Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Symbol Based Learning

A few weekends ago, I took a class at the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center to learn how to use a symbol based learning program called Boardmaker. I don't have a full grasp on all the educational and communication benefits but this software is super cool! You use pictures and words to enhance learning activities. Let me give you an example.

This first picture is a song book that I created for Nathan ~ they're his favorite songs: Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Old McDonald, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus. They are attached to the inside of the folder by velcro.

When it comes time to sing, Nathan gets to pick the song he'd like to sing based on the pictures. Once he chooses the song, I velcro it on the front of the folder with the visual cue to sing the song.
If Nathan chooses the Wheels on the Bus, I've also created this fun visual enhancement where he can also choose the order of the words in the song. As he hands them to me, I sing about what it is. So for instance, if he gives me the "horn" picture, I sing about the horn going "beep beep beep." It's that simple. He will eventually learn what each picture means by what I'm singing to him.

If he chose to sing Old McDonald, I made a farm with all the animals!! He can choose the animal and I'll sing accordingly. He'll eventually learn what each animal in a really fun way.
Just as an aside, this stuff takes a very long time to make! It took me most of the day to make these few pieces. You have to create them on the computer, print them, cut them and then laminate them, cut them again and then velcro them all! :-)

There are so many uses for this software including making calendars, schedules, writing social stories, which are actually stories that help your child with difficult behaviors or any situation.
I would recommend this software to anyone and if you're interested your local group may have it. I recently discovered that Nathan's preschool uses it too!
At the seminar, there were lots of examples on how to use this type of program with actual books to help with all sorts of educational activities, like rhyming or homophones (when two words sound alike but are different) and even when teaching children what the beginning, middle and end of a story is. The ideas are really endless and there are lots of websites with examples to help you. I also came across some Youtube videos on how to use the software.

Here are a few other ideas that were presented at the seminar. Most of these will be very useful when Nathan gets a little older.


Loren Stow said...

Wow - looks great - I really must take the time to get something like this together for Malakai.
Thanks for sharing!

Mairead Elizabeth Hickok said...

How cool is that? I think that any kid would love and benefit from this software! Keep us posted on how you like using it! Thanks!