This follow-up post will walk you through how to find a starting point with Clicker 8 software for your child with special needs(autism, dsylexia, dysgraphia, auditory processing disorder, limited speech). Let’s proceed with finding a sweet spot to deliver your lesson and learn more about assistive tech- Clicker 8 ‘s features. Read my initial post here.
Understanding your child’s learning style:
Simply means endeavor to make learning a positive experience by understanding how your child learns best. Frequently assessing your child’s motivation level to see that they find the teaching session rewarding and not demanding is the key! So figure out what works dominantly for your child – visuals, charts, sound, and elements in the environment that may enhance concentration(Eg. clutterfree desk, fidgets, timers etc).
Have you heard of Zone of proximal development(ZPD)?
In order to support your child’s learning and make progress you will need to know how to best scaffold them. It is vital that we understand how we curate the supports by knowing ZPD.
The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is described as scaffolding, or supportive activities provided by the educator or a more competent peer to assist the learner as he or she progresses through the ZPD. (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 86). Look at the intersection in the diagram below, that is a good place to start teaching.
Picture originally from the article here
Knowing how to find and use each child’s ZPD can help you prepare more targeted instruction for them. This is where Clicker 8 software helps in scaffolding with different learning needs.
Building vocabulary, fluency and comprehension
Building your child’s vocabulary is foundational to augment their language skills. You may want to read my detailed post on explicit vocabulary instruction. I use Clicker to teach nouns, verbs, adjectives, sentence structure and punctuation.
One can teach using the building blocks of clicker curating the the right level of challenge and repetition. Here is how it worked for my child with limited verbal ability-
- Reading a Clicker Book and further working on vocabulary words using related Matching Set(ex- below)
2. Teach adjectives using Clicker Sets
3. Next, scale up to teach adjective+noun combined phrases.
4. After a while, move on to teach simple sentences using various sets like below.
Teach different ways that convey the same thought, using simple sentences.
5. Mix it up by occasionally using a Matching Set on the same topic or having your child focus on a Clicker Board.
6. Finally, move on to themes and stories(don’t expect them to respond to comprehension questions yet).
Continue to develop their vocabulary and sentence structure while keeping their ZPD in mind.
Does your child have trouble getting their ideas onto paper?
Below is a sample lesson plan hierarchy that could help.
This iterative process improves child’s writing. Clicker’s pictorial designs and repetition help cement the gaps in comprehension. My child moved on from a limited ability to talk to make these sentences when pictures were presented and say them out loud.
Here are the levels of differential learning resources that Clicker gives access to-
Let’s say your child is verbal and they can form sentences on their own. Expand their thinking further by using Clicker Board, Connect Set, and Custom Set where you can record your/their voice and work on sentence structure and character description, creatively.
Over a period of time you will be able to track your child’s learning pattern and use more of what keeps them engaged, making it a positive experience.
Children with special needs tend to get demotivated when presented with too many details, rote learning without any contextual cues. These Clicker Sets allow one to break down the task and deliver bite size lessons promoting visualization and subsequent verbalization. Clicker 8 thus enables curriculum modification that might be vital to teach different, foundational level concepts and information. From my experience- always keep the “progress” in mind and plan your instruction likewise. In no time you will realize that scaffolding will go a long way, where the child is able to gain independence in demonstrating the same skills that seemed out of reach, earlier! Clicker 8 is mostly an assistive tech software, but one that is quite fully equipped. Through the use of its ‘LearningGrids,’ and other resources it assists children in acquiring vocabulary, forming sentences, and eventually telling stories. Most of its features are extremely powerful and expandable, and it is easily what distinguishes this software from just a text to speech app, thanks to its thoughtful design and broad capabilities.
Learning and Instruction Theory into Practice. Upper Saddle Creek, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Vygotsky, L. (1929). The problem of the cultural development of the child II. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 36, 415-434. Vygotsky Reader, Blackwell. Retrieved from https://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1929/ cultural_development.htm Vygotsky, L. S., & Kozulin, A. (1935/2011). The dynamics of the schoolchild’s mental development in relation to teaching and learning. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 10(2), 198-211. http://ia-cep.org/journal/jcep Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Mind and Society, 79-91. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
McLeod, S. A. (2019). What Is the zone of proximal development?. Simply psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/Zone-of-Proximal-Development.html https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aur.1503 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-013-1836-5 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1045988X.2014.981793 Gredler, M. (2009).