• REVIEW:   Language for Learning  Canada  USA

I am a big fan of Language for Learning.  Be sure to also read my tutorial with more in-depth examples of putting this into use in your classroom.


Language for Learning is a Direct Instruction program and as such falls under the ABA umbrella. This means that it is carefully scripted, written using a skill sequence, uses multiple examples to teach concepts and plans for generalization.  Direct Instruction programs are not meant to be implemented without modeling, hands on training and instruction from an experienced trainer.


Language for Learning can be used in a one to one setting or a small group.  The use of Language for Learning should be written into the studentís IEP and can be used as a strategy to meet objectives. Language for Learning can also be used along with Intensive Teaching and NET to target many IEP objectives established by using the ABLLS-R.


I have used Language for Learning with a wide range of students (minimally verbal to high functioning) and venues - from individual students up to a group of about 8.  I have even had my students with autism be the leader! It was very, very effective for students with autism and ESL.

It is really important to use the placement test to determine where to start and have students who are at a similar level work together.

Your level of familiarity is also important - it is hard to use the script efficiently the first time through.  Speed and fluency are important measures and if you are stumbling so will your students.

I used Language for Thinking with a gifted student with autism when he was in Grade 3.  Although he usually only needed one session per lesson, I could tell immediately when he did not have a concept because he could not follow directions.  I would reteach the concept (such as location) and then he would be right back on track.  He occasionally complained but you can make it quick and fun.  It absolutely increased his sentence length, comprehension speed and ability to attend to auditory directions.

I have spent less time using the workbooks because they were less age appropriate for my students but they are well thought out.


Wed Dec 26 17:27:02 PST 2007

This is a unique software item which I first read about on the Verbal Behaviour forum. It is based on ABA principles and is the only software available that I have found which offers voice recognition capabilities to encourage speech in individuals with autism.


SpeechTeach does not have its own website at this time but it can be purchased through a website run by The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. The Center is a nonprofit, charitable organization whose mission is to advance the scientific study of behavior and its humane application to the solution of practical problems, including the prevention and relief of human suffering. The website is targeted at behavior analysts working in many fields and the inventor of the SpeechTeach product is a long time member of the group.   Note:  Internet searches will reference www.7gt.com which no longer exists.


Select the CCBS Store link and then Language Training where you will find SpeechTeach.  SpeechTeach was invented by a team of Behavior Analysts working in conjunction with experts in the field of autism. It uses videos and pictures of real items in a very reinforcing manner to encourage individuals to speak. The software gradually recognizes the student's voice and way of speaking and reinforces speech. The software can also be used with non-verbal students or without using Speech Recognition with the aid of a tutor.


The cost of the program is US$99.95 plus $35.00 for additional word modules. Although there are no specific studies completed to date, the program does draw on ABA prompting, errorless learning, fading and reinforcement schedules and has been endorsed by some of the top Behaviour Analysts in the Verbal Behavior field. The developer will provide a free CD with no charge for shipping for a two week trial.  The product developer has been very quick to respond to email queries about the product and installation issues.


I have had some good results with this program in a short time.  I have a mix of older and newer computers running Windows 98, 2000, and XP.  While I have had a few problems getting all the installations to work properly, the product developer has been very quick to respond to email queries.  It has also helped to have an IT tech person close by given the mix of computers available to me.  At this moment I am still having problems with the Speech Rocognition on my Windows 98 installations and I hope to have the program installed on the District network.  Although my trial was short before the end of the school year, the students who began using the program found it very engaging and certainly produced more language than I have heard from them.  I have found using a headset with a boom microphone gives the most consistent results.


Fri Jul 7 09:26:18 PDT 2006

SMILE - Structured Methods in Language Education program has been developed by Enid Wolf-Schein.  This is one suggestion for a phonics-based reading programs.  It uses direct instruction along with multi-sensory strategies to provide many connections for your students. This method can be successfully used with any student who has a severe language-learning disability including those classified as aphasic and those with autism and Down Syndrome.


The program provides a step by step process for one to three children starting with individual letters and progressing to short stories. It encompasses both reading and writing. Check here to view (or right-click and Save) a 9.26MB PowerPoint presentation .  This is a great overview and gives the creator's email address to contact her.


I like this program because it is set out in a very user friendly fashion.  The manual explains exactly how to work with students so it is easy for Teaching Assistants to use the program.  They don't need a teaching background.  It comes with all the resources that are needed.  It follows the principles of direct instruction and is multi-sensory.  Students see, hear, and touch the sounds.


I have used it with great success in my classroom as well.  Our local Autism Training group brings in the creator Dr. E. Wolf-Schein about once a year to do a workshop where you can order the materials.   Otherwise they are sometimes difficult to locate.  It is very well set up and scripted so that a teaching assistant would be able to instruct using the program.


Wed Dec 26 19:11:53 PST 2007

I love this program.  It teaches reading and writing in a different format from traditional methods which makes perfect sense to me.  Stevenson works best in a teacher-led environment and can be used for groups of children.


It starts with teaching a few consonant sounds and then adds in double vowel long sounds.  Students are immediately taught to use mnemonics to remember the rules.  Vowels are talked about as friends and word patterns described in visual terms in common visual ways such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a layer cake.  Vocabulary is introduced immediately.


The program is designed for use in a primary classroom but has directions on how to use it with learners of all ages.


Sun Mar 18 10:27:32 PDT 2007