The “Social” Learning Style Defined

Dr Temple Grandin,Jeannie Bolstridge, and Max the therapy dog
Example of a trained assistance dog.

Learning Socially is the official web home of the nonprofit Sensory Friendly Learning Inc. I’m the founder and CEO of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit registered with the IRS. So, when I write a post saying that I am “defining” something as big as social learning, I mean that I’m defining how kids learn socially under our care. Sensory Friendly Learning Inc holds the vision of incorporating therapy dogs into one-on-one tutoring sessions to strengthen reading and academics in young students.

LinkedIn logo

You can view the Linked In company page for Sensory Friendly Learning Inc. by clicking the LinkedIn logo.

Over the years our tutors, mentors, and interns have served in-school, after-school, and supported home education with therapy dog training and mobile and web educational apps to strengthen remedial students.

In 2012 Sensory Friendly Learning merged with an Autism Support Group named “Facing Autism Together Everyday”. We have a social group home on Facebook located at facebook.com/facingautism

exploring the "social" learning style

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Social Learning by Necessity

Children in the elementary school environment learn a large percentage of their skills through social learning. Whether the teacher includes into her lesson plans a group discussion of that day’s reading or asks for participation in solving a history, science, or math problem, the children listen and learn from others around them.

The following student had a challenge that not many kids face, but he was determined to connect with people around him to establish meaningful relationships and skills before he entered into darkness. Please enjoy his determination to reach out to others and and continue to learn despite his own trial.

Reading-Teaching Resources

Enjoy this short video entitled “Book People Unite” which confirms the value of book reading for children and the incredible effect that books have in children’s lives.

The following are some well respected reading programs for homeschool or after-school programs. This is an ongoing, updated list.

Inspirational and Instructional

April 2013

On April 5, Brittany Ammons sent a e-mail newsletters announcing Facing Autism Together Everyday’s (FATE) 3rd Annual Autism Awareness Month Family Day Picnic. She informed everyone of when and where the picnic was. It was held at the park in Ambrose, Georgia from 2 P.M. and had no set end time.

Saturday, April 13, 2013, FATE had its 3rd Annual Autism Awareness Month Family Day Picnic at the park in Ambrose. The picnic began at 2:00 P.M. Snacks and drinks are provided, but members need to bring lawn chairs as there is very little seating at the park. The children jumped in a bouncy house, popped bubbles, threw water balloons, ran under a sprinkler, and played with several toys.

Brittany Ammons made the post Family Day Picnic and Kiley at Just Jump for Kids on her Autism 4 Life blog.

Jeannie Bolstridge continued to Skype or e-mail Georgia Tech, work one-on-one with a child with Autism, and build the ReadDogs blog.

Kiley at Just Jump for Kids

On August 11, 2012, Facing Autism Together Everyday (FATE) held a meeting at Just Jump for Kids in Douglas, G.A. Just Jump for Kids is a great place that has four big blow-up slides and jump houses for children to play on. The meeting was the first announcement to FATE members about the merger with Sensory Friendly Learning.

Mrs. Jeannie Bolstridge brought Catriona, her granddaughter with ADHD, and Kiley, an autistic girl, while I brought my brother Garth.

When Mrs. Bolstridge had asked Kiley’s mother whether or not she could bring Kiley as well, she had said that it was fine but that she didn’t think that we would ever get Kiley in an enclosed space. She thought that we would be there five minutes ad have to leave.

Mrs. Bolstridge told me about this a few days before the meeting and has asked me what I thought about it. I told her that I would watch Kiley. I knew I wouldn’t have to keep an eye on Garth, that was the second time he had been there, so I knew he would be no problem. He could just play and I could focus on trying to get Kiley on the blow-up things. I was determined that if I could get her on one, she would love it.

So, when we got to Just Jump for Kids, I said hello to everyone there and let Kiley look around before trying to get her on the smallest blow-up.

This one was for really young children. It has an opening in the front that you used to enter and exit. The opening had a net hanging down on the inside of it, which you just pushed through when you entered, but you had to pick up when leaving.

Inside, it had a horse inside that you could sit on, not all the way or you would crush it, but you could sit on it slightly. It had a little Native American teepee with a tunnel at the bottom that the children could crawl through. There was a dog sitting down for the children to pet and there was a slide in the back.

It did take some time before Kiley would get in. I took off my shoes and crawled in first, hoping that by seeing me in there it would help her fear. I laid down inside so that she could see my head through the hole and stuck my hand out. “Come on, Kiley. It’s okay,” I said again and again.

She would take a step toward me then whine and step back. This continued several times but she was a little bit closer each time. Finally, she took my hand and crawled in with me.

Mrs. Bolstridge, Bobbie, and I were so happy that she had a good time. We took lots of pictures of her. I took my camera out and just sat down inside the thing and took pictures for Mrs. Libby. I took a few videos too.

