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Active Ingredients for Change
 
Young children learn best when having fun. Whether it is play, bath, meal time, or another routine, each moment can involve the ESDM to help children connect, communicate, and learn. See how you can get started with the ESDM with your child or the families whom you support in an early childhood learning environment.
Quick Tip 

Find out how to use tips from the ESDM for early social-communication skills important to life-long learning, behavior, and health with your child or with families whom you support in an early childhood learning environment.

Click the video icon (to the left) for the latest Quick Tip video. 
Want more of this week's Quick Tip? Click the video icon above!
Latest News

Read monthly research about intervention outcomes for children with or at risk of autism; coaching supports for their families; and/or family-centered, culturally inclusive coaching tools to help early childhood professionals support families. Each monthly article is publicly available for free access.
 
This month’s Latest News highlights a 13-week ESDM parent coaching program launched in Quebec and translated into French to support the needs of 10 families whose children were recently diagnosed with autism and on waiting lists for early intervention. Findings organized into three main themes uncovered how families and coaches perceived using the ESDM.
 
1. Mothers and fathers improved in how they used the ESDM with their child across coaching sessions with the largest gains found in how they managed their child’s attention and emotions.
Take-away: Parents benefit from tools that help them support their child’s behavior and communication.

2. Parents were in total agreement that the ESDM aligned with their family routines.
Take-away: Parents valued that intervention programming was collaborative and reflected their child’s needs and family’s priorities.

3. Providers from different professional backgrounds could be taught to coach families in the ESDM at fidelity (or integrity) in their understanding and skills of how to deliver the model.
Take-away: Community acceptability of an intervention increases motivation to learn and use a model as intended and may lessen burn-out or turnover.

Click the article (to the right) to read more.
Play of the Month
 
Play not only brings smiles to children's faces but also helps them learn, feel good about themselves, and enjoy the interaction that comes from doing something with someone. Join me each month for Play of the Month to try with your child or the families whom you support in early intervention or other early childhood learning environment.

This month’s theme shares play and language ideas with shape sorters. The one pictured here is one of my favorites to use because it’s two toys in one, but you can still do many of the ideas with the traditional box-style, too.

Pay attention to what children like (or seem curious about) and follow their lead as long as you are a part of the action, too. Remember, the most important thing is for children to have fun doing this with you! Fun means engagement and that excites children's brains and bodies for meaningful learning to happen.

Choose the different play and language level most appropriate to your child or children you support in an early learning environment.

Simple Play:

  • Pull the truck by its red string. ("Truck. You’re pulling it.")
  • Push the truck around the room. ("He’s driving. The truck is going fast.")
  • Spin the barrel of the truck. ("Turn, turn, turn.")
  • Fill the shape sorter up for the child to dump them out the back. ("The shapes came out.")

Combination Play:

  • Put the shapes in the shape sorter or if putting the shapes through the holes is difficult for the child and is getting in the way of having fun, you can put them halfway in and let the child push them in the rest of the way. ("Circle. The circle is in.")
  • Stack shapes on top of each other to make a tower. The truck can then drive around the tower before knocking it down. ("It’s a tower. Here comes the truck, vroom, vroom. The tower fell down!")
  • Drop the shapes into any container besides the shape sorter — salad spinners can be especially fun! ("The shapes are in.")
  • Put toys other than shapes through the holes in the shape sorters. Pegs, puzzle pieces, popsicle sticks, and anything else that fits will work! ("Look, a peg. Let's put it where the star goes.")
  • Put the man or other character in the driver’s seat to go for a ride. ("The door is open. He’s in the truck. The door is closed.")

Symbolic Play:

  • Make shapes out of playdoh or trace and cut out of paper to put in the shape sorter. Dolls, stuffed animals, toy figurines, or other characters can also take turns choosing, making, and putting in shapes. Colors, numbers, and size can also be practiced when making shapes. ("We made two blue squares. Let's find the square hole to put them in.")
  • Pretend that the man or other character works as a garbage man. Have him put the shapes in his truck, get in his truck, drive to a different location, and unload them out the back. ("He's picking up more trash. There it goes in the back. We need to take the trash to the dump. There it is behind the couch. Let's go!")
  • Pretend that the shapes are different foods. You can play “chef” and use the shapes to cook up some yummy soups, smoothies, and salads ("I'm making a sandwich. I'm so hungry. What are you making?")
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