Our DVDs and Apps use a variety of scientifically supported teaching methods and strategies. Some DVDs, like the Vocabulary Builder, Action Words! and Sentence Builder DVDs use patented or patent pending teaching approaches. Others rely on time tested, proven teaching & learning strategies. Below is a quick explanation of some of the concepts behind these teaching methods:
Paired Associative Learning is a scientifically well established teaching method. It is the foundation of many of our programs. Paired Associative Learning refers to experiencing two stimuli at once or in close proximity and beginning to associate them. In the case of our Vocabulary Builder videos, the image of the object and the spoken word are paired stimuli. This is the foundation of almost all word learning. Babies begin to learn the meaning of specific words by seeing the object and hearing the word. (When a parent points to, and names an object for a child this is also called "verbal labeling". It is a very common example of paired associative learning.)
The Ability to Generalize is an Inborn Trait. Most two year olds can identify a car even if it's a type of a car they have never seen before. This is because the human brain, and particularly that of an infant, seems to be prewired to take information and organize it into sets of rules. So, as an infant is presented with a number of examples of objects that are cars, they process this information into a set of rules that defines car for them. This explains why we are able to identify cartoons and other more abstract illustrations as corresponding to a specific object easily and naturally, even though we may have never seen any similar representation of that object.
Children with Autism Often Have Difficulty Generalizing. Our Teaching methods are very effective for children on the Autism Spectrum. We think a key reason for this is the fact that our DVDs provide many varied examples of a word or concept being taught. This helps all children, including those that have difficulty generalizing, quickly build a mental construct of the rules that define a class of object or learning concept.
The Vocabulary Builders & Action Words! DVDs help in Building Categorization Skills, by providing many examples of an object or action, our videos help children begin to categorize and build word meanings based on varied representations of a class of objects. This is a key cognitive skill that impacts language development for years to come. The Vocabulary Builder Videos are carefully constructed to help begining language learners develop a broad and accurate understanding of word meaning. Each word is featured in two separate segments, providing repetition, which enhances vocabulary acquisition. Each segment begins by labeling the object as simply as possible. An object is first featured with minimum background activity or distractions. The word is then featured in various contexts. For instance, the word bottle is first featured by itself, and then with a baby drinking from a bottle. This presentation also provides the child with visual information about how the object is used. At the end of each segment the object is again featured singly with verbal labeling. This repetition helps children make the associations between a word and an object faster. Narration is kept very simple, ensuring that the vocabulary word is the word associated to the object. This also allows parents to comment on the images to their child.
The Sentence Builder DVDs are base on a linguistic concept called "Chunking". Chunking refers to the fact that for certain kinds of language learning, children acquire many commonly used phrases as linguistic "chunks" rather than an assembleage of single words. The advantage of this is clear - it greatly reduces the complexity of putting together multi-word sentences. Our Sentence Builder DVDs use a patent pending approach to teaching common sentence stems, or linguistic "chunks". For example, many common sentences used by young kids begins with the words "may I have". The Sentence Builder uses chunking to teach kids to pair this common stem "may I have" with a variety of objects to create an endless string of unique sentences. This unique teaching approach offers an advantage to typically developing toddlers - but it's truly a life-saver for kids struggling with speech!
We believe in the importance of low-stimulus video content for young kids. There's been lots of discussion recently about how much screen time, if any, parents should allow their young kids. What these discussions fail to acknowledge is that all video content is not created equal. Some screen time seems to be particularly bad for very young kids. Detrimental video content is typically characterized by some common traits: fast paced action, loud soundtracks, cartoon like visuals, and content that's vapid and silly. Unfortunately, this describes most of the main-stream video available for kids. Even more sadly, many parents believe that's all their children will be interested in, this simply isn't true. Kids that haven't been exposed to high-stimulus video content are happy to watch slower-paced, more age-appropriate educational content. The advantages are clear. Evidence suggests that high-stimulus video content erodes attention span and hinders language development. If your child has already become accustomed to high stimulus video content it's still not too late. With a plan and a strong will you can wean your child. This is a great thing for your average toddler - and it's absolutely essential for your child with a speech delay or autism!
Learn More about Media, Early Learning & Your Child! Your child will thank you. We've include links that provide more information about the subjects we've mentioned here:
How we learn languages in canned phrases, and what that means for the teaching of English.