Special-Needs Q&A (Late Summer 2015)

Q. I have a young son who has several special-needs issues. He is severely autistic, nonverbal, and significantly developmentally delayed. His cognitive age was just recently rated at 2 years. He is learning to use Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) cards to communicate and does approximated sign language for a few words. What concerns me, however, is wondering if the Simply Classical Curriculum is going to be compatible to his ability levels. How easy would it be to adapt this curriculum to my child’s specific needs and developmental skill levels?


A. The Simply Classical Curriculum can help you address global delays in specific, structured ways. If you found that your son’s ability level in one area (receptive language) exceeded his ability in other areas (fine-motor skills and expressive language), you could adapt the lesson plans in any of the following ways: elevating your own vocabulary during each lesson, offering “yes” or “no” questions based on the lesson plans, or coordinating his responses with his known PECS cards, signing, and other unspoken answers. We also offer stand-alone resources, such as the Scissors Books, to provide additional practice in various areas. All of our complete curriculum levels are based on beautiful read-alouds to promote attentiveness.

As you know, any curriculum is only as useful as its teacher. Exploring the stories with wonder and enjoyment, even amidst the very serious skills taught throughout the program, will assist the curriculum’s adaptability and the child’s progress! We link your daily lessons to a collection of delightful books just for this purpose.

We also intend for the child to receive his needed specific therapies (speech, language, occupational, and physical therapy) alongside the curriculum at each level. You can incorporate the child’s therapy homework into the daily lessons. For example, in recitations or in poetry, omit the final word of an often-repeated verse or phrase to elicit speech approximations. Each planner includes space to write your child’s therapy homework.

Visit ClassicalSpecialNeeds.com, “Where Do I Begin?” to take the full online assessments in areas such as cognitive, language, fine motor, and social-emotional development. The guidelines help you match the appropriate level to your child’s abilities. Look for more levels to come, as we intend to provide these for ages 2-21!


Originally published in The Classical Teacher Late Summer 2015 edition.

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