Help for Autistic Children-developing pragmatic language skills

1 Jul

Thomas the Tank Engine helps autistic kids identify emotions – http://bit.ly/ckm3e #cnnc

This article brought back memories of a cousin of mine…we were born six months apart.  Jerry lives in Pennsylvania, now an adult.  Diagnosed  with autism, he lives in an adult residence in Pennsylvania.  His life I am sure would be quite different were he have been born today.  He will never be capable of living independently.  From my past observation Jerry’s capacity to pick up on facial expression was difficult from the time that we were children. His affect or facial expression was flat.  In other words, I would never be sure how he felt as he did not vary his facial expression that much.  His voice was rather monotonal.  We have not seen each other for many years, but my recollection is that he had a well-developed verbal vocabulary; but that his social use of language was not. An approach such as the one in the article that i sight would have been so helpful to him. 

The article at hand is wonderful!  What a creative way to use the Thomas characters!  I was talking about it to a grandparent with whom I was working this morning.  Her two and a half year old enjoys playing with Thomas and his Friends.  The grandmother and I had a WOW! moment as she had never thought about this idea.  Perhaps you are having one through reading thisi post.

I have found other ways of using Thomas and thought that it might be useful to share this with you.  Many of my two and three-year old children   LOVE Thomas and his world .  The minute I walk in the home the children with whom I work are asking for him and especially a book that I carry.  The book is a magnetic Thomas in which we can label and describe a number of the characters. I work with children on sorting Thomas trains by color.  We work on sorting by differentiating all the “blue trains” from the “green trains”.  We look for the trains that are smiling and those who are not. We look for different types of modes of transit.  “Bertie” is a bus, “Harold is a helicopter ,”Cranky” is a crane  and both “Claribel and Annie” one child pointed out to me are “freight trains”  We figure out the ones that travel on traintracks, are driven non the road or fly in the sky. Since the children live in a city, we look up in the sky and see if we  can find Harold or listen for Thomas, as some live near  a train and can hear it go by.

In preparing this post I searched “Thomas the Tank Engine and am astounded by thre fact that there were 695,000 results! I even found a potty training chart that is broken down into steps.  You can find it under the link www.pottytrainingconcepts.com.  Thomas also has growth charts and these can be used with an older child to measure how long Thomas is with Claribel and/or Annie attached vs the length of Bertie or Cranky, for example. From personal experience, Thomas the electric toothbrush and the utensils bowls and spoons were great motivators for my own son in performing these daiily tasks.

I wanted to post a link to a Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends chart so that you could see a layout of the characters.  I would like one myself.  If you do see one maybe you could forward it into a comment and I will then include it in a seperate post. I hope this one is helpful to you.  If you have other ideas for ways to use this particular set of toys I would love to hear about it.   Looking forward to hearing back from you.

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