy - R's true love - he is always yearning to go Miss Lucy's house .

Though while he is there he will only sit with her for the shortest intervals of time and most of the time he will want to explore her house ( so different from ours and yet so similar !)

he also frequently brings up Annie of Little Einsteins on his Ipad  and poses with her in the mirror

Then the naughtiness!!

If we  make a rule - R will find a loophole

For instance, I told him that he was not to use electronics before 6 am ( as sleep is becoming a bit of a problem again:-( )

So he basically sneaks away in his room and plays with the Ipad till its 6 and then rushes into our bedroom as soon as the clock has crossed over 5.59 am
( and I did not know that he could tell time )

Everything he is asked not to do- climb on the chair to get to the Wii Discs, candy , etc  - he interprets to mean that as long as he is not caught doing it , he is fine ( my dear friends- while this is exasperating, its also very good as he is CONSTANTLY busting all the stupid "theory of mind" autism ideas)

Now on the one hand he is showing a lot of social 3 year old development  - this is coupled with a lot of cognitive
Like how he has taught himself the multiplication tables to 10 - OMG he loves number patterns ( for that is what multiplication really )

or how he constantly makes connections

Like DH and I were just talking about the Chicken Salad we had at a restaurant yesterday , R piped in and say "on the applebee's menu"

This is great

One, he is trying to join the conversation , second,he remembers the Applebees menu though we go there rarely , and that when we went there he paid attention to those parts of the menu that he had no interest in himself

I am a mother still new to the joy of declarative language and joy rushes through me every time I see R make a comment like " Papa played with shovel" ( pointing to a flower bed that DH and my MIL have rebed- though surely they would not like their hard work described such)

or when he tells me "mama come to play with tricycle"  a full sentence and in invite !!!( though his idea of me and him playing is him sitting like a lord and me pushing him like a minion )

Our closeness 

Is back - thank you god !!

I think his seeming to retreat into himself in June was really because I was traveling every week.
 He is back to being a snuggle bug !!

Our big news 

 I cannot say enough good things about his home therapists whom we were so lucky to find .

Our fabulous friends - like the ones who came to take us out to dinner yesterday are so close to our hearts

 His teachers too are very nice . They have really good intentions but resources are very strained and often the follow and DH and I have made the decision to leave the South :-(

In September we are moving to the Pacific North West !

( one great thing will be that I will be able to finally meet Rachel and Mr Daddy - the other great thing is that this area is very good for Autism )

While I know, we are really going to miss this small Southern town and its wonderful people, I really know we will regret not taking this chance either

If you ever think about parallel universes, moving to a new place is very akin to moving to a parallel universe

I am trying to focus on all the good things about the move and not be sentimental about this all the things we are leaving behind

But one wonderful thing about you, my dear bloggy friends, is you are my friends, wherever I go

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Teach me language by Freeman& Dake : General Priniciples

Earlier  this year DH and I were wondering how to add some structure to our home program without ABA .

That is when  I discovered this book owing to my good friend M's recommendation

This is a book written in 1997 by Sabrina Freeman and Lauralei Dake .. it seems a little pricey on paper ( on amazon here its for around 55 dollars ) but its worth every penny

  Its a very easy read

  Anyway back to M,

M has two very bright boys with autism and hyperlexia and she has given me a lot of good advice over the years

Her BEST advice for me has been her recommendation on this book

This book is for a very specific kind of autie

  Skip over this post my dear friends whose kids dont fit this specific description

But if you child is a hyperlexic table ready child - let me give you some crib notes on things DH and I have been using for R in his home therapy program

  This book is for the following type of kid

1. Kids who are hyperlexic

2. Table ready 

Here are the basic Principles you employ in each session


Each session must have a written schedule

This  give the child a feeling of control and its very important that the entire schedule be completed

We also must find a way to make each session be pleasurable -

We should praise the child for correct answers
We must   give choices when we can and also have a reward at the end of the schedule

    A schedule at the beginning of each session can be as simple as this

All the exrecises should be done multiple times but the therapist must encourage many different correct answers ( its possible that answers are atypical and that is fine )

  Exercises must be presented by the therapist by modeling correct answers and in  writing

Eventually, we will want R, to complete the exercises himself but only after he has seen the therapist model it and then help him several times

This is critical . R is a child who processes the world visually ( I think this is true of all hyperlexic kiddos )

In this curriculum, we are teaching oral language using visual channels .

Once the child can read a sentence , understand the sentence and then eventually identify the sentence when someone else reads it then his oral ability is strengthened 


When an exercise is first introduced the child will have to be helped but eventually the help needs to be reduced and then faded away till the child does independent work


One of the problems with R is how little general knowledge he has !!

  Bright kids with autism will often not pick up the most basic things fom the environment  :due to following reasons

1. because they often do not process oral information due to their visual brains

2. Due to their great ,memories they may remember many minute details BUT They may not have the ability to discern the main idea from the detail -

the book has a section on general knowledge and the idea is to give the child a structured way to acquire the general knowledge 


We want to work daily and if possible multiple times a day  we are introducing language visually

- so that the child will acquire language in the same way that an adult acquires a foreign language

Ok that is the introduction

Tomorrow I will write on the three techniques we have been  using

Simple Word Association,Complex word Associations, Writing an Essay etc

Monday, July 2, 2012

The last days of June

How did June end so fast ?

