Instead of TV time, I created a couple of short alphabet videos for Matthew last month using Windows Movie Maker. They serve as Matthew's electronic flashcards. I decided to hold off on buying pre-made early reading programs. With these videos, he enjoys a limited amount of screen time but it's not an obsession, like it was his DVDs and TV.
The first alphabet video doesn't have any photos. It's just the alphabet appearing on the screen one letter at a time and my recorded voice saying the letters as they appear. I use lowercase letters only in this video because I want Matthew to learn lowercase letters first.
The second video is a phonic alphabet video. It's my 2nd edited version. It will probably go through more revisions when I add or remove photos. And I'll definitely have to redo the audio because I messed up the letter "i". The toys, clothes, animals and food in the photos are things Matthew owns or is familiar with.
How I use these videos
1. As a supplement to our homemade picture cards. I mentioned our picture cards in my previous posts Speech and Reading Connection and Book Review: Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome.
The videos are not my main alphabet/word/speech teaching tool though. With the videos, Matthew hears the alphabet, how each letter is said and how they sound, sees the letters, the words and corresponding photos but he doesn't see how they are said - how the mouth, lips and tongue move to say certain letters. Letters like p, b and m don't require any tongue movement while d, l, t, n and a few others do. Of course, there are letters like k wherein the sound is made from the back of the tongue.
So I use our picture cards and show him how I say the word. Sometimes I prompt him. For instance, he says "aight/ ayt" for "light". I'll say "la la light". He parrots that and eventually says "light". It doesn't work for everything though. I'll say "mmmmm ma!". He'll say "mmmmm pa". We'll keep working on that one.
2. I usually watch these videos with Matthew on my lap. Sometimes, I'll hit the pause button when a photo appears on the screen and say "What's that?" prompting him to tell me what he sees on the screen. This has been helping Matthew's speech. Pausing it makes it interactive and keeps him alert. Sometimes he'll push my hand away from the mouse because he doesn't want me messing with the video.
The personalized electronic flashcard videos aren't perfect and I'm sure there are better videos out there but this works for us. That being said, I'm sharing these videos anyway in case anyone's interested.
Here's the 3rd revision of the phonic alphabet video now with 3 seconds between letter/word/photo transitions. It's a little slower paced and probably easier to follow, especially if pausing during the video is not an option.
Book Review: Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome
Early Reading Programs
Speech and Reading Connection