Thursday, August 28, 2008

Harold and the Purple Crayon sparks creativity for kids with ASD

by Jax Chachitz
Creative Spectrum

Harold and the Purple Crayon is a fabulous book series that I find really useful for many reasons. All you need is the book and a purple crayon or what I use is a white board with a purple marker. You can easily get a copy from your Public Library. The illustrations are fairly easy to copy and it is great to work on reading comprehension, copying the images, asking questions about the story, encouraging your child to draw in pictures, following a storyline, etc.

My son absolutely loves for me to draw out the pictures and sometimes we try to go a step further and act out the scenes with random improv props. Its fascinating to see what he comes up with. For Harold going to the moon, we used a bed comforter for the moon and some bristle blocks for a rocket. We scrunched up paper as moon rocks and collected those in a bag. Really, the book series is fabulous and if you just use your imagination to inspire and create, you will inspire your child to have some fun coming up with ideas. All of these skills can sometimes be very difficult for kids with Autism, ASD, PDD, and Speech and Language delays. I find creating an art project or acting activity and sprinkling your speech and language, Q & A or whatever you happen to working on at the moment into the play helps to practice and work on the things that are more difficult. Let Harold animate your childs world.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Free Printable Where Questions Book for Children with Autism, ASD, PDD

Free Printable Where Questions Book for Children with Autism
by Jamie Sue Austin
Free Printable Fun

In this free printable book Monkey explores the question "Where?" and learns his prepositions. Prepositions can be really hard for children with Autism.

This is an interactive book. On the last two pages are images for you to cut out. You are to have the child apply the appropriate image to the story as you read it. I recommend laminating the story pages and cut outs and using velcro dots to attach the pieces to the story.

Free Printable Where Questions Book for Children with Autism.
Download in PDF format.

Free Printable Why Questions Book for Children with Autism, ASD, PDD

Printable Why Question Book for Children with Autism
by Jamie Sue Austin
Free Printable Fun

Children with autism often struggle with "wh" questions like Who, What, Where, and Why. My son struggles with all of these, but I think his not being able to understand "why" is the most frustrating for both of us. There are books out there designed to teach children with autism to answer "wh" questions. My son's speech therapist uses the Buddy Bear books from Lingui Systems. They are kind of expensive so I decided to make my own versions of them.

My son's nick name is Monkey so the main character is a monkey and since it was written for him it addresses come common occurrences in our house, but it should still be of some use for others. The book addresses three "why" scenarios: "Why" Monkey wants an object, "Why" Monkey is wearing an item, and "Why" Monkey has a particular thing.

This is an interactive book. On the last two pages are images for you to cut out. You are to have the child apply the appropriate image to the story as you read it. I recommend laminating the story pages and cut outs and using velcro dots to attach the pieces to the story.

Printable Why Question Book for Children with Autism PDF

Free Books from Online Sources

I have recently found a fabulous list for teachers and think it is well worth investigating how these resources can be applied to the Autism Community. These links include audio books which are appropriate for listening and comprehension and may be able to help with Auditory Processing. I have gotten this list via, Alisa Miller. I wanted to review the links and will post more.

The following books are all available for free. Some are interactive online books, others are audio downloads you can use in the classroom, and they range from titles for the youngest child to high school age.

1. Reading A-Z. Download and print several free books that include leveled readers, readers in Spanish and French, and books that focus on phonics, vocabulary, and fluency.
2. E-Books. Sign up for a free membership in order to download these free books.
3. Audio Stories 4 Kids. Download from MP3 files of many audio books for children. Titles include Alice in Wonderland, The House at Pooh Corner, and Madeline.
4. The Cinnamon Bear. This story is an old radio series from the 1930’s and you can download both the music and PDF files to use in your classroom. On this site, you can also download free audio files of Christmas on the Moon.
5. Book Adventure. This reading motivation program sponsored by Sylvan Learning is free for students to use in grades K-8 and teachers can receive a free Book Adventures Teachers Guide to help guide them in using the program in the classroom.
6. Children’s Storybooks Online. Find full-color story books for young readers to books for older children all available to read online and all for free.
7. Lookybook. With a click of a mouse button, you can flip through the pages of these high quality and frequently gorgeous children’s books.
8. Fairrosa Cyber Library of Children’s Literature. Classics such as Little Women and Peter Pan reside next to fairy tales and poems on this resource full of children’s literature.
9. Storyline Online. The Screen Actors Guild has compiled several children’s books at this innovative site. Click on a book and the actor will introduce the book and begin reading it. Along with the narration, the video streams the pages of the book and the accompanying text.
10. Stonrynory. These free audio books are targeted at children and include both classics as well as new stories.
11. Free Classic Audio Books. Available in MP3 or m4b for iPods, get classics from Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, Herman Melville, and more.
12. Adam Smith Academy. Download classic stories such as An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and The Tell-Tale Heart onto your iPod or iPhone. They are currently developing DVD packs for middle and high school as well.
13. PaperBackSwap. If you’ve got some old books you would like to exchange for different titles, you can join this free group to help facilitate trading books with others.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Being Hyper Visual in a Verbal World

Here is an incredibly interesting article about being hyper visual in a verbal world. It may be interesting for us to try to think this way. Visually instead of verbally. I can sometimes totally relate to this, being an artist. I can often times relate information as if I see pictures. I wonder if this is just more extreme for those with Autism. To really view the world this way, to the point where processing other types of sensory information is more difficult. I totally relate to the part about my son not hearing me if he is totally absorbed in the television or other stimuli, also walking down the street. I can see how even visual stimulation can be completely overwhelming.

