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Keywords: social skills, apraxia, speech therapy, videotaping, flip, autism, computers
Subject(s): Social Skills, Autism, Early Learning, Special Needs, Speech and Language
Grade P-K
School: Alma E Pagels Elem School, West Haven, CT
Planned By: Meaghan Damato
Original Author: Meaghan Damato, West Haven
The goal of this activity is twofold.
Firstly, to allow a therapist/teacher/paraprofessional videotape instructional activities to help children with autism spectrum disorders learn. It has been shown that children with autism require visual supports to learn. What better way to teach than show a child actually performing a specific skill.

Specifically, this activity is designed to teach children with apraxia of speech, a speech disorder characterized by a motor planning deficit. A child with apraxia of speech has significant difficulty communicating because the child knows what he intends to say, however his mouth does not 'cooperate'. For instance, a child may want to make the /b/ sound and his lips form the /f/ sound. Very frustrating for our kids!

Given the complex nature of apraxia of speech combined with difficulty learning without visual supports, children with autism and apraxia would GREATLY benefit from viewing their own mouths, where their own articulators (i.e. tongue, lips, teeth) need to be placed to make certain sounds.

A great option for easy videotaping is the Flip camera. Using this camera, a therapist, teacher or paraprofessional could quickly and fluidly tape a child or themselves performing speech sound(s).

The activities in this lesson plan are very child specific. However, for instance if you were working on bilabial sounds (e.g. /b/, /m/, /p/) you could videotape the child pushing his two lips together, the clinician holding the child's lips together, or the clinician making the sounds in an exaggerated fashion. Having a videotape specific to each child's speech objectives allows the teacher/therapist to have the child view the tape either independently or with a paraprofessional. If the child is at an independent level, the child can practice their own speech with an appropriate model independently!

As a nice bonus, children with autism (and children in general) are typically very motivated to use the computer, so it could be a preferential activity, maybe even a reinforcer for our children.
Please help many, many children learn how to speak and learn other activity of daily living skills for the nominal fee of $150.00. Help us give our kids the power of communication!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Flip cameras could easily be used in every educational setting to teach a myriad of skills.
Compare past and present speech production using recent and old videos. You can also use old and new videos for Planning and Placement Team meetings and data collection purposes.
Links: Find out more about apraxia!
Find out more about the Flip video
View this google search to see research on visual supports and autism
Materials: Flip Video, Flash/USB Drives, Autism, Early Learning, Speech and Language
Other Items: 1 Flip Video Camera, $150.00 each, total of $150.00