Resources for Working With Learning Differences
Audiblox—Hope for those with Learning Difficulties
Wooly Lamb Publishing
PO Box 411
Dickinson, ND 58602
Errorless Learning – Ensuring Success Each Step of the Way
Errorless learning is really a fancy name for something we do quite naturally with our little ones as they learn and grow from babyhood to child hood, and it is something we can continue to do with our children on into their formal education. So just what is errorless learning? It is guaranteeing that my child does not fail at a given task by helping him along until my help is no longer necessary. It is making sure that he gets the answer right every time. It is giving him the answer whenever he hesitates. And it is a very legitimate teaching technique!
Why Errorless Learning?
For many children with learning challenges it is so important that they are not given the opportunity to make mistakes when learning a new skill. Making mistakes often leads to discouragement, which results in a lack of motivation to even try the skill again. Often once a mistake is made, it becomes very difficult to unlearn it. Errorless learning is an excellent way to avoid discouragement, and to build success and self-confidence in a new skill. Another huge deterrent to learning is frustration, whether it’s me getting frustrated with my child “not getting it”, or whether it’s my child becoming frustrated because it just doesn’t make sense. Errorless learning eliminates both.
Introducing a skill
When teaching my child a new skill using errorless learning, I must first make sure that he knows what I expect of him. This can take a long time and a lot of patience on my part as we go over and over and over a new skill together. There are a number of ways I can introduce a new skill. I can prompt my child by talking through each step of a new skill. I can provide hand over hand support. I can do the skill with my child over and over again. I can provide him with cues he can “peek” at to guarantee his success. I can do the skill for him when he hesitates, modeling my expectations. Whatever approach I take, I need to provide my child with all the help he needs to accomplish the learning task given.
Here’s how Nila has been applying errorless learning with her daughter Anna:
“We are trying to get Anna's auditory sequencing up, and one of the computer programs we have has animal sounds and instrument sounds which they play in different orders and require her to play them back in the same sequence. Until she understands exactly what is required of her, I actually do it for her. Today I did the exercise many times myself, walking through it with her, until she seemed to grasp what they were requiring. It may have been a simple task for another child that doesn't have learning challenges, but for Anna it involved several things that she had to think through. When I could hear that she was actually saying them back in the right order, then I would use the mouse myself to start her with the one she had said first. Otherwise she had a tendency to say them right, but when I asked her to move the mouse to the first one, she would always go to the one she heard last. Her problem was that she had to keep the order in her mind, and remember to get the mouse working, and recall the right order, while they may have interrupted her concentration with asking her to find the right order or repeating the sounds. Had she got it wrong repeatedly she would have become very disappointed and probably would have just shut down for the day or a few days. As soon as I got her going on the first sound, she could recall the others and would say, "Anna do it." We did this over and over as long as her interest was there, and we ended on a positive note.”
Reducing your help
As my child shows that he is beginning to understand what is expected of him, I need to slowly reduce the help I’ve been giving, but I also need to be prepared to give him help whenever he hesitates. The key, again, is keeping his learning error free. Here’s what Amy does with her daughter Reagan:
“When Reagan knows something, she is very quick to respond. If I show Reagan a sight reading flashcard and she hesitates more that 2-3 seconds I give her the correct word so that she doesn't just guess and "cement" the wrong word vs. what is represented on the card.”
Breaking it down
If my child just doesn’t seem to be catching on, it may be necessary to break the skill down into small steps that need to be learnt first. When Andrew was learning to count, I realized that though he had learnt to count up to 10, he did not understand the concept of quantity – that 3 meant three things. Using errorless learning I made up some games to help Andrew learn about numbers. Here’s what I did:
I made a "game board" out of a piece of construction paper with 3 recipe card size squares glued onto it. On the squares, I wrote the numbers 1 to 9 as well as the corresponding number of dots, using a different color for each number.
I also made a set of number cards, with numbers on one side and corresponding dot patterns on the other. I color-coded the dot patterns to match with the colors on the game board, but made the numbers on the cards black. The games for this board are simple matching ones - match the numbers, match the dot patterns, name the numbers as you match them, call the number that you want your child to match, place the number cards in order. The purpose is to help your child to become familiar with numbers, to recognize number names, to be able to count in order.
I then made a second "game board" similar to the first, but with just the dot patterns on it - still color-coded to match the game cards (I made it on the back of the first board). The game for this board is to match the number cards to the dot patterns. Peeking at the colored dot pattern on the back of the card is allowed and encouraged until it is no longer necessary. Another use for the game board is to place counters (buttons, coins, raisins, Lego, whatever might be fun and interesting for your child) on the dots, counting them as you do. From here you could match counters to the number cards without the dot patterns to guide, though allowing peeking on the back as necessary. The purpose of these games is to help your child recognize that numbers represent specific amounts.
