Sunday, April 20, 2008

Project Spectrum: Amazing 3d Software for Children with Autism

Children with Autism Architect Their Ideas Using 3D Design Software

Here is an amazing FREE software product for kids with Autism. Check out the site but also visit the utube videos of the projects that kids have actually created. Phenomenal. What a wonderful tool for kids that are visual but unable to physically be able to draw as well. This software tool helps to bring to life ideas visually and make concepts easy to expand on.

"Project Spectrum was developed by the SketchUp Team at Google to help people with autism take advantage of their visual and spatial gifts.
The idea for Project Spectrum originated when we began getting phone calls and emails from users telling us about how much kids on the autism spectrum were enjoying SketchUp. As the calls kept coming in, we learned that people with autism tend to be visually and spatially gifted—that, in fact, they think in pictures. When people with these gifts get their hands on powerful, easy-to-use 3D design software like SketchUp, sparks tend to fly."
"Inspired by what we've learned, we've partnered with the Boulder, Colorado chapter of the Autism Society of America, the Boulder Valley School District, and the Life Long Learning Lab at University of Colorado to provide children with software and guidance that may help them to express an idea or even develop a life skill."

"SketchUp provides new ways for people with autism to articulate their thoughts. Here JP uses SketchUp to share his dream of becoming a filmmaker. See the video Meg's aquarium dream house is a great example of how SketchUp can enable someone to express the pictures in her head."

Try Google SketchUp - free 3D design software
Sign up for the Google for Educators Newsletter
Join our online community at the Project Spectrum Google Group
Learn to use SketchUp with Self Paced Tutorials
Download the Project Spectrum Manual of Lesson Plans

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Art lesson for children with Autism: Collage Stories

This will be an ongoing series of ideas for teaching art to kids on the Autism Spectrum. My goal is to tailor and customize solutions for teaching kids with Autism about art and creating art.

Create collages with paper. Use familiar images from childrens books.
The basic premise is to cut or rip small pieces of paper to create a collage of color like a mosaic.

Supplies needed: Scissors, Glue, Favorite Book, Old Magazines or Construction Paper.

When I was first introduced to this concept, we used newspaper. We took a classical image, projected and mapped out an outline onto a large piece of paper (about the size of a wall) and then collaged the gradations of color with only using black, gray and white. This was a great undertaking in terms of reproducing color into black and white and really seeing the values of color through limited color. I am not suggesting this as the final project for the little ones but as a variation.

You begin by finding a favorite character or book illustration. Place the page on a window and trace the outline onto a white piece of paper. Or trace the outline anyway possible, even share this as part of the process, as outlining is a good skill to have. You begin by cutting or ripping the small to medium pieces of a paper in various colors represented in the story. You may want to stick to simple graphic like images for an easier activity. Share in ripping, cutting and glueing the various pieces into the outlines. Your child will enjoy representing the various sections. You can even expand the concept and use magazine pictures for silly noses, eyes, body parts. The important thing is to have fun. Always remember these projects are about learning to use tools for expression, visually representing images with color and shapes, and most of all enjoying the experience of creating.

There are many famous artists that use collage as an art form. Utilizing scraps of paper, magazine cut outs of what exists visually is a great way to incorporate instant color, images to create stories and encourage spontaneous ideas with simple tools. You can even embellish objects, similar to decoupage and decorate crafts. Another trick for getting that exact image you are looking for, the google image search tool or online clip art.

Jax Chachitz