I was so proud of how Kiley reacted when another child climbed in.

At school, Kiley is considered “violent” because if something throws her off and she has a tantrum and no one tries to do anything to help her, she will hit whoever is closest to her. Now, that’s if no one helps her. I have seen her hit a few times, she even hit me one time, but it wasn’t hard enough to hurt. During tutoring, if she starts screaming, all we have to do is say nine words to her she always stops screaming: “Do you want to go sit in the truck?”

If you say this to her, she always stops, it may be for five minutes or five seconds, but she will say “No!” and calm down.

Anyway, when the little boy, maybe only three or four, climbed on I watched Kiley to see whether or not she would strike at him. She had never been on one of those bounce thing before, so I was worried she would get upset if someone she didn’t know got on.

But Kiley never even tried to do anything. She stared at him long enough to make me worry that she would react, but this so-called “violent” little girl just carried on jumping like she had been doing. I was so proud of her.

The meeting at Just Jump for Kids had begun at 8:30 A.M. and Kiley lasted all the way to noon (over three hours) before it became too much and she had sensory overload, so Mrs. B. took her home.

I could not wait to get the pictures and videos I had taken of Kiley to her mom. I knew she would be so surprised to hear about how I had actually got Kiley onto one of the blow-ups since it was an “enclosed space.”

This just goes to show that just because an autistic child is labeled as “violent” in school does not mean that they really are that way. Kiley was in an unfamiliar environment and in a confined space, which she has a hard time with, and she never once tried to hit anyone. 

At one point, I had tried getting off of blow-up secretly to see how Kiley would react to being on there by herself. The first time I did it, she followed me out once she saw me standing outside . However, the second time, she was fine being in there by herself, which allowed me to take a picture of her.

Introduction to Max

My name is Max. I was born into a very prominant American dynasty. It’s in my blood to be a winner. My life is like a narrow, one-way road because of all the requirements made upon me. As a youngster, I was groomed in all  manner of social graces. My teeth had to be perfectly straight. my bite had to be aligned from left to right without even a hint of an overbite, my head and shoulders had to be held in a balanced, erect position that resulted in a gait that spelled “royalty”. Can anyone identify with my life’s calling to perfection?

I guess I could tell you about communal life. I’ve lived with others since I was born. Well, I guess growing up with family isn’t too bad. At some point in everyone’s life we meet eyeball to eyeball with a possessive sibling. You know the kind. He’s the dude who squanders every treat whether these goodies are meant for him or not, plays with other’s toys, and straddles his own toys like a mother duck sitting on her eggs who is in no way willing to share. Like I said, I guess community life is not that bad, but someday I would like to stand on my own merits.

Xrays and ultrasounds and blood tests, OH MY! Even if I donate my time to the needy, exhibit perfect manners, or refrain from complaining, my calling in life also mandates perfection on the inside! These are the things I dislike the most. I ask you, what percentage of population has to endure as a matter of formality the xrays, ultrasounds, and blood tests that I face to be sure such things as my thyroid, kidneys, and titer levels are acceptable. After all of this, I guess you can call me “squeaky clean”.

Count-A-Licious Toddler

Count-A-Licious Toddler by Brainster Apps is a wonderful app for any child who needs to work on learning to identify, write, and count numbers 1 to 20. This app is very visually stimulating, so it keeps the child’s attention. It costs $0.99 to download and there are no in-app purchases. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. I made an App Guide video about this app.

Watch the video below or click on the following link to watch the on YouTube: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w3zpW8yHfpc&feature=plcp.

This Saturday

This Saturday is going to to be busy in South Georgia for Autism Awareness Month!

An Autism Awareness Day Celebration will be held in the auditorium of the middle school in Waycross, Georgia. It will begin at 10:00 AM and end at 12:00 PM. This year’s focus will be on education, awareness, and research. Erin Brooker Lozott, MS, CCC-SLP from the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta will be the keynote speaker. She is going to be speaking about the research being done on brain development and social competence in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). There will be other speakers as well as door prizes. goody bags, and refreshments from Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robins.

There will be time for you can come to the next event as well.

In place of the monthly meeting, Sensory Friendly Learning Inc. is having an Annual Autism Awareness Month Family Picnic at the park in Ambrose, Georgia. It will begin at 2:00 PM and has no set end time. The park is located on the corner of Highway 268 and Cypress Street in Ambrose. Come and bring your children. There are swings, a slide, a sandbox, and more for them to play in. If your child is one who likes to run off, the park is enclosed and there is only one enter/exit point. With so many there, your child won’t be able to get out. Also, be sure to bring lawnchairs as there is very little seating at the park. There will be snacks and drinks provided.

E-mail mrsb@socialprompter.net for any questions, comments, concerns, or just to say hello.