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When teaching letter recognition for reading in special education, there are some important facts to remember (Webster, 2016). Letter recognition is the first skill a child needs to learn before he/she can learn decoding skills and recognition. It is best to start by using the letters in the child’s name to introduce letters and that when they are put together, lead to meaning. Webster (2016) says that sometimes teachers make the mistake of trying to teach letter sounds, at the same time, as letter recognition. Children who are developmentally and intellectually ready to begin reading, will quickly understand the relationship between letters and their sounds. Children with learning disabilities will find this confusing (Webster, 2016).
9STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING LANGUAGE ARTS TO YOUNG CHILDREN WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES Webster (2016) states that children with exceptionalities often have weak left to right orientation and may have poor coordination and or lack of muscle tone. Webster (2016) suggests that when matching letters to a picture, stick to the initial letter sound and only one sound. Use the hard /c/ and hard /g/ sound and never use circus for the letter c. Don’t use gymnasium for the letter g or the vowel y for the /y/ sound (yellow, not yodel). Do not introduce consonant sounds in the middle or final positions until the children have mastered 100% with lower case d, p, b and q. When teaching vowels sounds, stick to the short vowel sound such as/a/ as in ant (not auto, aardvark, or Asperger)(Webster, 2016). When teaching children letters, who are deaf or hard of hearing, you may need to use American Sign Language (ASL) and sign the letters; use a communication device such as an Ipad, or a visual of the letter itself. Some children who are deaf or hard of hearing may havean aid to help them, use hearing aids, lip reading, cued speech (a supplemental to lip reading and an aid to teaching speech), or they may know the Rochester method (hearing, lip reading, and fingerspelling simultaneously). Typically, a child identified in school with a speech/language impairment, has a speech therapist who works with the teacher to set goals and determine the best methods of communication for the child (Hall, Oyer, Haas, 2001). While interviewing Teresa Bourassa the speech therapist for K-12 students at Prescott Unified School District, she recommends the Lamp program which is on her students ipads. Quoted from Center for AAC and Autism, “Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) is a therapeutic approach based on neurological and motor learning principles. Thegoal is to give individuals who are nonverbal or have limited verbal abilities a method of
10STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING LANGUAGE ARTS TO YOUNG CHILDREN WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES independently and spontaneously expressing themselves in any setting. LAMP focuses on giving the individual independent access to vocabulary on voice output AAC devices that use consistent motor plans for accessing vocabulary. Teaching of the vocabulary happens