Customized Electronic Response Tutorial for Autistic, Pre-School, Cognitively Challenged, & Non-verbal Children





Introduction: Customized Electronic Response Tutorial for Autistic, Pre-School, Cognitively Challenged, & Non-verbal Children

About: I love to facilitate, learn, grow, be, have, do good things for myself and others, and foster the next generation. My dreams include: Curious...ASK

The Customized Electronic Response Tutorial will allow parents, care-takers, and instructors to customize drills and response sheets to meet the specific needs of a child. When the child selects the 'correct' response from 2 to many options, either a sound or visible light(s) are produced providing additional reinforcement and subsequent motivation.

Most children respond to visual and auditory cues. While the design is created for the individual child and therefore will vary with need, the electronic response tutorial presented here provides a rich assortment of blinking & colored lights, an intermittent and static buzzer, a siren, and a memo voice recorder.

While it is possible to create different tutorial response sheets, it is equally possible to design the components that are activated by the child. While this may seem to be an ambitious project, I know absolutely nothing about electronics. If I can create this project to assist our children in learning, I know that, without a doubt, you can. Come with me and I will walk you through it.

Step 1: Begin Your 'Book' With a Design Plan

Customize your Response Tutorial (RT) based on your child's unique learning style and preferences.

1] What content will you target?
2] How many different electronic stimuli will best reward & motivate your child?
3] Do you want auditory, of visual stimuli or both?

Step 2: Make a List of Tools & Supplies: House Hunting Expedition & Shopping

1] Decide what tools and supplies that you will need.
2] Search for what you have around that you can use.
3] Consider taking apart simple electronic household items, electronic toys or even old shoes that light up.
4] If you need to buy tools, try Sears. They have a great selection of Craftsman tools that are well crafted and durable.

Step 3: Make a Base for Your Tutorial E Book and a System to Hold Your E Components

1] Obtain materials to make a base to hold your electronic components.
2] I used a cardboard box and found some Styrofoam packaging material in the garage along with my Craftsman freestanding lights, compressor, and some tools.
3] Note: Any container that would be about the size of the pages of your tutorial will do. Also, any type of foam would work. This is without a doubt, a low tech solution.
4] Cut your foam or other electronic attachment material to fit within your container.
5] Alter your container as necessary to accommodate your electronic components.
6] I used a box cutter for both the cardboard box and Styrofoam.
7] Obtain some type of cover material so that your electronics are not accessible to the child, while maintaining access so that they can be removed and batteries changed, etc.

Step 4: Create Your Simple Electronic Circuits With a Mechanical Switch & Embed Within the Foam

1] Obtian the power source specific to each electronic component that you want to use. (1.5-12 Volt batteries)
2] For those E components that have a red (+) & black (-) wire attached, cut one of the wires (red or black) and insert the proper voltage battery (see package or battery holder) to both of the cut ends.
NOTE: If it is the black wire, connect the section of wire closest to the E unit with the(-)pole of the battery. The connect the (+) pole to the cut portion of the black wire. If the wire that you cut is the red one, then connect the (+) part of the battery to the end of the cut red wire closest to the E component, and the cut portion of the red wire to the (-) end of the battery.

3] Create a mechanical switch by securing the open ends of both the red & black wires within a half inch of each other but not touching.

4] Test the switch by placing a 1 1/2 square inch piece of aluminum foil over the ends of the two wires at the same time. If the E component lights up or beeps, etc., you have completed your circuit. This will be the method by which most of your circuits are completed. Note images.

Step 5: Create a Protective Cover for Your Electronic Box With Switch, Light, & Sound Access

1] Locate suitable material for a protective cover for your electronic box. I chose an old plastic folder.
2] Cut out regions where circuit connections will be made.
3] Cut out regions where lights need to be seen.
4] Cut out small areas to allow for speakers
5] Attach cover to box so that it can be removed if necessary.

Step 6: Complete the Electronics Box and Attach to Your Binder

1] Paint the container box and decorate.
2] Attach the box to the inside back flap of a 2 1/2" 3-ring binder

Step 7: Create Your Response Pages

1] Create a map of the locations of your electroninc synapses and places in which you will have lights that you want to display.
2] Use this map as a template to organize and created your pages so that correct responses can be actualized by taping foil to the back side of the plastic inserts.
3] You will also want to cut out areas if you wish lights to be a part of that pages response venue.
4] Check out the images that follow and some of the pages that you can create.
5] You are only limited by your own imagination and that of your child.
6] You can use power point to create pages, or cut and past your own images and photographs from various sources.
7] Aim for mastery with your trials and drills. Offer one alternative at a time and only add more until mastery is assured.



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    16 Discussions

    I am very impressed with your inventiveness, creativit, and multiple contributions. It's a great thing that you do. I am new to all of this and this Response book is my very first effort. I truly hope that someone somewhere may benefit from a portion of my idea and simple design. I know nothing about electricity but am fascinated by LED applications. I want to make necklaces, bracelets, belts, etc. with LEDs. Is there a group like this on Instructables? I thought you might just know. How is the kangaroo and camel meat these days? Good luck with your contest entries...

