In packing up and reorganizing my classroom, I have been thinking a great deal about things that are critical to an Autistic classroom. While there is a ton of information out in the world about structured teaching, schedule creation and behavior management, there is little in the way of how to incorporate non-verbal students into daily language instruction. If you have worked with non-verbal students, you know that there is often more going on than ways to communicate. There are hundreds of ways that we work around communication difficulties in special education and this is just one small, small way I begin incorporating those skills.
In honor of all of my non-verbal students, I am starting with adaptive books.
When I first heard the term "adapted book", I had no clue what the term referred to. I was moving from a resource setting to an autistic classroom, so I thought I might ought to attended a training in structured teaching since it had been years since I had attended any TEACCH training. There wasn't much that I didn't already know, but the phrase "adapted books" threw me for a loop. It was on our agenda and it was supposed to be addressed after an afternoon break on the first day of a 3 day training. The training went longer than scheduled and "adapted books" was pushed back to the 2nd day. When I got home, I did an on-line search and found NOTHING, nada, zilch. I went into that 2nd day still completely clueless. Needless to say, we only touched on the topic briefly and the discussion was extremely one dimensional. We talked about a single way to to adapt books. Over the years, I have adapted books many ways, depending on who I was adapting for. Here is what I have learned:
- Copyrights are important! That being said, you are allowed to copy books AS LONG AS YOU OWN THE ORIGINAL & KEEP THE ADAPTED BOOK ALONGSIDE THE ORIGINAL & you are adapting the book for instructional purposes.
- Keep an open mind about how to adapt
- Check out The Dollar Store, yardsales, 2nd hand stores, library sales and even your classroom neighbor
- Boardbooks are just as adaptable as paperback and hardback books
- If you didn't save the file electronically, scan the pieces, because something will get eaten, lost, torn or bent until it is unusable
- Just because a book has a torn page or a broken spine, doesn't mean you can't adapt it
- Don't be afraid to pull a book apart
- Putting a book in the freezer for 15 minutes will loosen the glue on the spine and allow the pages to pull apart easier and without ripping
- Decide WHY you are adapting the book
- Are you focusing on the ablity to turn the page?
- Are you focusing on each page on 1 specific aspect of the book?
- Are you focusing on retelling?
- Are you focusing on naming/identifying?
- Are you focusing on a curricular skill (counting, classifying)?
- Are you focusing on comprehension?
When I first started adapting books, I only focused on matching picture to picture. Since that first day, I have progressed in why/how I adapt books.
Here is a book I made from a task I downloaded from BoardmakerShare.com (if you haven't checked it out, you should). The student must complete the simple sentence to match the picture:
Here is a book I created to teach one of my students to learn how to turn a page. It was a book I found in the recycle bin in a peer's classroom, because the binding was shot and had been taped too many times to count. Once I laminated it, it didn't matter:
This was one of the first books I made. It was the only type of book I learned to adapt from my class. I purchased a few copies of this book from the Dollar Store and cut it up. I originally purchased 2 copies, but since the pages were double sided, I was only able to cut out certain pictures. I can't believe I didn't think about that before, but sometimes it takes a few trials to make something work. My goal for this book was just to get one of my students to sit with a book. I needed a board book, because I needed it to take a beating. Since it came from the Dollar Store, I wasn't too upset when he threw it against the wall or beat the desk with it.
Here is another book I downloaded from BoardmakerShare (you REALLY should check it out). This one I used when I taught simple machines. My students had to complete the sentence using the correct tool. It was both a labeling (because of the picture clue) and comprehension task.
In this book, the author used the symbolate tool in Boardmaker to create this book. There is nothing to match, but the words have corresponding pictures to them:
Another favorite site of mine is FileFolderHeaven.com They have a few free items, but their stuff is pretty cheap and it is perfect for what I need it to be:
This was an unexpected find when I went to TJMaxx last year. It was in the clearance bin and I think it cost less than $1.00 and I didn't even have to do anything to it to work! Score!
This is another download from BoardmakerShare.com. It is the simplest comprehension task I could think of. The student always has two words to choose from:
Another favorite of mine is Readinga-z.com. Our school has a subscription for each teacher K-2 plus our AU classrooms. We use them as take-home readers mostly, but I have adapted them. This book has three options. In the first book I made, I highlighted the word so that the student would know what to focus on (in addition to the huge picture!). Once the child was focusing on the picture, I printed a 2nd copy without the word highlights and the child still had to match the picture. Somewhere in the abyss is the 3rd copy. I covered the picture and the student had to figure out which picture matched the word.
(The picture refuses to load. I will try to do a follow-up later with these pictures)
I hope that someone finds this blog useful to helping them create adaptive books!
Good Night All!