Level Up: Learn To Read

When a child is diagnosed with autism, the first thing that the parents should do is to know that their child is autistic and awesome instead of tubular and typical.

The second is to teach their child to read.

It doesn’t matter how old the child is, whether one or two or three or four or more. If the child doesn’t know how to read, then the parents should teach the child to read.

Why should the parents teach the child to read?

Because reading is the key to language development for awesome autistic children.

It doesn’t matter if the child speaks or not, or points or not, or eye-looks or not, or nose-picks or not, or booger-eats or not, or functions hi, or functions lo, or IQ’s well, or IQ’s ill. None of these things are required for reading or learning to read.

Here is how to teach an awesome autistic child to read:

1) Get a picture of a thing, a thing like this:

Show it to the child.

Show the child a photograph of an apple or a drawing of an apple, the apple, just the apple, and nothing but the apple.

Don’t show pictures that have nothing to do with the thing in the picture.

2) Label this thing with the word for this thing:

Show it to the child.

Label the picture of the thing with the word for the thing to make the connections between the picture, the word, and the thing.

3) Say the word for the thing in the picture.

Say it to the child, and let the child say it, if she can.

If she can’t, then don’t obsess over it, and move on.

4) Get a picture of another thing, a thing like this:

Show it to the child.

For the same kinds of things, like fruits, use pictures, whether photographs or drawings, in the same style, so the pictures are the same, except for the things in the pictures.

Don’t use a photograph of an apple, then a drawing of a pear, or a pencil sketch of a pear, then an oil painting of an apple.

5) Label this thing with the word for this thing:

Show it to the child.

Use both photographs and drawings of the same things, some with lots of detail and some with details not.

6) Say the word for the thing in the picture.

Say it to the child, the word, just the word, and nothing but the word.

Don’t say words that have nothing to do with the thing in the picture.

7) Repeat, repeat, repeat, with moar moar moar things:

Show them to the child.

Use pictures of real cats and real rabbits instead of these skinny cat and fat rabbit figurines. These are Before & After pictures of me, how I feel in my mind before and after I go to McDonald’s. Physically, I always look like the skinny cat, but mentally, the fat rabbit makes me feel awesome and adorable too.

8) Take away the words for the things from the pictures of the things.

9) Let the child label the pictures of the things with the words for the things.

10) Repeat, repeat, repeat, with moar moar moar things, ten a day, twenty a day, fifty a day, a hundred a day, however many words and pictures and things that the child likes to learn in a day, a different number for each different child.

Labeling pictures of things with words for things, this was the first step of learning to read for this awesome autistic child. When I was toddler, around two years old, my mother got me a bunch of books with pictures of things and words for things. In the books, the words for things were matched to the pictures of things, and I learned to match the words to the pictures from flicking through the books.

Flick! Flick! Flick! I looked at the pictures and the words in the books.

Click! Click! Click! I took mental pictures of the pictures and the words in the books.

Sick! Sick! Sick! I memorized the pictures and the words in the books, all of them, after seeing them once, so once I had seen them, I knew them.

Tick! Tick! Tick! I learned the following:

I learned that the things in the pictures were things, each thing a whole thing that was a thing by itself. Some of the things were apples, and some of the things were pears. Some of the things were cats, and some of the things were rabbits. Each of the things was a thing, a whole thing by itself, and I learned what things were at the level of whole things. Otherwise, an apple might have been a red streak over here or an orange streak over there, and a cat a fur hair over here or a whisker tip over there. From learning to read, I learned to see things as whole things, and my detailed visual perception became organized, parts to whole, into a makesensical world of things that made sense.

I learned the words for the things in the pictures, what the words looked like and what the words sounded like. A word was a picture, *apple*, and a word was a sound, “apple”. My mother and grandmother read the words to me as I looked at the pictures, so I learned the picture *apple*, the sound “apple”, and the thing for the picture and the sound, all at the same time. From then on, I knew that the word *apple* written on paper referred to the thing that matched the word as a picture, and I knew that the word “apple” said in air referred to the thing that matched the word as a sound. From learning to read, I developed good receptive language, the incoming half of verbal communication, the half that is the most important for further learning of any kind.

At two or three or four or more years old, I did not learn the other half of verbal communication, the outgoing, expressive half that is not as important for further learning of any kind. At those ages, I did not develop good expressive language, because I did not know what communication was, how to do it, or how to use language to do it. Because I was autistic, I was born without a natural instinct to communicate, and I did not learn naturally what communication was or how to do it, verbally or non-verbally, at an age when typical children had all become masters of hoooman-to-hoooman communication.

