World Autism Awareness Day

During my time teaching I had the chance to work with a diverse range of needs including a range of Special Educational Needs. I loved having the chance to work with children of varying needs, teaching them the skills they needed and watch them grow and develop in not only their academic ability but more importantly their personal, social and emotional well being.

Hands-on and visually interesting resources were always the one of the most effective tools to support children in learning essential skills, especially with the needs I taught, one being autism. The autistic spectrum is vast and the needs of the children are always different and unique to the child.  It was important to me to learn about their needs and strategies which I could put in place that would support the child throughout their school life and allow them to reach their full potential.

What’s key to teaching children with Autism is having great support and communication from parents as it’s essential that children, especially when they have learning needs, have consistency across their learning environments. Good communication and teamwork between home and school for these children creates a strong foundation in which they can learn and develop.

My colleague John has good experience of this from a parental point of view due to two of his children having special educational needs. W is diagnosed with Autism and M is at present diagnosed with severe global development delay and they expect he may be diagnosed with Autism in the next 18 months. John has provided some insight below on how Learning Resources products have supported his boys in their learning and development of  essential skills.

All of our counters – Both boys have found these very good for early maths. They find it much easier to grasp basic addition and subtraction in a visual format. This has now enabled them to develop into understanding the rules and W can now do this in his head. We also used for both for early colour recognition.

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Snap Shots – Both boys like these products, W very much likes to answer and develop the questions provided and it helps enforces his comprehension learning. It works for M on a more simple level we ask him to just explain what is happening in the picture and sometimes developing from there.

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Speakers Box I’ve commented on this product before but it worked so well for W and was the one thing that taught him to start to understand what was going on around him and start to remember and explain. On the flip side it hasn’t worked with M at all.

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New Sprouts This range has proved very useful with both as it encourages interaction between both of them and their sisters. Even if they don’t want to play, their sisters drag/force both of them to play shop. Social interaction is one of their biggest challenges for both the boys and this range does help a lot. Also good for early colour recognition, helped with M a lot.

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Clocks W learnt to tell the time using the Big Time Clock from the kit – it’s large and easy to use hands worked well and over a long time gave him a good grasp of the subject. He is now the best teller of time in his class and the Teacher often asks him to go to the front of the class to explain when there is a time question. It’s definitely something that he takes great pride in and has given him confidence. He has a clock on the wall in his bedroom and his own alarm clock. We use this to make sure he doesn’t get up too early; he’s a very early riser, so, especially on a Sunday, he knows he can’t come down stairs until after 7am.

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Mummy Blogger Lauren also has much experience of raising a child on the spectrum. She has shared with us her recent review of some popular Learning Resources products she feels are great for children with ASD.

The Helping Hands set contains four tools for various activities, to grab, squeeze, scoop and drop. The tools are all brightly coloured and immediately appealing. The tool set is designed to help children develop their fine motor skills, which is an area we are keen to work on with Neil”

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“The Second item we received was the Play Foam. We had never tried anything like play foam before, and were completely intrigued by it. It claims to be mess free and non drying and I was very interested to put the claims to the test”

Discover more about Mummy Blogger Lauren at http://www.bloggermummylauren.co.uk

Donna of the mummy blog Mummy Bird has also shared several posts with us, highlighting which Learning Resources products have helped her son, Little Bird, the most.

“Little Bird is coming on slowly with his reading, he feels defeated easily when he sees to many words on a page but I encourage him the best I can to take it slowly and work through it. He never sits still and in bed at night he constantly fidgets whilst he’s trying to read or I try and read him a story. A couple of weeks ago Learning Resources sent him the Hot Dots – Jolly Phonics to review and we really liked the idea of it.”

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Being on the Autistic Spectrum, Little Bird loves to have things in order, and enjoys sorting colours. Our Rainbow Sorting Crayons were a perfect activity for him!

“We have made a game up with the Rainbow Sorting Crayons, we put everything into a bowl and see who is the fastest to sort the coloured pieces into the right tube. Using a stopwatch we track our times and the winner is the one to complete this task the fastest. The children are really good at this, its just another way for the children to enjoy this fantastic set.”

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Discover more about Mummy Bird, and her younger birds, at http://mummybird.com/

With thanks to John, and our fab mummy bloggers.

Jo Moore

Education Expert at Learning Resources