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Halloween and Fall Ideas to share

Here at GMT in Washington Heights, we are looking forward to Halloween celebrations and upcoming holidays,in addition to all the fun ways that we connect vocabulary, movement and fun to reach our therapeutic goals.

In past years, we have made field trips to the Natural History Museum on 81st street for our "NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, " scavenger hunt. This year we are providing guides to families and then having families create their own lists of items to find.

Our lists consist of categories such as, find: "Things with long tails, things with wings, things that live in water..." and then breaking those larger categories into individual items. You can use the Museum Maps as well to create categories and create picture maps for those not yet reading.

I have found over the course of many hours working with people who have language delays or impairments, and research supports this notion, that the TOP, DOWN approach can have lots of benefits in this group of learners. Additionally, if you are a speaker of Spanish, you will know that the culture supports the idea to "think big first, add details later." This is often an idea that is at odds with the American school paradigm, as the U.S. academic model tends to be more Bottom, Up and requires deep knowledge of individual names of items first, and the category itself, next. Either way the learning goes, "UP or Down," both pieces of info are needed to succeed in the United States academic setting and in peer interactions.

Some of the research I have just looked at involving the idea of vocabulary building for special needs kids includes the following articles, which talk about different learning styles and how building categorization helps attainment of vocabulary......

* M. Bock (1994, Feb.) Acquisition, maintenance and generalization of a categorization strategy by children with Autism. Retrieved from Http//

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

* R. Hammer, G.Diesendruck, D. Weinshall, S. Hochstein. (2009) The development of category learning strategies: What makes the difference? Cognition, Vol. 112, 1 pg. 105-119.

Retrieved from

We hope that you have a wonderful and exploratory Autum and Halloween season and always ask us how we can help you integrate any of the skills we practice into your family's life.

Halloween Bingo

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