The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

19 May 2015

Creating a Language-Rich Environment at Home

On 27 April 2015, fourth year B.S. Speech-Language Pathology students from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) held a one-day fair for children with autism and their parents -- members of Autism Society Philippines. The event was dubbed “ZOOPER Fun Day: A Community Development Program for Creating a Language-Rich Environment.” Held at the UST Quadricentennial Park, the event aimed to promote and advocate for rich language development by imparting knowledge to the parents about language stimulation techniques and how to create a language-rich environment in their home setting.

Ms. Andrea Monique Dargantes, CSP-PASP and Ms. Mara Jo Bondoc, CSP-PASP gave a seminar entitled “Creating a Language-Rich Environment” to the parents in UST’s Speech-Language Pathology Laboratory. The parents actively participated, asking questions about how to further help their child and taking down notes.

Participants in Creating a Language-Rich Environment seminar

Simultaneously, each child was given an Ate or Kuya and then led to the UST Quadricentennial Park where four game booths and a puppet show awaited.

The one-day fair started with the children watching a puppet show based on the Dreamworks movie “Madagascar.” It followed a Dora the Explorer style of script that encouraged participation from the children. In the story, Alex the lion, Gloria the elephant, and Melmanthe giraffe embark on an adventure to find their friend Marty the zebra who they believe to have escaped from their zoo to find freedom in the island of Madagascar. They navigate the foreign world of the City, make their way towards a Ship, and reunite with their long-lost friend in Madagascar. Questions such as “Where are we going next?,” “Can you see Marty anywhere?” and “Can you count with us?” were asked to keep the children engaged and energetic.

The children enthusiastically answered the puppets’ cues with cheers and loud voices. Afterwards, the kids posed with the puppets for a quick photo-op before heading towards the booths with their respective Ate or Kuya.

The four game booths were carefully designed to elicit responses from the children.

  • The Something Fishy booth has the child catching fishes from a basin of water, and each fish has a corresponding wh- question which the child will be asked to answer. The difficulty level of the questions are adjusted accordingly for the child by the students handling the booth.
  • The Hungry Zoo encourages the child’s categorization skills. They are presented with a giraffe, a lion, and a basket of food. They are then to get all the vegetables for the giraffe and all the meat for the lion.
  • The Zookeeper Says require the child to follow a set of commands to be able to feed the hungry monkey. They can either be told to choose a ball, shoot it inside a specific basket, clap their hands, jump, point, or gather the bananas. It facilitates language learning and improvement of receptive language skills through following commands of varying difficulties.
  • The What’s Missing? booth presents blown-up pictures of animals with missing body parts posted on the wall. The kids go through the pictures one by one, get the animal’s missing body part, and stick it on the poster of the animal it belongs to. This activity, facilitated with instructions and questions from the students, improves receptive language skills of part-whole relationships.
At the end of the day, everybody went home with new learnings on how to help children with autism communicate with their surroundings.

About the contributor: Courtney Chua is currently an intern under the B.S. Speech-Language Pathology program of the University of Santo Tomas. She has served the Speech-Language Pathology Society of the University of Santo Tomas' College of Rehabilitation Sciences as its Public Relations Officer in 2012 and its Internal Vice President in 2013 and currently continues to serve the profession as she undergoes her internship year.


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