Using the same language with each lesson, following the same steps, in the same order, using the same words, can become a prompt for my child to help him know the response I’m looking for. As Amy has been teaching Reagan to answer “who, what, where, when and why” questions, she uses visual cues and has also developed a script to use when delivering lessons.
“Reagan is not always appropriate in her responses to "wh" questions. In trying to resolve the situation, I decided that maybe she didn't know the definition of the "wh" involved and that maybe if I asked the question and gave the appropriate response it would help her to define the question. Slowly, she is making progress! I talk a LOT to myself these days. The lesson begins with a picture book. During the story I will ask the "wh" question while holding up a cue card with the "wh" question we are working on. I will ask 3-4 or more "wh" questions per story. If I do not get an immediate response, I give the answer. As long as we are having fun and she maintains an interest in the "wh" question & answer "game" (aka errorless learning) I will continue. I then use the same technique in our everyday conversation and focus on the same "wh" question to generalize the concept.”
Matching, Selecting, Naming
One errorless learning technique that can be used in teaching many concepts is Matching, Selecting, Naming – a method developed by Patricia Oelwein for teaching children with Down syndrome how to read sight words. The key to this technique is using a double set of flashcards of whatever the concept you want to teach. As an example, let’s look at teaching shapes. Matching: First show your child a card with a triangle on it. Tell your child, “This is a triangle”. Place the card in front of your child, along with 3 other cards with shapes on them. Give your child another card with an identical triangle on it. Ask your child, “Find the triangle” and have her match the card in her hand with the correct card on the table. Selecting: Ask your child to give you the card with the triangle on it. If she’s unsure, find it for her and go back to matching triangle cards with her. Naming: Once she’s able to pick the triangle out of a group of shapes, ask her to name the card you show her. If necessary, prompt her, then go back to matching or selecting until she’s familiar enough with the shape to name it for you.
This technique of matching, selecting and naming can be used for teaching many concepts: colors, letters, letter sounds, sight words, numbers, math concepts, money, telling time, the list can go on and on....
The Master Teacher
In writing this article, I’ve been thinking a lot about errorless learning lately, and in thinking it hit me that the only true errorless learning we can experience is when we have an errorless teacher. And the only errorless teacher I know of is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to realize that as He teaches us the lessons of life, He is there beside us modeling (“…but as He who has called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct" I Peter 1:15), prompting (“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it…” Isaiah 30:21), guiding (“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3), and ensuring our success (…to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” Jude 24).
As I go through the school of life, I hope that I will be a willing and co-operative learner in the hands of my Master Teacher.
Stages Learning Materials-Picture to teach a thousand words- Stages learning materials provides quality teaching tools for every stage of development. For more information, call toll free at: 888-501-8880.
If phonics doesn’t click, try
Farm Animal Words Reading Kit
Designed to assist you in teaching sight reading skills, Farm Animal Words Reading Kit consists of a book called My Farm Animal Book, a double set of flashcards, and an instruction booklet on how to teach sight reading.
My Farm Animal Book Features
10 well known farm animals.
Large (8 ½” by 11”), uncluttered pages.
One simple animal photograph per page with large, easy to read print.
Total reading vocabulary of 57 words. 4 new words per page.
Repetition and review of words incorporated into text.
Farm Animal Words Reading Kit has been developed by Diane Ryckman, and has been thoroughly tested on her son Andrew, who just happens to have Down syndrome.
For more information visit www.kootenay.com/ ~ryckman/DownHomeLearning.html
John and Diane Ryckman
1453 Evans Rd. RR7
V0B-1G7 $18.50 US / $23.00 Canadian
Our daughter with Down syndrome is 10 yrs old. Due to multiple hearing problems/ear surgeries/hearing aides, her speech is very much delayed. Just last year, at 9 years of age, her speech therapist helped to get her started on an augmentive communication device called a Dynavox MT4. With this little computer-like 'talker' she has improved so much with her communication. The sign language and pictures and everything else we'd tried still hadn't improved her speech, but with this 'talker' we are seeing her try to talk with it, and her speech is improving remarkably.
She still has a long way to go, but with this 'talker' she is able to tell us and others things that she never could before. It is so wonderful for us and fun for her. Her behavior problems that stemmed from frustration because of lack of communication have greatly been helped with this. We are seeing great advances in that area and are hopeful for more advances in her good behavior as she learns more and more how to communicate with her new 'voice'.