Hyper-Visual in a Verbal World - Autism and Communication Disorders
August 22, 2008 | By admin In Uncategorized |

A child or adult with Autism or a Communication disorder will have difficulties fitting into our extremely verbal world. These difficulties can create isolation from others and threatening walls of silence. However, there is a specific sub group of people diagnosed with these disorders who have a hyper-visual system. In these cases, when the visual system is harnessed, teaching communication becomes much easier.

I Rode the Train, I Want to be an Engineer
Hyper-visual people are experiencing visually when speaking. Their communications may appear to be almost nonsensical rambling but in fact they are following a very logical pattern. The difference is the pattern followed is visual rather than verbal. The exchange below illustrates this point.

I asked Mark, a college student, ?How did you get here today??
He replied, I took the train in from Long Island. My family went to the beach (Mark was seeing himself on the train but did not say this). Maybe I will be a engineer. The reason I like engineering is that there are serious problems. (Mark was thinking about being a transportation engineering and designing train tracks and freeway intersections) I have always been good in math. When teachers are difficult to understand. (Mark is seeing himself at school doing well except when the teacher is confusing and then associating to a video he watched about Einstein)Like Dr. Einstein- There was an exhibit on Einstein at the history museum did you see it?

Mark was attempting to answer my question but his picture mind took him on quite a ride as one picture blended into the next from the train- to a vacation to an engineering career to Einstein, at the museum. The expected answer was ?TRAIN?. This very verbal illustration demonstrates how the visual pathway can create leap-frog thinking-which to verbal people can seem like impulsivity.

Instead of negotiating the world with verbal reasoning, a visual person often negotiates with patterns. As a result the ?sameness of routines? becomes the template to make sense of the chaos of everyday life. We refer to these visual learners as ?Mavericks.? We often ask Mavericks to adjust to changes in schedule or adjustments in plans based on how we typically explain things - by talking. These words can create more confusion and frustration as they may not be processed at the speed expected. This lag in processing time can create resistance, immature behavior, odd play, tantrums or reluctance to participate. As a result the normal teaching methods that are based on processing incoming language can fail.

Sequencing & Associating
Visual people often use the brain?s Associator to form memories. They learn of a new idea and they relate that idea to their own knowledge base. The opposite of the Associator is the Sequencer from the verbal pathway.

The Sequencer is rigid and ordering, one sound following another to make a word, words produced in specific order to form grammatically correct sentences and ideas linked in order to make paragraphs.

The Associator is time-independent and the Sequencer is very time based. Understanding consequences depends on a time based understanding of cause and effect.

My son, Whitney, at age 4, wanted to jump off of the roof to fly like Superman, without understanding, from verbal reasoning, the danger involved. Whitney would sit mesmerized watching Disney?s Snow White as if he were deaf. In fact, at times, I could scream in his ear and he could not hear me even though all of the parts of his ear to brain physiology were judged to be normal. At these times his visual brain powered by his associator were shutting down his verbal sensory system.

If the pictures drive the thought, children can appear to be oblivious to cause and effect. They may disregard threatened consequences. Often Mavericks feel that they must complete the pattern to finish the thought they have developed through the associator before they can transition to the next idea. If the thought is disrupted the Maverick may hit a wall and resort to talking with lines from a movie or echoing what was said or get stuck like a broken record and repeat the same thing over and over again.

With the appropriate training, Mavericks can learn effective verbal communication. The teaching methods must first then harness the visual system first before moving forward to teaching communication.

Dr. Cheri Florance is a brain scientist with training and clinical experience in how to teach the brain to replace symptoms of communication and language disorders. In her books, Maverick Mind, ( and A Boy Beyond Reach (, she describes how she taught her own autistic son, Whitney to replace disability with ability and become symptom-free. To learn more about her own personal journey and successful methods visit her complimentary Learning Library at

Friday, August 22, 2008

Grant to help with therapy

Grant to help with autism therapy

They are accepting applications up to $500. It must be postmarked for November 1, 2008.


# Have an individual with a diagnosed developmental disorder or disability living at home.
# Live in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States (i.e., Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York only)

Find out more on their website

If you have any other questions, you can contact them here:

PO Box 716
Richboro, PA 18954

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ABC's Animal Memory Game

Thanks to Mina for leaving the information about the ABC Animals Memory Game. It is downloadable for PC Users, not Mac - so unfortunately I cannot use it. But please tell me how it is for all those out there that can access the program. I guess the download is free but you can buy the game if you find it useful.

