Lámh Sign For Sorry

Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

Today, I am teaching you a sign that can help you when working on promoting social skills with your students, the sign for SORRY.

Young children often show concern when other children are upset and crying. Support your students understanding other children’s feelings, and encourage them to do something kind for their friend.
Some children might even hug the other child spontaneously.

But it’s not until a later stage (in typically developing children this happens at the ages of 4-5, and for children with developmental delays, particularly for autistic children, it can happen much later) that they can see issues from the other person’s perspective.

It’s only when they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes that they are ready to understand that something they did might have been upsetting for another child. Only when the child can understand that, you can start teaching them how to apologise to others.

Some of your students may not be ready to understand the concept of apologising. In this case, you should focus on teaching them on the incident that has happened. For example, if a child hits another child, keep your response short and direct: “no hitting” or “gentle hands”, as this message will be more effective rather than focus on saying sorry.

If a child is not ready, forcing him to apologise, does little good. Instead, focus on the child who has been hurt and offer an apology and comfort.

However, older students who understand other people’s emotions and what they did has upset someone else, you can start working on the concept of apologising.
Help them understand that what they did is not ok and why, and teach them what behaviours are more appropriate. Then, encourage them to apologise to the other person by saying sorry or doing something nice for them.

So, the sign of the week starting on Monday the 30th of November is SORRY.

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Sign Of The Week – SORRY

Lámh Sign For Coat

Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

As we move into the end of November and the weather is getting colder, I am going to teach you a sign that you will undoubtedly need from now on: COAT.
Remember that when you introduce a new sign, you should use the new sign with the child as much as possible. So, next week, when you introduce the sign for COAT, make sure you plan other activities to reinforce this new word/sign throughout the day.

Some ideas are:

  • Colour a picture of a coat when doing colouring activities.
  • Play dressing dolls and teddies and use lots of little coats.
  • Read the book “Buster keeps warm” by Rod Campbell.
  • Or sing-and-sign along with me to the song You Won’t Be Cold Anymore!

So, the sign of the week starting on Monday the 23rd of November is COAT.

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Sign Of The Week – COAT

Lámh Sign For PE

Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

Today I am going to teach you a sign related to one of the school subjects: P.E. (Physical Education).
Based on a natural gesture, The sign for P.E. is quite fun and easy to learn.

Using the sign for P.E. will help your student understand what activity he/she is about to do. Do the sign for your student before you walk to the yard or the P.E. hall, this will help the child transition from the classroom to the yard or school gym.

You can even ask your student to help you bring some of the P.E. equipment to the yard, so you reinforce even further the fact that they are getting ready for the P.E. class.

So, the sign of the week starting on Monday the 16th of November is PE.

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Sign Of The Week – PE

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.

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How to use First & Next boards

Lámh Sign For Want

Welcome to the Sign Of The Week.

I would like to teach you a sign that I introduce to young children so they can start making their first sentences with Lámh. I introduce this sign once children can use signs for some of their favourite toys, activities or food consistently.

That sign is the sign for WANT.

So, when a child requests “water” with Lámh, I show them the sentence “I want water” with signs and words too. I do this consistently until eventually, they start using “I want” sentences also.
Sometimes, they need reminding to use all the signs and say all the words in the sentence. Remind them gently to “use all the words” and give them praise every time they try.

So, the sign of the week starting on Monday the 9th of NOVEMBER is WANT

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Sign Of The Week – WANT