You Won’t Be Cold Anymore With Lámh Signs

Last year, I recorded one of Mr. Tumble´s songs with Lámh sings. Many parents and teachers commented how helpful that was, so I recorded again and improve it, so more teachers and parents can use it with their children.

Although the weather is cold, we must make sure children go out to play every day. A walk around the block or, if you are closer to nature like us, a walk by the sea or in the woods, will provide the best movement break for the kids.

The song I recorded for you it´s called “You Won´t Be Cold Anymore” by Mr. Tumble. It´s perfect for teaching children to dress appropriately for the cold weather. It also teaches signs for clothing items such as; coat, scarf, gloves and hat.

Subscribe to my newsletter below to receive weekly sign videos and more articles to help you communicate better with your child.

You Wont Be Cold Anymore With Lámh Signs

How to use the First & Next board

Learn how to use First and Then boards, and avoid making the mistake that most people make when introducing this concept for the first time.

First and next boards are elementary schedules that we use to help children with autism learn what activities will happen next. They can also be of benefit to any child or student who finds it challenging to transition from one activity to another.
The boards help to show what activity is to be done now, and what has to be done next. They are generally presented on a piece of A4 paper or card with the words First/Next displayed clearly.

First represents what’s happening now, and next represents what’s going to happen later. Put one symbol to represent first, and another one to show next, then explain to your student what task needs to be done now, and what needs to be done next.

I tend to use real-life pictures of each task with my students. For students that cannot identify images yet, I like to use the actual object. For example, I stick a Lego brick on the first box and a playdough container on the next box. However, I use symbols for older students. Using symbols helps to simplify the work involved in printing and laminating the boards, as you could, for example, have a symbol for tabletop work, and another for garden time, rather than having to print lots pictures of specific activities.

If you want to introduce the First/Next board to a child for the very first time, make sure you select two activities that the child enjoys. Initially, the child might think that those two pictures represent a choice board, that is why it’s crucial to dedicate time to teach that the two images (or objects) represent a sequence of events.
So I always begin with two activities children enjoy so they are naturally interested in the boards. If you were to choose an activity that the child doesn’t enjoy with the promise of a reward, they might refuse to take part! So keep it fun and interesting until the student develops the habit of using the First/Next boards consistently. Gradually introduce more challenging activities first and always a preferred activity or a reward next.

Over time, we want to teach children to delay gratification, a skill that is very important for all children, not only children with special needs. Children will be likely to succeed in school, and in life, if they can delay gratification for a better outcome in the future. It’s an important lesson to learn that first we have to complete our obligations and afterwards we can then have time to have fun or relax!

For a toddler that might simply be First, you brush your teeth, Next storytime. At the same time, an older child might be able to understand that First, they have to do their homework and next they get to watch some TV.

I understand that introducing visual supports might seem tedious to begin with – but it’s really worth the extra effort. Over time and with consistency, you will see your child co-operating more at home and in school, and developing good habits that will be hugely beneficial to both you and your child or student long into the future.

Subscribe to my newsletter below to receive weekly sign videos and more articles to help you communicate better with your child.

How to use First & Next boards

How to support children with autism learning their peers’ names

Do you know that some children with autism struggle recognising people’s faces?

I was stunned years ago, at the start of my career, when I realised that one of my students didn’t know the names of his classmates. This boy, who had autism, enjoyed being with other children and often engaged in play and conversation, that is what made it even more confusing to be at the time.

My son Sebastian, who also has autism, struggles with that too. Of course, he remembers and knows well close relatives and close friends, but outside this circle, he finds it hard to remember people’s names and faces.

That is because some children with autism can find difficult recognising people’s faces. This deficiency can also be called facial blindness. It does not mean they can’t recognise people, but it can mean that it might take them longer to get to identify a new face.

While recognising faces and remembering people’s names might be an issue for some children with autism, there are ways to support them so they can get to know their classmates.

In today’s video, I talk about two activities you can do in the classroom to make sure your student learns his or her peers’ names, and get to know the other children in the class a bit better.

P.S. Forward this email to any colleagues that you think might benefit from this information.

Subscribe to my newsletter below to receive weekly sign videos and more articles to help you communicate better with your child.

How to support children with autism learning their peers’ names

Help your child say more words

3 strategies to get your child communicating.

One of the questions parents and teachers often ask is “what can I do to help my child say more words?”.

This week, in my video blog, I answer a question that a mum of a 4-year-old boy with autism sent me asking for advice on how to help his son use more words.

Each child is unique; all children will learn and develop at their own pace. But there are several effective strategies you can implement to encourage more communication.

In this video blog, you will learn 3 strategies I always use with my students.

And now your turn, which strategies do you use to encourage your students to communicate more?

Subscribe to my newsletter below to receive weekly sign videos and more articles to help you communicate better with your child.

Help your child say more words: 3 strategies to get your child communicating

Communication Passport

One of the main questions for parents of children with disabilities over the last two months has been “What would happen if I became sick? Who would look after my child/children?” This is a concern for all parents, but particularly parents of children with autism or significant language delays.

Children with autism often have difficulties with social interaction, including establishing and maintaining relationships and communicating with others. This, in turn, affects how they interact with family members and friends. Some family members might struggle to understand or to cope with an autistic child; therefore, parents may have a limited number of people with whom they can leave their child.

Parents need to identify those who can help look after their child/children in an emergency and make a plan based on this. The current Covid-19 pandemic has reminded families that they need to plan for unexpected events.
As Covid-19 seems to be giving us a little breathing space at the moment, it’s an excellent time to make a plan and create a communication passport.

What is a communication passport?
A communication passport is a document that shares important information about your child to help other people to get to know him or her. Parents and teachers usually write the passport, but if your child can contribute, make sure they have their say. The passport is an important document, particularly when your child has to go to unfamiliar places with people they may not know well.

The passport has information about the little things that are very important and unique to your child. For example, your child may only eat a particular brand of bread, or be very sensitive to loud noises, or there may be specific things that they find upsetting. The passport will contain all of this information, so if your child has to spend time with someone else, they will have this valuable information to hand.

How to write a passport?
The passport is written from the child’s point of view and must be easy to understand. You can include pictures, symbols and drawings to make it more personal, so the child might even want to show it and read it to others.

Passports are typically printed and laminated or created in a digital format for easy sharing.
Make sure you include all relevant and up to date information such as what the child likes, dislikes, what is the best way to do things with the child, how to communicate, what to do when the child is upset and also include daily routines.

Who should have a communication passport?
Anyone who needs help to communicate important information about themselves needs a communication passport. Even children with autism who are verbal can benefit from having one, because the child may have difficulties communicating if they are under stress or overwhelmed.

Having an updated passport can also help relieve stress for parents. If there is an emergency, they will know that all the information is in one place and whoever is looking after their child will have the information they need.

How can I make one for my child?
I have created a small communication passport template for you to populate – you can download it from the link below.

This is a basic passport that you can print and fold like a flyer so you can always have it in your child’s bag.
When you download the document, you will see a sample passport to give you an idea of the type of information you can include, and you will also see the blank template for you to use.

It only takes a short while to fill in this communication passport, and it will give you the peace of mind that in the case of an emergency, whoever is looking after your child has all information they need.

Subscribe to my newsletter below to receive weekly sign videos and more articles to help you communicate better with your child.