How a Shoebox Can Help Children with Autism Expand Language and Learning Skills!


Want to get started with ABA or re-vamp an ABA program starting today? I created a Shoebox Program several years ago for parents and professionals and have used it with all of my clients who have minimal to no language. This is a program that you can start even if you can only commit to working directly with a child once a week for 10 to 15 minutes.

It’s so easy and powerful, I’m sure you’ll probably see some results.

The first step is to take any box with a lid. Cut a slit in the top of the box lid that’s wide enough for pictures to go in horizontally or vertically. Then, you want to collect some flashcards and pictures to use.

For the pictures, collect pictures of people and/or your child or client’s favorite things. When you’re picking pictures of people, select pictures that only have one person in them. A close up shot where you can see the person’s face is ideal.

For pictures of items, pick things that your child or client will relate to like a picture of an iPad or a picture of a juice cup. Here, focus on pictures with one item. Keep extraneous toys or items out of the pictures so as not to distract or complicate things.

When you’re picking flashcards, you want to keep the same considerations in mind. (If you’re purchasing flashcards, get two sets for use later on!) Go through the flashcards and exclude any words that contain more than 2 syllables. For example, I would use “elephant,” because it contains 3 syllables. We may want to exclude words like, “kite,” which a child may or may not have common exposure to. You want to pick items like, “ball,” which they are going to have daily exposure to; “cat,” “cake,” and even “turtle,” which is 2 syllables but it’s usually an easy word to say.

You can request a step by step process on this program here.

Once you have your materials gathered, you’re ready to get started.

Even if your child is not saying anything, you can still do the shoebox program to encourage eye contact, to gain attention, to get compliance and to start having your child or client warm up to the idea of learning from you.

I use the shoebox program for all of my clients initially until we can establish them sitting, matching and touching things on a table on our command. Then, as the child progresses, we can sometimes use it to expand language even more!

Want to apply this information immediately to help your child or clients with autism?
Click the button below to download The Shoebox Program cheat sheet so you can get started today!
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