My colleagues over at NetBuddy have an article in The Guardian about Storytelling week and how to engage your children, especially those with special needs, in the wonder of a great story.
I'm delighted to have been quoted in the article, which you can find here: Storytelling: Netbuddy's top tips
My own tips, from my own experience are:
- Choose your books carefully: Books can be an ideal opportunity to instil social awareness. There are many great books that can help and that use social stories to model behaviour.
- Repetition and associating reading with something pleasurable is the key. As a former TV and radio newsreader, I know that the way you read and the words you stress are just as important as the actual words themselves.
- For my children, repetition not only of the story but using the same intonation, helped them with familiarity of a book and helped them to link the story with the image. Using the same tone and stressing the same words each time, meant they knew what to expect and helped them to join in.
- Many children with ASD are highly visual and so using a book that has bright and engaging images coupled with reading the story the same way every time can serve to make the book a 'safe haven'.
- Choosing a book that coincides with a child's special interests is always useful - this is why Thomas the Tank engine is so popular with boys with Asperger's!
- Even now, though Son2 is 13, he can still remember the books we read together aloud. He loved Thomas but the ones he really remembers are not the ones you would expect - "Oi, Get off our train" helped feed his environmental awareness, "Dudley Top Dog" appealed to his love of dogs and "Guess how much I love you" was soothing, every single time we read it.
These are ours. What are yours?