This is part two of my blog about the advantages of having a typical peer join your speech therapy session. Yesterday I talked about the impact a typical peer can have on a child with autism in play. In my speech therapy sessions, I always try to include a time of reading books, as soon as a child will tolerate it and displays joint attention so they can follow the story.
I find that my kids that I work with who have autism, tend to show more interest, stay with the book longer and get more engaged with a typical peer in on the lesson. Last week we were reading, When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Lise Broach. In the story, to the little boy’s delight, everywhere he goes on errands with his mom-to the bakery, the doctor, the barber–he gets a dinosaur as a reward. Mom is terrified and the boy is thrilled. The story gets more complicated as he brings his new pets home. At first they are unintentionally destructive, but then mom sees a more useful tact as she deploys them to “cut” the grass and clean the gutters. With lots of opportunity to predict, and infer, this story builds language concepts. My little client often becomes less attentive about half way through the story, but his typical peer kept answering my questions and helped keep him engaged. He seemed to catch her enthusiasm and want to take his turn in talking about the story.