Autism Awareness & Tips

Along with April 2nd being World Autism Awareness Day, the U.S. is using the whole month of April as Autism Awareness Month to educate the public about issues within the autistic community. There has been a huge increase in the number of children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) the past several years. For whatever reasons this has happened, there are certain things that we as teachers &/or parents can do to help.

I am still learning, but here are a few things I have learned:

  • Give commands in short phrases such as, “Mouth quiet, hands down, stop feet,” etc.
  • Use music to help in learning reading skills. Use the Leapfrog: Letter Factory video to help teach letter sounds. Students may be singing the songs for different letters at various times during the day. They love this video!
  • Use music to help in learning math skills. Use the Leapfrog: Math Adventure to the Moon to teach counting skills, patterns, skip counting, sorting, and problem solving. Again, students love this video!
  • WordWorld is an awesome program on PBS for children, even very young children, to learn their alphabet letters, sounds, and how to blend words together. I highly recommend WordWorld for ages one and up.  They also have DVDs available on Amazon.
  • is an excellent, free site to use at home or in a school setting. Their eBooks capture children’s attention, as well as the video and games on their site. They also have free printables.
  • is another excellent free site for learning alphabet letters, sounds, and learning to read. I highly recommend this site also that teaches children to read with phonics.
  • Use music for transitional times. Sing, “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.”
  • Some students need a light compression such as gently squeezing each of their fingers or maybe sitting behind them and placing your hands gently on their stomach, gently massaging when they start to get upset.
  • Some students might need “brushing” on their arms with a soft vinyl fingernail brush to help calm them down.
  • Students with autism are affected by schedule changes so plan ahead and try to foresee any problems and make adjustments where possible.
  • If you have access to a computer, the Edmark Reading Program has been successful with students. However, this has to be purchased in order to use it and it’s pricey. We used the first edition and had success with it, however, now they have come out with the second edition which I have not used.
  • For those who are visual thinkers, make flashcards with the vocabulary word and a picture. It must have a picture. Flashcards can be purchased at Dollar Tree, the dollar section at Target, etc., that have the word and picture on each card. Then make flashcards with just the words to use after they have learned the words with the picture flashcards.
  • Use “Instant Learning Centers” and lots of various manipulatives for hands-on learning.

Here are some sites about autism:

New WordWorld Library

The new library from WordWorld has five great, fun, and educational stories for children.  Linda Labbo, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, has great things to say about these books.  She says, “Words come to life on screens in unique ways that invite children to interact with stories, characters, and language. The interactivity scaffolds children’s attention and provides age appropriate prompts that ensure an entertaining and educational experience.”   Scaffolding is very important in the learning process, and WordWorld utilizes that specialized teaching strategy.

In my opinion as an educator, I think Word World is one of the best children’s educational programming available. The literacy lessons presented in the WordWorld television series are extended in these books.  Kids can either read them on their own, have someone read to them, or have the stories read to them by the narrator.  A Guide providing strategies is also available to maximize learning.

These are the five books:

  • A Smile for Crocodile
  • Duck’s First Sleepover
  • Snug as a Bug
  • The Big Race
  • Totally Terrific Duck

New Samsung WordWorld Apps

WordWorld has three new WordWorld mobile applications for Samsung’s new bada platform.  They are available in most international countries, however, not in the United States.  Hopefully, these apps will extend literacy lessons which are seen on the WordWorld television series by using children-friendly media.  These are the new apps available:

  • BEAR’s Skateboard Park Game
  • DOG’s Letter Pit Game
  • Snug as a BUG eBook

WordWorld “Build a Word” App for iPhone

The immensely popular WordWorld “Build a Word” app is now even better! In response to feedback, they installed the following upgrades:

· Re-programming the app to be compatible with the 4.0 iPhone operating system.

· Randomizing the presentation of the WordFriends for more WordBuilding fun!

· Decreasing the price. You can now purchase the app for the low, low cost of only $0.99.

“The “Build a Word” app is based on the WordWorld television show. Children will shake up this “WordBuilder” to watch letters float across the screen. They can then place letters in the outline provided to build words one letter at a time. By pushing the letters of each word together, words will magically “morph” into WordFriends! DOG, DUCK, PIG, ANT, FROG, SHEEP, BUG, COW, CAT and BEE come to life and help children build early literacy skills.”

You can download the WordWorld “Build a Word” app from iTunes.

“Word World” – Excellent Children’s TV Program

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I highly recommend the TV Program called “World World.”  Our grandson just turned two years old, and he knows his alphabet and is making sounds of the letters on his own.  He has watched World Word for the past year, and for a long time that was the only thing on TV that kept his attention.  He loved it!  And he was absorbing reading skills effortlessly.  (By the way, our daughter and s-i-l did not let him watch much TV, especially when younger.  Word World was the only show he watched.)

ABOVE, you will notice our grandson’s World World toys that you can buy at Target and other places.  These toys reinforce the skills learned on the program.