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Enhancing Social Skills and Vocabulary through Photography


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Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Social Skills, Vocabulary
Subject(s): Autism, Technology, Social Skills, Special Needs, Reading, Photography, English/Language Arts
Grades K through 5
Original Author: Carol Manno, Orlando
I am a Speech/Language Pathologist working with students ages 3 to 11 years old. I have numerous students on my caseload who have been identified with or display characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have several groups that I see for social skills training and would like to use the camera and software in these groups.

Students with Autism and Asperger's syndrome do not use language as a way to interact or communicate as other people do. They have difficulty reciprocally interacting with others, misunderstanding and misperceiving society's rules for interaction. This may cause anxiety, withdrawal and avoidance, thus affecting these student's progress in class.

The purpose of this project is to enable students to visualize, practice and evaluate communicative exchanges using technology. Targeted skills for therapy lessons will be everyday functional vocabulary development, social stories, identification and analyzation of social interactions, workbook of facial expression and body language, compilation of personal social workbooks and fostering an interest in technology.

Social stories are used in anticipation of a situation that is predicted to be difficult for a child or as an intervention following a crisis. The stories provide a road map both written and pictorial to depict the relevant social cues used, what behavior is expected and specifically what the student should do.

Learning objectives for students according to their skills and developmental levels include:

1. Students will point to and verbally identify pictures of everyday living activities, objects and persons specific to the individual.
2. Students will identify and verbally express actions and feelings.
3. Students will participate in social story reading and role playing.
4. Students will learn to use the digital camera and Tool Factory software.
5. Students will travel the school campus with cameras to photograph social situations, taking still and moving shots of the interactions.
6. Students will categorize the social situations and analyze them.
7. Students will photograph each other in their therapy group and analyze the photos as a group for appropriateness of participation in a social situation.
8. Students will self analyze their appropriate participation in social exchanges/ settings.
9. Students will compile a personal workbook of school day situations and the social rules that are required for specific interactions.

The Tool Factory Workshop components will be used in this manner. The Word Processor will make individual picture books for social stories and practice books for analyzing social situations. The Spread Sheet voice can be incorporated into a computer disk library to read the social stories or rules that a child selects to review. All the photographs will be catalogued in the Data Base feature and can be recalled at will to reuse. The Painter will be used to substitute clip art or produce digital photos for the student's workbooks. The Bank Manager will be utilized to configure stories and photos to the student's developmental level and learning ability.
Follow-Up
Home practice books for parents
Materials: Slideshow, Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Batteries, Digital SLR
Other Items: 6 Rechargable camera batteries, $10.00 each, total of $60.00
1 Jump drive, $50.00 each, total of $50.00
2 Color ink cartridges, $50.00 each, total of $100.00
5 Coverstock paper, $3.49 each, total of $17.45
5 1/4 inch plastic binding, $1.49 each, total of $7.45
1 Battery recharger, $30.00 each, total of $30.00
3 Memory cards, $40.00 each, total of $120.00
Associated File: 3395.kid