    Thankyou. I share your interest in LeD applications. You will find that I' is a great medium for conveying your projects to a whole range of people. You would also note that I' is well rated in google searches. For instance did you know that by searching for "Autistic customized electronics" you are now the number one topic, or even to refine that "Autistic electronics" you are number 5 on the list. Well done my friend! It seems you are a bit of a celebrity!! Keep up the good work and im sure you love your stay. By the way I have worked with several Autistic children in the past. I found it very rewarding work, tiring, yet very rewarding.

    I so appreciate your comments! I was surprised and pleased to read your post! It's nice to be validated...Yes, working with Autistic children is challenging. Some statistics point to 1/100 or 1/150 children born in Ca. today have some form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. This epidemic is global and carries a tremendous emotional and financial burden on families and society, not to mention the individuals so affected. I believe that we have to look to the toxins in our environment and their effects in utero and infancy on the developing brain. The same can be said for children with learning disabilities and compromised immune systems, etc. I am so glad to see that you feel that this may perhaps be a forum for some form of this project to be adopted. Thanks once more! Rain

    It's funny many see children suffering from autism, ADHD, down sindrome as being "handycapped". I believe that perhaps these children/adults minds are just way to complicated for us to truley understand. In its entirity I also believe that their minds can phathom things which could not possibly be conceaved by a "normal" individual. Example: Imagine an audistic child. Their are levels on consciousness their far in excess of a normal child. I have sat reading to an autistic girl for days and days. When I say reading I mean I read she screamed. Until on the third day I finally figured out why she way screaming. It was the pictures in the book. Not of what they were but the complex shapes and patterns that the pictures were made up of. There were several images/colours she related to. For the next 2 days we spent our time finger tracing the images together and a special bond was developed. I started to pick up on what interested her and she started to bond with me once she realised I was looking for "her" favourite images. I not talking square and circles here, I am talking complete 3d shapes and blended images. Some she related to and some she didn't. What amazed me is that in her little world that is what was most important to her. No other pre-school child I have ever met, would have such insight to analise those images for the complex shapes she was de-coding. I refuse to accept (as many other teachers did) that she was simply lost. She was their, I found her. Apparently I was the first person ever to be able to read her a book. No one else bothered. It was funny, once she understood that I wanted to see what she was seeing inside the images, she immediatley let her tension go.... Although I only had her for a small portion of the day (5 hours for 2 weeks) I feel I did some good. I just hope someone else can share that with her too.

    I agree with you that often 'special needs' children have 'special' gifts and talents that we often can not fathom. Sometimes they can sing beautifully, but not be able to speak. Many are extremely visual and pay extreme focused attention on minute details that escape us all. It is analogous to someone who is seriously bipolar, along with the extremes in mood and personality changes comes the gift of brilliance in some creative endeavor. I abhor teaching to the mean and the 'one size fits all approach (teaching to the tests: math & reading) that is so punctuated in our public schools today. The No Child Left Behind is likely leaving all in the dust of mediocrity, with any love of learning trampled, disconnected, and severely wounded. In what venue is the Spirit of the child fostered? How can the child discover his or her unique gifts? Are our children allowed to explore, question, do, be, or even think something outside of the cube? Is their curiosity fuel and fostered or muffled, silenced. Where is the creativity, the imagination, the dream, the song, the dance of joy? Where is the walk in the woods, tending the school garden, writing the school play? What play you say, what field trip, what time to play for the sake of play? It was better when it was not. It begs the question, how will we foster the next generation, keeping their sparkling lights shining within, the creativity and love of learning expanding, and their unique gifts and passions alive and kicking?

    The personal intricacies in getting to know your own children is such a grand reward. To be able to communicate effectually and more affectionately with a learning disabled child is a flat out miracle. Thank you for this idea. I would like to know more of what a child might create as their own project. This is like having the opportunity of viewing alternate endings with some DVD movies but having the "fun" of making your own movie in the beginning. Major Way Cool!

    1 reply

    A child with adult assistance could design & assemble the electronic response box with whatever bling/bang was available via old toys, flashlight parts, LEDs, etc. and purchases. The child would create whatever questions would be queried from peers, siblings, etc. The informational content presented could be sports questions, names of local birds, tricky math problems, puzzles, etc. I imagine the topics chosen would be an area of interest and some expertise. This electronic response book might make for a great science fair project. What do you think? Anyone want to venture the possibilities of customized options with 'bling/bang' rewards for the 'optimal response/responses? would love to hear from you. Rain

    I am extremely impressed with your 'craftiness'. I will look forward to your future projects. I appreciate your comment. This is my first effort and I had a blast. I truly hope that it will someday, someway, benefit some child or adult.

    Well this is a really good first instructable and I can see how this would be of great benefit, especially since there are often not enough resources available to help children with special needs..

    Thanks for your special comments. I agree that while there are some materials in place at school, during therapy sessions, and some that parents can buy, there may not be anything that is customized for the child's specific learning tasks that involves non-parental rewards. I hope that this project does find a home in some child's life. Rain