Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Our household has listened several times to the sing-a-long songs CD that accompanies the first DVD from Note Abilities. Volume 1 is entitled, Expressing Yourself and runs for about forty minutes. This was developed specifically for children on the autism spectrum by parents and experts in Speech and Music Therapy.
The tunes are really catchy, the video is lively with many musical instruments being played by professionals. The setting is a club house where there is a schedule board with a large picture card indicating what is taking place and they have a circle time. Kibble is the stuffed dog that talks and has his own section after each lesson on the DVD. This is known as Kibbles world
Expressing Yourself starts off with a nice jingle:
Clap your hands
stomp your feet
sing with band
bring your Sis
bring a Fish
if you wish
The viewer learns that most greetings begin with the letter H. This could stand for Hi, Hello or Howdy. They stress that "greetings are more than words". Greetings can range from a wave, shaking hands, looking in the eye or a high five.
Miss Angela arrives with four friends to visit Handy Sam and Kibbles. They go over the topic What is a greeting?, check the schedule and settle down on the carpet for circle time. Angela is singing and giving high fives to the girls and boys.
When first observing Expressing Yourself I noticed that Angela looks off to the side and does not give actual eye contact to the camera, yet she is directing children to do just that. I was distracted a few times by the camera angles and finally had to stop judging Kibbles Rockin' Clubhouse and just enjoy the music and watch the engagement between kids and adults.
Kibbles World has greeting games for the kids to participate in identifying words to greet. These are multiple choice questions with kids in the background responding. Kibble says hello by licking people.
They check the schedule again to find crafts is the next activity for the clubhouse. They all make masks on a stick to show different ways you can feel. These masks are used to cover their faces for their singing adventure. I did note that Miss Angela looks bored, and expressionless at times.
The adults ask kids about their feelings. The kids are comprised of two girls and two boys. There are two older kids and two younger kids. I had a hard time understanding the words used by the younger kids since they spoke very softly and had accents. The volume needs to be turned up very high for these segments. The kids responded about their feelings when told it is bedtime, they have to leave the playground or it is time to go home.
They also answered about when they are proud and told they did a good job with their homework, good at baseball playing or they can now brush their hair by themselves The kids talked about how being frustrated makes them feel with Sam offering some examples as well - tieing shoes and writing your ABCs.
They also covered silly faces, happy and mad. Then Angela went over how to use words to let people know how you are feeling. There is more singing on the DVD and Angela is off looking to the side. The tone on the piano and drums gets loud when they sing about being frustrated.
The kids are sitting on colored rugs with their masks covering their faces and using that word to show their feelings. Next they play a game while sitting on the floor to guess their feelings and act out kid games. There is another reminder to use words and not to stay mad. The adults share tips on how to stay calm by doing three deep breaths and counting to ten. There is a segment showing them all using these techniques. They also share other ways like bike riding, reading a book or closing their eyes and using their imagination.
The best segment of Expressing Yourself in Kibbles Rockin' Clubhouse is these outside scenes where they are all wearing white outfits among colorful flowers in a field. There are musicians playing various instruments while the kids are looking at flowers, dancing around, holding hands and playing with bubbles.
There is another Kibbles World segment with three kid pictures in trying to choose who is angry and then noting which one is not doing anything to feel better. The next activity on the schedule board is game. Angela plays the guitar while the kids pair off to play checkers and puzzles.
This section is about using words to ask for things. Then there is snack time where the little girl talks about how her tummy is doing the talking when hungry. They have graham crackers, fruit cup and apples. They are all singing how to use your mouth to ask for things, like your mouth can make a crunchy noise and your mouth can sing.
This is followed by another segment of Kibbles World which is a fun way to reinforce the learning that was viewed through singing and visual demonstrations with the peers modeling the social skills. Kids can join in and try to guess which is the correct response. There are some funny options in these segways.
The activity schedule indicates it is goodbye time. The adults explain that goodbye is like hello but with a different word. They cover again the ways you can say this by waving, looking in the eye, shaking hands or giving a high five. The musical instruments in Expressing Yourself include a piano, guitar, violin, cello, flute and drums. The melodies are really nice and rhythmic, fun for all ages.
Expressing Yourself is recommended for ages two to seven. I play the CD on the computer while my nonverbal son is at the table coloring. It is nice background music with easy to remember words. You might even find yourself humming and singing those same songs later in the day.
Kibbles Rockin' Clubhouse Theme Song
Ways to Say Hello
Asking for Things
When Things Don't Go My Way
Kibbles Rockin Clubhouse Goodbye Song
You can make a feelings mask or the same activity schedule as seen on Expressing Yourself at Note Abilities. There are extras on the DVD like the karaoke songs and teaching tools for parents.
This is perfectly suited for the targeted age group. I like that this was designed for children with autism. My nonverbal son will not sit and watch an entire movie, but did bounce in and out of the room the times I played it. He likes listening to the CD. I am going to bring it into the car for our next few drives.
I think this would be a hit in classrooms, social skills groups, for therapies to play the CD in the background and for gifts for kids on the spectrum for birthdays and holidays.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.