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Kid Companions- Chewelry: Jan 28, 2011

January 28, 2011

How Do I Teach This Kid? By Kimberly A. Henry ~ Book Review

Great resource for teachers
We have a problem School Boards… parents of special needs children, especially the increasing number of parents with children who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD), are advocating for inclusion. All the students must reach their maximum potential in a regular classroom under your jurisdiction. Educational practices and program design must be tailored to meet the needs of all these differently developing students.

For inclusion to be successful, classroom teachers must have training sessions, teaching assistants, school-based therapists and lots of teaching resources. How Do I Teach This Kid? Visual Work Tasks for Beginning Learners on the Autism Spectrum by Kimberly A. Henry is one resource all educators of beginning learners or developmentally delayed student should have.

First Runner-Up in the 2006 Writer’s Notes Book Awards, How Do I Teach This Kid? utilizes the strengths of children with ASD to help them develop new skills and learn to work independently.

The Author

Kimberly Henry holds a Master’s degree and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Johns Hopkins University. With twenty years of experience working with students with autism, she is now a Teacher Specialist for a public school system, and an adjunct faculty member at several universities.

Kimberly Henry’s experience as a teacher shows through on every page. Kimberly knows that in a busy classroom, different learning outcomes cannot be reached without efficient teaching tools.

Budget restrictions often limit teaching material that can be bought each year. This book outlines simple classroom solutions for enlisting the parents’ help, making tasks boxes and setting up individual, independent work systems. Ms Henry’s sample Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals and data sheets for tracking independence are added bonuses.

What Are Tasks Boxes
Tasks boxes are containers, like a shoe box, an egg carton, a coffee can…, that contain a single, well defined activity with a clear beginning and end. Each box contains all the task materials and its visual organization tells the child how to complete the task. For example, one simple task may have blocks and a shoe box with a hole cut in the lid. To develop fine-motor skills, the child places the blocks in the hole.

First Steps Towards Tasks Boxes

*The book has a sample letter to send to parents asking them to save and send to school 25 recycled items that will be used for creating tasks boxes and the manipulatives that go with them.

*There are tips and tricks on how to turn a shoe box, egg carton, ice cube tray into a task box and the countless recyclables (clothespins, blocks, legos) into manipulatives for the activities.

*Use of a consistent system for the construction of each task box is emphasized for the benefit of the child, to allow to interchange materials with other task boxes and to facilitate the use of the same task boxes for other students.

The Tasks

Research shows children with autism are strong visual learners and that they thrive on routine, consistency and clear expectations. Ms Henry’s user-friendly, guide details 82 tasks addressing six different areas: motor, sorting, matching, reading, writing and mathematics. Each task includes a photo, description of the task, what skills are targeted and ideas for differentiation or a construction tip.

The tasks emphasize the child’s visual learning strength avoiding the need for verbal instruction or auditory processing. The hands-on, efficiently designed tasks motivate the child to work independently and discourage play or stimming with the manipulatives.

The tasks are presented in small, progressive steps and as a child succeeds, the following tasks give him a new challenge that he should be able to execute independently. All the tasks are:

*structured for independent use and to be incorporated into the inclusive classroom

*designed for progressive skill building and evaluation

*inexpensive, easy-to-make and easy-to-implement

*practical, reusable and storable

*personalized to meet the child’s interests, repetitive and colorful

*adapted to the child’s unique abilities to experience success

*extendable to offer more practice or a slightly more difficult challenge

What Is a Work System

Kimberly clearly explains the HOW and WHY of the physical set up of the student’s work station. Readers will be reminded of the importance of consistency, visual organization, visual clarity and left to right movement of work flow. Tasks are only placed in the work system once the child can complete them independently.

Who Will Benefit From This Book
First and more importantly the children will be the winners. Nothing builds self-confidence and a feeling of well being like success and the tasks are structured to assure this.

Home schools, preschools, public schools, student teachers, special needs teachers and seasoned teachers should have this book on their shelves. Also home or school based therapists, private schools and early intervention programs will be able to incorporate these activities in their school bag of tricks.

How Do I Teach This Kid? Visual Work Tasks for Beginning Learners on the Autism Spectrum
Author: Kimberly A. Henry
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 139
Available: Future Horizons, 2005 –Education

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