Both reading and writing signify a cultural normalization and autonomy that implies the integration of the person in all areas. Knowing how to read allows access to the world of information and current communication. Without reading we could not advance in our later learning necessary for development. Reading empowers the person of a independence, of the ability to solve many of our problems by being a means of communication and at the same time an instrument for enjoyment and leisure.
We tell you what is the method for children with autism or Down syndrome learn to read.
The global method starts from units of full meaning (words) to later arrive at smaller and more abstract units such as syllables and letters. Works with words based on the images that identify them so that the child understands the concept from the beginning.
This method, which is the one applied at the earliest ages, is based on the fact that children first perceive the globality of things, and then the details. In general, global methods have the advantage of being more motivating by presenting the whole word with its consequent meaning to the reader from the beginning.
Children with autism and Down syndrome have the more developed visual memory than hearing, so the global method will facilitate the task of learning to read. Words are read as a picture and not divided into sounds or letters. The child has to recognize the word by its global form and not by its components.
Reading is introduced with words and images that are motivating for the child to promote their interest, attention and satisfaction. If the child likes animals, he will start by reading their names, if he likes a cartoon character cartoons or from a movie will read vocabulary related to this character and images of him.
To begin to work on global reading, we do not start from age criteria but from the achievement of certain minimum requirements that allow the child to start the process and be successful in it, for which it is necessary that they have an understanding of simple language and possess skills to communicate (not necessarily verbally) what they want or see, that they be able to remain in a task for a limited time and remain seated, which show attention when we present the activity and the basic skills of memory and discrimination, association, classification and matching of objects, images or drawings are present or developing.
In the specific case of people with autism and Down syndrome Reading serves in many cases as an alternative and augmentative system of oral language, helps to improve phonetic and semantic problems in oral language and facilitates the expression and understanding of ideas, sensations and thoughts.
This possibility is offered to us by reading since will give visual form to oral language Permanently. It will favor the improvement of behaviors by setting standards, working on the deficit of anticipation and time organization and promoting the control of attentional problems and memory retention, even helping to channel many of the inappropriate behaviors providing an activity for relaxation. It will also favor spontaneous language and improvement in conversation skills.
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