ABC Animals Version 2.
Card matching memory game for kids.

Author (Support): Green Forest Studio
Price: $9.95 File Size: 2.66 MB Requirements: 32M RAM Language: English
Date Updated: 2008-5-20 3:00 AM Platform: Windows 98 or higher
Long Descriptions of ABC Animals
Card matching memory game for children (age 4+). Match up pairs of beautiful animal pictures!

It's really easy to play. Just click on the cards to flip them over and try to find the pairs. Your main goal is to find the legendary unicorn as fast as you can. In this way you can earn bonus points. Rate yourself on the High Scores table!

The game also helps to learn the letters of the alphabet while playing.

Ideal preschool or first former educational game for kids - with children's friendly interface and cutting edge graphics. Have fun!

How to article on using Printables to teach children with Autsim

Here is an article written by our favorite printable expert, Jamie Sue Austin. It is posted on the How to site, which also seems like a great resource for information

How to Use Printables to Teach Children with Autism

By Jamie Austin

Teaching children with autism can be difficult at times. Autism affects how a child processes information. Repetition is often the best way for children with autism to learn something new. Teaching materials specially designed for children with autism can be prohibitively expensive. Printables, online items that can be printed for free, can be used to create folder games, PECS cards and picture schedules for children with autism. Explore various ways to use printables in your daily lessons.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Use printables to create folder games. Folder games help easily illustrate key concepts for children with autism. Folder games are usually comprised of a variety of images which a child can match or manipulate to achieve a goal. For example, to teach a child with autism about animals and their habitats using printables you would search online for clip art of various animals and pictures of various habitats that those animals would reside in. A picture of a frog would match with a picture of a pond. Print out and cut apart all the images. Glue the images of the habitats to the inside of a manila folder. Have the child match the images of the animals to the correct habitats. Use clear laminate, contact paper or packing tape to protect the images.

Use prinables to create PECS cards. PECS, or Picture Exchange Communication System, cards are pictures used to convey information. A child who cannot verbalize his needs can use a picture to communicate with others. PECS cards can be found online and printed out for use with the child. PictureSET and MESEnglish are two excellent resources for printable PECs and PEC-style cards.

Use printables to create a picture schedule. Picture schedules help maintain order during a multi-step activity and help reduce anxiety for children with autism. Knowing what comes next in a sequence can help children with autism more easily transition from one aspect of an activity to the next. Print images that can be readily identified by the child and arrange them in order to create a picture schedule. Use a picture schedule to convey an entire day’s worth of activities or as a visual reminder to help the child complete a multi-step activity like using the bathroom. Do2Learn has many free printable picture schedules.

Use printables to improve coloring and writing skills. Many children with autism need extra practice when it comes to correct writing grip. Printable coloring pages can be found on almost any subject. Giving a child with autism coloring pages on subjects that interest them can help motivate her to practice coloring and writing skills.

Use printables to improve cutting and pasting skills. Many children with autism need extra practice when it comes to cutting with scissors and pasting. Cutting and pasting are important skills for all children and are a prerequisite for surpassing early education. By using printables focused on subjects that interest the child, the child will become more motivated to improve his cutting and pasting skills.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Free Browser for kids with Autism

Zac BrowserZAC is the first web browser developed specifically for children with autism, and autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), and PDD-NOS. We have made this browser for the children - for their enjoyment, enrichment, and freedom. Children touch it, use it, play it, interact with it, and experience independence through ZAC.

Zac BrowserZAC is the zone that will permit your child to interact directly with games (a LOT of games) and activities (focused on MANY interests) that cater specifically to kids who display the characteristics of autism spectrum disorders, like impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior. ZAC has been an effective tool for kids with low, medium and high functioning autism.

Zac BrowserZAC focuses on the children and their interaction - But we also provide an excellent forum for parents, caretakers, teachers, and others to share their experiences, tools and resources and to unite as a caring, compassionate, and extremely knowledgeable community. It is said that "it takes a village to raise a child", and that is exponentially true for raising a child with autistic spectrum disorders. The power of your experience yesterday is going to be instrumental in helping someone successfully tackle the circumstances of today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Free Printable Autism Resources

MouseTrial Autism Software
Fun animated online exercises to help kids with autism

All the items on this page are completely FREE for you to take away, reproduce and distribute as you wish. They are ideal for use on autism-related web sites or for inclusion in information packs for parents and carers. Feel free to take whatever items seem useful and email them to any friends who might find them useful. There's no need to contact us before using these materials (although you are more than welcome to email us if you have any specific queries).

MouseTrial Software
Don't forget that you get lots of free goes in the MouseTrial software itself. Please don't be shy about using up all of your free goes, - that's what they're there for! Each individual game (or "submodule") has its own quota of free goes, so don't give up just because you've run out of goes on the first game you try!