All students need to learn to express themselves in one form or another whether you have dyslexia, a learning disability, or in the autism spectrum. When language is difficult, it can be frustrating trying to get a verbal response. One tried and true method of getting responses from non-verbal students that I have used over the years is the following.
When reading a story to the student/child, I use different colors of paper, felt squares, or even chips. When I am at the beginning of the story I place a green color down. When I am at the middle of the story, I place a yellow color down, and when I am at the end, I place a red color down. Then, when I ask questions I form them in a way of when did this happen? So the student could respond by pointing to or showing me the appropriate color.
Autism Spectrum Comprehension Activity
The story might go something like this:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall …I use the green color
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall … I use the yellow color.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again…I use the red color.
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Autistic Spectrum Comprehension Questions
Then, questions might be something like this…
What happened at the beginning of the story? Did Humpty Dumpty fall down or did Humpty Dumpty sit on the wall? Show the color that gives the answer.
When did Humpty Dumpty fall to the ground? In the green part, red part, or yellow part?
Could the king’s men put Humpty Dumpty together again? Show green for yes and red for no.
Start the process of using this method with short stories such as nursery rhymes. Then, once successful, you can apply it to other more lengthy stories.
This same method can be used with any narrative. You can also use different colors for characters in a story so the student can answer questions related to who did what by showing the color that represents the character.
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