Father: ...the first word that had significance for him [Jack] was bear so we got him a pull toy with a bear in it and he pulled it at home just as he had at the center. He recognized it immediately and began to pull it around the room. It was his bear on wheels.
In the previous chapter Kristina Chrétien described how she treated two very different kinds of children, and how word-deaf autistic children begin to hear and be guided by spoken words (p.139). Pairing manual signs with spoken words both on the Elevated Square and on the ground was certainly a critical factor in this achievement. However, to communicate, the child must also be able to use signs and words to influence the behavior of others. Before sharing strategies that helped Damon and children like him to achieve reciprocal communication, it's useful to consider why manual signs are so important in this process.
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When parents help their children learn to read, they help open the door to a new world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally they read for their own information or pleasure. They become readers, and their world is forever expanded and enriched.