Many individuals with autism and other special needs are visual and kinesthetic learners.
In other words, they learn best by seeing, touching, and doing!
Temple Grandin PhD who is perhaps the most famous person in the world with autism says that she, herself thinks in pictures.
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She believes that if students with autism are to be successful learners, their teachers must discover what their dominant learning styles are, then teach them accordingly.
I have had the awesome privilege if hearing Dr. Grandin lecture in person and I respect her opinions and suggestions immensely!
I believe she speaks with authority, therefore, when she speaks, I pay close attention!
My daughter Bethany, has been diagnosed with autism as well as a few other disabilities.
Through trial and error, I have discovered that her dominant learning styles are visual and hands-on (kinesthetic).
Her language processing speed is quite slow so it’s almost impossible for her to learn by listening only.
Consequently, I’m always on the lookout for fun toys, games, and activities that are designed with visual and kinesthetic learning styles in mind.
I’ve compiled a list of visual and hands-on educational products below.
Some of them I have personally used in Bethany’s homeschooling program.
They have passed the “Bethany likes them” test and have also been effective in teaching her new skills.
The others are either very similar to items that we have or items that I think would be a good fit for her.
- Flash Cards, especially photo flash cards are one of the handiest and most effective tools for teaching a variety of concepts. You can find Flash Cards that will enforce matching skills, teach about feelings, emotions and categories. You can even find vocabulary flash cards. The teaching possibilities with flash cards are endless!
- Manipulating puzzles is one of Bethany’s favorite ways to learn new concepts! Working with puzzles incorporates both visual and kinesthetic learning styles!
- She loves learning how to spell words with her set of three letter word puzzles. She also enjoys using two piece puzzles to work on concepts like go togethers or opposites. These self correcting number puzzles were instrumental in teaching Bethany one to one correspondence.
- For a bit more of a challenge and to develop language and critical thinking skills I suggest this three piece sequencing puzzle.
- Math manipulatives are fun for younger kids or even older individuals who still need practice with basic early learning math skills such as identifying colors, shapes, sequencing, patterns, sorting, and more! They are great for getting your precious one’s gross and fine motor skills involved in the learning process!
- You are sure to find a Domino game for teaching just about any early learning math concept such as counting, addition, fractions, and even time
- Rolling and throwing Dice is a fun for kids and as an added bonus it gets their muscles involved in the learning process! Any kind of dice game is Bethany’s favorite at the moment. She loves the excitement and anticipation of wondering whether she’ll get a good roll or a bad one!
- You can use Dice to teach basic math operations, the metric system, place value, and money skills.
- Tenzies is a fast and frenzied calculation dice game that would be perfect for fun family game night as well as actually sharpening your eye hand coordination!
- Dice games aren’t just for teaching math skills either! Dabble is a fast paced word game that is sure to wake up the language areas of the brain which are located in the temporal & frontal lobes.
- Crosswords is like doing a crossword puzzle with dice!
- And speaking of Word games, Bethany loves getting her whole upper body involved in language processing development while playing Zingo games. You can choose from either Zingo Sight Words and Zingo Word Builder
- Word Whiz is an electronic word building flash card game!
You may also find Six Tips for Modifying Lessons for visual learners helpful!
Whether you are finding in yourself in need of adding a little excitement and pizzazz to your homeschooling program or you just want to reinforce skills your child is currently learning at school, you’re sure to find just the right item by clicking on any of my affiliate links!
Please enjoy this video of Ethan a young man with autism. All his teachers said he was not capable of learning. Watch the miracle of learning unfold as his parents begin homeschooling him and teaching him visually!