For many years, I have been passionate about adapting children’s books for children with special needs.
So, what does it mean to adapt a children’s book? Adapting a children’s book can mean a variety of things. It can be anything from adding page turners to creating symbols to go along with the book. For many children with special needs who are nonverbal or minimally verbal, book reading can be a very passive activity. For example, a parent and/or teacher is limited during a book reading activity without a communication board and/or communication system for that particular child.
I have always been interested in making this book reading opportunity a more active and engaging activity for children who are limited with their speech. Given my background as a speech language pathologist in augmentative and alternative communication for the past fifteen years, I have used my skills to find a variety of ways to make learning more accessible for children with both cognitive and physical disabilities.
What are different ways you can adapt The Monkey Balloon?
1. Add page turners (this can be done with pieces of soft velcro, small pieces of sponge, etc). This can help a child with a physical disability turn the pages easier. The key is independence!
2. Print out symbols and add them to the page highlighting the key words on each page. I usually limit the amount of symbols per page and focus on pronoun + action + noun. Having too many symbol per page may be overwhelming for a child. I use Boardmaker but you can also use your own images, Symbol Stix or another symbol set that you prefer.
3. Add texture to the book to make it a sensory experience such as hot gluing a soft material on the monkey or adding the latex material to the balloon.
4. Add objects to the book as you are reading such as a stuffed monkey, small balloon and/or different objects from each place (e.g. a small ice cream cone from the ice cream store, a toy fish from the ocean, a small toy bus, etc). When reading the book, ask your child to show you the objects and use them as a opportunity for engagement and language encouragement.
5. Use a communication board! I created the attached board using Boardmaker. Use this board to engage your child in the book reading process.
5. Use our sequencing cards!
6. Continue to align the common core standards with the use of the adapted book by asking your child to identify the author and illustrator. To learn more about the Common Core and The Monkey Balloon, click here. See my example of the way to adapt this page below.
7. For more ideas on adapting books and using specific strategies, check out my guest post on Friendship Circle of Michigan.
8. Use velcro or clear packing tape to attach the symbols on the page.
9. As you are reading, make sure to point to the pictures! This is called Aided Language Stimulation. For more information on this strategy, click here.
10. Color code the symbols to categorize parts of speech if you prefer. This can help a child identify parts of speech more readily.
Remember, there is no wrong or right way to adapt! Each book that I adapt is a little bit different so feel free to be creative and keep your child’s interest and level in mind!
2100 Wharton Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Phone: 1 800 588 4548
Fax: 1 866 585 6260