We wish that she had known of this years ago because we think it would have been easier for her to learn this at an earlier age, but at least she can get started with it now and start improving her life with it as much as possible at this stage in her life. Our insurance paid for every bit of it, but Medicaid also covers it if your insurance doesn't. To find out more about this, contact Dynavox at:
2100 Wharton St., Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
If any further personal questions, contact me at: email@example.com
Ben F. Feingold, M.D. and Helene S. Feingold
This book has been written in response to requests from families throughout the world who have hyperactive children. Dr. Feingold explains the problems of dietary management, and provides lists of forbidden foods. A family cookbook!
His Help in School- Judi Munday - www.hishelpinschool.com A newer support web site for families home educating a special needs child.
Stevenson Learning Skills www.StevensonSemple.com
We encourage you to contact Stevenson/Semple at 1-800-343-1211 They are very happy to offer consultation services and training in their program. Review of program click here.
The Learning Connection • Vision Therapy, Auditory Perception and Coordination www.thelearningconnection.net 12510 Kaibab Ct. Colorado Springs, CO 80908 (719) 495-7323
Grades 1 thorough 6 Slower moving curriculum
Call for a catalog 1-800-925-7777
Alpha Omega Curriculum for grades 1 - 12
1-800 622-3070 602 438 2717 Slower moving curriculum. Bridgestone Academy accredited program www.home-schooling.com
Balametrics, Inc. 800-894-3187
My name is Steve Basden and I am the General Manager of Balametrics, Inc. Balametrics, Inc. develops and manufacturers products that address many brain processing based learning disabilities like ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Poor Reading, and Poor Academic performance. Part of our mission is to provide homeschoolers with quality products and therapies to enable them to successfully and affordably address learning problems at home as they provide quality educational support for their children. www.balametrics.com.
Mike and Terry Spray
3560 West Dawson Road
Sedalia, CO 80135
Diagnostic testing and prescribing curriculum
Grades 1-12 Paces
P.O. Box 1212 (540) 434-0768
Harrisonburg, VA 22801-1212
Will work with learning disabled students
Rod and Staff Publishers, Inc.
P.O. Box 3 Hwy 1172
Crockett, KY 41413-0003 606-522-4348
Math-U-See, excellent manipulatives
P.O. Box 34270 San Antonio, TX 78265-4270
200 North Bennett St.
Southern Pines, NC 28387 910-695-1151
A resource center for children who learn differently.
(A Guide for the Teaching Parent)
by Dr.Joe and Connie Sutton
220 Douglas Dr. Simpsonville, SC 29681 (864) 967-4729
1st Straight Talk (A Parents Guide to Correcting Childhood Mispronunciations) and 20 min. Video by: Marisa Lapish M.A. CCC-SP Speech and Language Therapist Available through NATHHAN Click Here for more information ($55.00)
2nd Straight Talk (A Parent's Guide to Language Development) By above, Marisa Lapish and Tom & Sherry Bushnell Available through NATHHAN Click Here for more information ($45.00)
Phonics for Reading and Spelling by Bonnie Detmer Small Ventures
11023 Watterson Drive Dallas, TX 75228 (972) 681-1728 An in-depth phonics program using the Spalding method. A multisensory approach.
International Learning Systems
1000 112th Cir. N. Ste. 100
St. Petersburg, FL 33716 - 2306
Excellent phonics program
Love and Learning
Joe and Sue Kotlinski
P.O. Box 4088
Dearborn, MI 48126-4088 (313) 581-8436
Uses video tapes and audio cassettes to present the 26 letters of the alphabet plus many words.
417 Haines Ave
Fairbanks, AK 99701 907-456-8356
"If I can build it I can understand it."
Stuttering Foundation of America
3100 Walnut Grove Road, Suite 603 Memphis, TN 38111-0749 1-800-992-9392 www.stutteringhelp.org
P.O. Box 462 Muskego, WI 53150
1510 E. Spencer Lake Rd.
Shelton, WA 98584 (360) 426-0672
Helpful homeschooling materials
Direct contact for Joyce Herzog firstname.lastname@example.org
Great resources for the learns differently
Special Reads For Special Needs- By Natalie Hale www.specialreads.com
Help your child communicate with the Stages Learning Materials ---Full-color, photographic flash cards that have been professionally designed to teach children with autism. Call Stages Learning Materials to order or for your free color brochure: Toll-Free (888) 501-8880.
Lifetime Books and Gifts
Gus and Shirley Solis
18755 SW 272 ST
Homestead, Florida 33031
Their web site continues to be: http://www.lifetimebooksandgifts.com