2004 Conference Proceedings

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Lori Dahlquist
Adaptivation, Inc.
2225 W. 50th Street, Suite 100
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Phone: 605-335-4445
Fax: 605-335-4446
Email: lori@adaptivation.com

Reading books to children at home has been linked to early literacy and school success in the writings of researchers and in the minds of educators for many years. It has generally been agreed, at least since the 19th century, that book reading to young children is important and is related to a child's later school success. Literature is an integral part of successful literacy programs. All students need to be exposed to high-quality literature right from the start, regardless of their disability. Through stories and other forms of literature children learn that sounds are related to print and that print has meaning. Using many forms of literature to address phonemic awareness, phonics skills, concept development, as well as many other skills is extremely effective for many students' literacy development. Story reading, as well as reading poetry and rhymes are effective learning strategies for children of all ages Children with disabilities do not always experience this early exposure to literacy. This can often be the case when the child's early life is dominated by medical and health issues. With all the issues that parents must deal with we hesitate to ask them to add reading to their list of priorities and yet it offers parents such a positive way to interact with their child.

All to often when reading is a part of the daily routine it is a passive experience for children who experience developmental disabilities. This is especially true for children who rely on technology to enhance their interactional skills. It is important that all children experience success in literacy activities such as reading, in order to facilitate their continued development and to enhance a positive self-image. Literacy can be taught to all students with disabilities. So how do we introduce literature to the very young child and how do we take reading from a passive activity and turn it into a child directed activity. You will be surprised how quickly and easily this can be done. This is even true for a child who is only capable of hand over hand or single switch activation. Best of all, you will learn that you can often use the books, materials, and technology you already have. This presentation will show over a dozen ways to take your favorite storybooks off the shelf and turn them into interactional activities and "talking books". The technology demonstrated will be simple, functional, and fun to use. Some of the techniques to be demonstrated include:

Samples of all the above adaptations as well as many others will be available for participants to view and try. Throughout the presentation many other useful and creative ways of incorporating the ideas into a variety of curriculum areas including communication, social skills, math, movement, social studies, science, cooking, and leisure skills will be given. Participants are encouraged to come with their own ideas to share and ready to have fun! We will certainly run out of time before we run out of ideas to share.

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