I really wanted to share something that has worked like MAGIC for me in my speech therapy sessions with my little ones with autism. Given the nature of autism and the high level of echolalia, it can be hard to teach one step directions. A typical session can go like this: Me- “Touch your ears” Student- “your ears”, and then I model it and eventually help with a physical prompt. I did use boardmaker pictures as a visual support, but the stick people really didn’t make sense to my 2-5 year olds. Last year, I created some visual supports using more realistic clipart. That is when the MAGIC began! For some students, it was like BOOM, all of a sudden the direction I was giving made sense! I literally had several students go from “no response” to looking at the picture (more like, inspecting the picture with great interest) and doing the action! My paras and I kept saying, “you guys, come and watch _____!!!! He’s got it!”. We were all so excited. I think my students were excited too because when they would come to the table to work, some of them would reach around me and pull out the following directions booklet (even when that is not what I had out to work on). This kind of thing just lights the fire under me to continue to create activities that make sense to my students and help them make connections. Another thing that was exciting is that after using the visuals, most of the students who responded to them started to also respond to the verbal direction fairly quickly! I showed everyone working with the little ones how to give the direction (“touch your ears”) while making sure the picture is not facing them. Pause for a few seconds and give them time to process and possibly follow the direction. If they do, show them the picture and praise, praise, praise! If they don’t follow the direction, show them the picture and when they respond do the same…praise, praise, praise!!! If you are having difficulty teaching one step directions to your students, check out these visual supports. Like I said, they have been MAGIC for me!
Click here to check out the MAGICAL One Step Directions