However, if someone had taught me those things at those ages, what communication was and how to do it, then I might have been able to learn those things several years earlier than I eventually did.

At age eight, someone did teach me what communication was and how to do it, so I did learn those things several years later than I might have been able to learn them. Between the ages of eight and nine, I learned to speak to communicate, verry merry berry fast and verry merry berry well, while I had been mostly mute before. I think that I learned fast and well, because I already had a foundation of receptive language to build upon. From learning to read, then reading a lot, between the ages of two and eight, I had already filled my memory with things, pictures, and words, all of which I could then use, between the ages of eight and nine, to take the next step, use language to communicate, and become an apprentice in hoooman-to-hoooman communication.

To become an apprentice in hoooman-to-hoooman communication, what I needed was words, what I had learned early, and how to use them, what I came to learn later.

What I didn’t need was the following:

  • How to stare at hoooman eyeballs that I don’t naturally stare at (a.k.a. ABA)
  • How not to stare at spinning things that I like to stare at (a.k.a. ABA)
  • How to stare at hoooman faces that I don’t naturally stare at (a.k.a. ABA)
  • How not to stare at spinning things that I like to stare at (a.k.a. ABA)
  • How to stare at hooomans that I don’t naturally stare at (a.k.a. ABA)
  • How not to stare at spinning things that I like to stare at (a.k.a. ABA)

How to stare at hooomans, hoooman faces, hoooman eyeballs, and no spinning things are what awful autism professionals think that awesome autistic children should learn before they can be taught to learn anything else, anything so awesome, advanced, unautistic, and unretarded as reading and understanding language, the key to language development for awesome autistic children.

When I was little, I didn’t know how to stare at hooomans, hoooman faces, or hoooman eyeballs, but I did know how to read.

I often stared at spinning things, but I still knew how to read.

I even spun things a lot lot lot, but I read a lot lot lot as well.

My receptive and expressive cyclization were good, as was my receptive language, most of which I learned from learning to read.

Teach an awesome autistic child to read, early, late, and often, and her door to language development opens. Maybe she will learn to speak, or maybe she will not, but the chances will improve for her to communicate her thoughts and feelings, through speaking or writing, to the other hooomans wishing to know what is on her mind.

There is a reason that language exists, and it is because it evolved as the bestest way for us hooomans to communicate, mind-to-mind, with each other, regardless of how we each think inside each of our own minds. Autistic children want to be in on it too, but the typical ways of getting in on it often don’t work for us. For me, a different way of getting in on it did work, and this way depended on reading, reading, reading, the key to language development and everything else in the world of hooomans.

From learning to read, the world of hooomans no longer made nonsense…

…as does this to most hooomans not lucky or charmy enough to be masters of chemistry, mixers of chemicals, makers of chem-chem-chaos.

Instead, the world of hooomans started to make moar moar moar sense…

…as does this to this lucky charmy hoooman lucky and charmy enough to learn to read at two, then all of the above, too, to do.

Here is a new picture of me:

My name is Buns N. Burner, master of chemistry, mixer of chemicals, maker of chem-chem-chaos, and I could not have leveled up to master chemistry, mix chemicals, or make chem-chem-chaos without learning to read and read and read, words and pictures and things, to make the world make sense, until I screwed up, and something blew up, and I fled the scene of the crime, buns burning and ears on fire, Burrrrrrrn, Bunny, Burrrrrrrn!

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4 thoughts on “Level Up: Learn To Read

  1. Hi, I am the mother of an autistic and awesome 4 year old boy. I’m hoping him to be able to communicate. He knows many words and phrases, but so far, he doesn’t communicate.
    He seems happy, he likes numbers, he sings very well, and he is awesome.
    I just found your blog and am learning how to understand the way he is.
    By the way, I like your drawings! They are pop, cute, and beautiful!
    I myself is not a native English speaker, so I thought I am struggling to teach him English, but actually the way you learned to speak is very similar to how I learned English.
    It is very interesting.
    Thank you for writing helpful articles!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! I am glad that my blog is helpful to you.

      As well as being autistic and awesome myself, I also work at an educational non-profit for autistic and awesome kids, and I have learned that the positive development of the kids depends so much on the parents having a positive perspective on autism and their kids, so it is great to hear from you.

  2. Pingback: Level Up: Learn To Write | Autistic And Awesome

  3. Pingback: Level Up: The Third R | Autistic And Awesome

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