Jeffrey Sprecher was two years old when he was diagnosed with autism. Among the many classic symptoms of ASD that Jeffrey presented was an aversion to direct eye contact. Yet as his father, I noticed that my little guy would stare intently at the television when certain programs or advertising commercials aired.
RECOGNIZING THAT VIDEO CAN REACH AND TEACH
Sensing opportunity, I produced a home video “learning program,” concentrating on the alphabet and basic numbers. Much to our delight, my previously non-verbal son responded extremely positively to this unique, innovative “teaching strategy” — learning to identify and speak the alphabet A to Z, and numbers 1 to 10, generalized to any environment, within three months!
A breakthrough in teaching children with autism spectrum disorder — and other visually receptive learners with developmental, cognitive and learning needs — had taken place, though no one knew it at the time.
THE WORLD TAKES NOTICE AND ASKS FOR OUR HELP.
Over the next year, Jeffrey’s development grew as I expanded video-based teaching. From family members to animals, problem-solving lessons (shape sorting) to safety issues (fire), my little man with autism acquired valuable skills that he otherwise would not have attained.
Word spread of Jeffrey’s growth and development throughout my community, and his “video learning program” was shared with other children with disabilities — all of whom prospered with the technique.
Encouraged by others to publicize the breakthrough, I first resisted — but eventually, for the potential greatrer good, I authored an article on his “video learning program” strategy in the Autism Society of America’s national publication.
The response was phenomenal! More than 300 letters from around the world were received, and each stated the same two points:
1. My child is a visual learner, just like yours.
2. Can you produce video programs for our children?
EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY TO LEARN – WITH SPECIAL KIDS, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Today, numerous university and hospital studies have shown that our hunch was right — that children with autism spectrum disorder (and many other disabilities) are highly visual learners, and that video modeling can be a quality, effective teaching strategy for these audiences.
From a passing observation of a two-year-old’s interest in television, Special Kids Speech & Skill Development Resources has grown to help children with disabilities in more than 30 countries and 500 U.S. school systems — children with autism spectrum disorder, Down Syndrome, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, dyslexia and other developmental, cognitive and learning challenges.
Whether your child is 18 months, or 18 years, every day can be a new day to learn. And with Special Kids helping, anything’s possible. It’s my blessing and honor to hopefully help you and your child grow and propser. To God be the glory.
John Sprecher & Jeff Sprecher
Founders | Special Kids