Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Special Kids makes video modeling therapy programs in DVD and VHS format. John Sprecher is the father to Jeffrey, who is on the Autism Spectrum and founder of Special Kids. The videos introduce John and his sons Eric and Jeff.
I have reviewed the Taking A Shower Poster by Special Kids that helped my son Nicholas achieve that skill. Let's Go To... lists for $24.95 in VHS with an additional $5.00 for the DVD. This runs around 30-40 minutes and goes by quickly in one sitting.
The video starts off with John and his son Eric going off on some outings for the day. The viewer follows along as they break each visit down. After a few segments John does a review of these in a segment showing photo stills from previous scenes. This is where the labeling of objects, sequencing and writing of the key words are utilized.
There are visits that the whole family is involved and with Eric and Jeff along with John. The video is visually appealing, spoken in an even keel voice with no distractions or loud interferences in the background. It is slow paced and geared for children who have autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, apraxia and other challenges in the age range from 2-10.
Nicholas is now eleven and high functioning and sat and viewed Let's Go To... with me. He had comments here and there that are typical for a child on the Autism Spectrum, since they speak their mind and give feedback as the thought occurs. Nicholas is too advanced for the videos, but they are perfectly suited for Matthew who is almost ten and non-verbal.
Some of the segments were shorter than others, which Nicholas did note. Viewers will follow along as John takes his son Eric for a checkup at the Doctor's office. It is mentioned how you will have to wait at many places you visit and that it goes by quickly.
In all the segments John is always reiterating to his son what the steps are and gives verbal praise often. The viewer will note how comfortable and at ease the family is in front of the camera. There are genuine moments of affection while out and about during the days on the outings. John interacts with his children while running errands, which do not seem rushed.
The few points I wanted to note were that at the very beginning as they headed out in the vehicle on a warm day as John was wearing shorts, I would have liked to see them wearing sunglasses or a hat for sun protection. Nicholas noted that there was no one else waiting at the Doctor's office, unlike when we go and the room is jampacked with families.
Let's Go To... shows what takes place during the Doctor visit with Eric and John at the Pediatrician, although I do not believe he used that term when visiting a Doctor for a child. The Doctor used an instrument to look into the nose that we have never seen utilized before, so that was quite interesting!
The visit to the Dentist office looked a lot less stressful than the times Nicholas has been to one. The tools are identified in this segment and show the cleaning of the teeth with a toothbrush. Eric has braces, which Nicholas did not like and does not want to have. It would have been beneficial at this point to explain what Braces are and how long they stay on, etc. Probably more information that is geared for the advanced or higher functioning child with disabilities.
A visit to the hair stylist instead of a Barber that Nicholas gets his hair cut from. I don't think they showed how a child might have to sit on a higher cushion, as always is the case when we get haircuts. The technique the stylist used with the buzzer was different than the Barber does. It looked like it would not even touch the skin as it went to the area partitioned with the comb to cut. Nicholas said he is perfectly fine with the way his Barber does his hair.
The learning segments go over the tools like brush, comb, haircut and so forth. Nicholas would guess which one would be next and shout it out. He was enjoying doing that while watching Let's Go To.... Then John gets his haircut and they show a home haircut for Eric, but it is done outdoors. There is also a visit to the library with John by himself. He covers videos, music and books can be borrowed from the library and how people need to stay quiet so others can read.
John and Eric go shopping and pick out some groceries, discussing what they are getting. John rewarded Eric for good behavior with some cookies he chose. Nicholas liked that they could get fresh donuts at their grocery store! The grocery items were later referenced in the learning segment with accompanying photos.
The whole family went to a Restaurant for burgers and fries. This was a table setting and later they headed elsewhere to a booth for ice cream treats. Three of them visited the movies at a price of $13.50, which seemed like a bargain nowadays. They ordered popcorn and sat in their seats to wait for the movie. It was not mentioned here that the movie could become very loud and it gets dark inside a movie theatre. My son Matthew has not experienced that yet, but Nicholas has seen several movies.
The children run through an open area to get to a park and play on swings and go down slides. This is also modeled later in the learning segment showing children getting along and sharing the equipment.
Let's Go To... shows lots of activities that are part of our daily lives and would be suitable for families for the summer vacation to help prepare their children for daily trips to places. This is also a good tool to use for support groups, classrooms and for therapists to get ideas on what to teach children about various places and events they will be attending.
Let's Go To... went by fairly quickly covering good material for families to take note of. They make visiting places fun and interesting. This is helpful to visual learners, plus the objects are later labeled and spelled out for reinforcement in learning.
You can purchase Let's Go To... and other videos, books, flashcards and writing materials at www.special-kids.com. The toll-free number is 1-800-KIDS-153.