Thursday, December 9, 2010

iSuppports for Children with Autism: Cookie Doodle Language Therapy 2

The Last Five of Ten Ways to Teach Communication Skills Using Cookie Doodle iPad App  

(See previous blog post for the first five)

Watch the video below first and then see ideas for using this app to teach communication skills.

6)     Planning and Sequencing
  •       In order to learn how to make a plan, it is helpful to plan the same kind of thing over and over.  I ought to know how to pack a suitcase for a trip, but I don't do it often so I end up packing things I don't use and wanting things I did not pack.  On the other hand, I know how to make and use a list and I have this strategy that helps me get to my destination with most of what I need.  Children using Cookie Doodle can use the recipe and see ingredients checked off as added--which is a strategy that parents should highlight as they play.  Using a list is a great planning skill to teach.  It is also possible to plan an imaginary cookie party, using a paper and pencil list where party guests are listed and a set number of cookies are made for each guest.  If you take the skill from one practiced on the tablet computer to one practiced with paper and pencil, your child is much more apt to use this skill when it is needed in real life.  The next step, of course, is to plan a real cookie party and make real cookies.  The idea of a "list" can easily be used for everything from decorating for the Cookie Party to cleaning up after the guests have gone home. 
7)     Politeness  (Caring for the Needs of Others)
  •      While we are on the idea of a Cookie Party, it is possible to help a child consider what each guest at your party might like in Cookies.  Daddy likes to play golf.  Let's make him a pretend cookie that looks like a golf ball.   It is much easier to discuss the preferences of others and make each person a unique and beautiful cookie on Cookie Doodle than it would be in real life.  The language of politeness can be practiced many times over at Cookie Doodle parties.  Daddy, would you care for a cookie?  to which Dad replies Yes thank-you.  You are so kind!
8)     Mental Flexibility
  •      Several of my young clients get stuck, almost immediately, on one kind of cookie and make the same exact cookie over and over.  I recently talked a child into making one chocolate cookie even though he was stuck in a pattern of making pumpkin orange cookies.  I allowed him to make pumpkin cookies for himself but asked him to make a chocolate cookie for me.  He did but then decided to eat my cookie too since, as he explained it,  he really needed to eat chocolate cookies too! We will have to move back to the politeness learning objective, I guess.
9)     The Language and Concept of Gradation
  •      If your child is "all or nothing" in his or her approach to life, it is useful to play games that help a child identify all the points that can be located between all and nothing.  For example, in loving orange pumpkin cookies deeply and disliking all other kinds of cookies (except my chocolate cookie) my young friend has narrowed his cookie world down too far.  He does not use all the colors, shapes, and decorative possibilities that he should explore in order to learn more about the cookie world.  I can talk about cookies that I don't like, that I like a little bit, that I like a lot, and that are my favorites.  With some children, I might introduce the idea not in the context of emotions but rather in the physical world that has pale light blue, light blue, darker blue, and really dark blue--all of which are colors of frosting available for decorating cookies on Cookie Doodle.  We can have tiny sprinkles and bigger sprinkles, and sprinkles that are almost as bid as candy!  We can cut cookies into small circles, bigger circles, or into huge circles with out own sharp, but virtual, knife.  We can eat one cookie, a few cookies, or eat so many that we make ourselves sick.
10)  Beginning and Ending Activities Verbally
  •      Many of the kids I see each week end an activity by walking away. We always teach kids a verbal way to end an activity-- usually by saying, All Done.  But there are less abrupt ways of ending an activity than saying All Done three seconds before you walk away.  As children have the language to say more, we want to teach them to say more and to leave activities in socially appropriate ways.  I am getting tired of this game, I might say, are you tired of this game yet?  If the child wants to play longer, I will negotiate an end point I will play this for three more cookies and then I am done playing Cookie Doodle.  I often start saying this kind of thing when I see a child's interest in the activity is flagging, so that I am modeling the language that the child could use at the same time the child might actually need that language.  It is always more effective to teach new language skills at the point in time when they might be handy to the child.  There are many different scripts that we use for ending an activity and pointing them out to older children can help the child both end activities gracefully and also become aware when others are trying to end and activity but doing so in a socially appropriate but subtle way.


Sue said...

Hi,I have had so much fun using this app with kids this week. The favourite activity by far has been to add a picture of their own face to the dough and decorate it. It has generated some amazing conversations.
One student filled his cookie jar with friendship cookies which were made with images of his classmates in the centre and beautifully decorated with sprinkles and frosting . I even had two children working together as a turn taking activity at one point.
Thanks for the tips : - D

Michele @ The Hills are Alive said...

can i just say thankyou from the bottom of my heart for this site and all the info on here. Will be back again to read through your archives as a mum of a recently dx little boy this site and all your shared knowledge is invaluable.