Parents of Children with Special Needs
Everyone wants their child to succeed and feel special. Parents of children with developmental disabilities including autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD, Fragile X, Rhett’s Syndrome, or other delays often struggle to find books and materials that truly apply to their child and clearly present feelings, social skills, safety, healthy, daily routines and rules, and seasonal events. Success Stories address these skills and use scientifically based research principles to promote early literacy in a fun and engaging way. The role of families and the home environment in building a foundation for early language and future reading success is well documented.1, 2, 3 Parental involvement and professional development are repeatedly highlighted as critical components in improving the lives of children with disabilities in Conference Report on H.R. 1350, IDEA 2004 Part D-National Activities to Improve the Lives of Children with Disabilities.4
Success Stories allow you to personalize the stories to address your child’s needs. Children with special needs often have specific goals and objectives that can be addressed by customizing the text of a story. Changing the text in Success Stories to include coping strategies for managing feelings, using appropriate terms, treating others with kindness, and following school specific rules are examples of objectives that can be individually addressed in the story text. Stories such as Feeling Angry include opportunities for incorporating information about what specifically angers the child and what strategies the child should use to cope with their anger. This customization is critical for meeting the needs of each child. Additionally, the skill sheets for the books include ideas for modifying the home and classroom to teach many of the skills.
Kids love seeing illustrations of children that look like them succeeding in Making Friends, Going to the Doctor, Sharing, or Listening and Following Directions. Success Stories even allow you to customize the child’s method of communication (sign language, augmentative communication device, picture exchange, words).
In addition to reading the books with children, the stories can be used for other purposes. Children frequently need additional cues to move through the day. Print story pages to use as visual reminders throughout the home. For example, use pages from Getting Ready for School to remind kids to wash their face, brush their teeth, or get dressed. For kids working on writing, print the books in line drawing format to create a fun coloring book.
1 Crago, M. (1975). One child and her books: A case study 11-24 months. Children’s Libraries Newsletter, 11, 41-47.
2 Glazer, S.M. & Burke, E. M. (1994). An Integrated Approach to Early Literacy. Literature to Language. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
3 Taylor, D. (1983). Family Literacy: Young children learning to read and write. Exeter, NH: Heinemann.