 It seems like things are moving so fast these days

The month has been its mixture of great, good and bad

Julie has had her baby - ( no baby pics on blog yet but she did post on Facebook )

It seems just the other day she talked about becoming pregnant

She and Steve have the most beautiful babies you could imagine

On the bad side, one very sad thing that happened is Abby beloved black lab that I was proud to be aunt to, is gone !

Here is her when I went to see her in May -  my friend had shared that Abby would not be around for long so I thought I should go and say goodbye

I am so glad I did

Good bye Abbs darling - you are always in my heart

I am piecing together this month with the pictures on my phone

When in doubt, do sensory 

I am super busy with work - we have his gran visiting as well and its horribly  hot  - super super hot

Its really easy with this, to forget about Floortime and just spend our time gossiping ( and eating )

So I am simply forcing myself to go out every evening

My mantra is "when you cannot change your attitude ( laziness) , you can at least change your behavior( go out and play ) "

We spend a lot of time playing in the treehouse that DH built 2 years ago

And on hammocks

And in our indoor swing

He keeps telling me to push harder and faster

(Can you see what he is reading ? Multiplication tables )

I dream of a really long and big swing

Mirror Neurons

One interesting thing I noticed recently is a Mirror Neurons related Phenomenon

( you know when you yawn because you saw someone else yawning or when you salivate when you see other people eating something tasty or when every woman in the audience raises her face when Rhett leans down to kiss Scarlett?- well Aues are not supposed to have them )

R loves Doritos Jacked ( do you know what they are)

They are super spicy Doritos that are thicker and crisper and spicier

The other day as I put one in my mouth - R did a OOOOOH sound as though he could taste the spice

Change is good.. not 

 I have to hand it to DH - he is always trying out something new with R

This summer he decided on swim lessons and on horse riding

Both attempts have been difficult

R climbs on the horse very reluctantly and closes his ears -

All the other auties are happily brushing their horses.

Swimming, is his favorite thing in the world to do -

He literally begging everyday to go to the pool

But swimming lessons?

No way Jose

He hates to get his face wet 

At the same time- we know these have been helpful - and its  because of the swimming lessons he is finally willing to "disappear " ( ie put his head inside the water ) these days 

I and DH, remind our self of  of how long it takes to get him to do each new thing and how important it is that we keep on trying - because its not the thing in itself that he minds- just the newness 

And if we don't keep pushing the boundary - his life will get circumscribed into tighter and smaller circles of safeness, routine and rigidity ( I find this happens with most of us as we get older- fewer friends- most of them like us, no new hobbies, same  routines etc ) 

Mindless Stimming? .. NOT 

I have been watching what he does when he looks like he is mindlessly doing repetitive things on screens

Turns out he is not !

He is making remixes

So for instance he has 3 screens open at the moment

On the Iphone - he has The Little Einsteins in a snow setting - on the Ipad he has a polar bear

On another ipad he has seals

He also has Wii Music playing Carmen in the background

Another time I see him open two videos on his computer and remix the dialogue

So in screen 1 a child says the multiplication table

Then he pauses that screen

Then plays the part on the Little Einsteins Screen and Annie says "Awwwwwwwww"

Now he does do many repetitive things as well - but I think this scene setting and dialogue remixing  are good thinking processes

Baby is getting big 

 First,  R is a acquiring some big boy like qualities

Many good things about this

A little bit of  Independence is coming .

These days when he does his bedtime routine - after we finish reading a book

I simply turn off the lights and WALK AWAY 

This is UNHEARD of.. 

Usually I have to wait till he is fast asleep and then creep away like a thief hoping I dont wake up . ( this- walk away when he is awake -   practice was started by DH when I was traveling for a week in June ) 

Another thing is that he is getting  very opinionated and decisive -

Like today we were at the Outlet Mall - he dragged me all the way to the Crocs store because he wanted to buy yet more shoes

They are so cute... his orange shoes

He loves creating his iconic moments

Like I came downstairs yesterday to see that he had hunted for and  collected his iconic moment

  1. Red Jelly Beans 
  2. Macbook
  3. Numbers 
  4. Wii Remotes 
Some of his stubborness is not very so adorable though

He will throw a tantrum if he does not get his way in the many things he wants to do just so

Some of his baby sweetness is going away 

The hugs and kisses are reducing slightly 

Usually he cannot sit next to me without snuggling up like this 

But these days, I feel they are reducing a little 

Plus the mischief 

He has been sooo naughty and so defiant lately 

DH and I used to say that one of the joys of parenting an autie was the lack of the Gimmes 

Well no more 

I sat in the car yesterday and noticed the non stop gimmes .. 

"Gimme I phone please .. thank you god" 
"Gimme ipad" 
Gimme red jellybeans"
 gimme red cherry starburst:
 "Sing Carmine" 
"Play bird will make the rock fall on ( imaginary ) piano "

He will also find an indirect way to defy my " no's"

For instance, here I told him not to touch the buttons of the AC in his playroom

So he is touching them through this basket here

I will frequently find him having created ladders to get to things he is not supposed to

Also he tries to hide his crime sprees ( so much for lack of "theory of mind " )

I find his face hands clothes covered with markers

Apart from the dangerous mischief - I am loving this phase

But I miss my sweet baby too

Last night as he is in trouble yet again - for tearing  a picture of a measuring tape out of a book - even though he fully well knows the rules about "no tearing books"

But I know him well and I see from his face that his only sorrow is that he was found out !

I think sadly that my baby is indeed growing up

Then when I come back to go to bed myself -

I see he has left his bed and is now sleeping on our bed on DH's pillow

I thank god for these little bits of babiness that are still in him

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