Experience Books are a powerful tool to teach children with autism to understand and express language. More often than not, after an experience, you will try to question your child to exchange about the experience only to be met by a blank stare or an “I don’t know”.
Individuals with autism tend to respond well to visual support, making Experience Books one of the most powerful autism visual aids.
What are Experience Books?
An Experience Book is a book of pictures that show an experience that your child has had. Each photo in the book represents a highlight of the experience and together they tell the story of the whole experience.
Where to take your photos for your child or students’ Experience Books
- Inside a butterfly house
- At the farm
- At the zoo
- At the playground
- At school
- At the toy store
- On a boat
- At a birthday party
- During a play date
- At home during a project
How to make Experience Books
- Step 1 – Select the photos to use in the book.
- Step 2 – To make the book last longer, laminate the photos.
- Step 3 – Pop holes in each of the pages and connect them using a binder ring or other tool.
- Note : You could alternatively use a photo album and place one photo on each page.
Free Printable Experience Book
You can add photos, or photos and text, to your “Experience Books” to discuss a great day with your child and work on vocabulary and sharing. As you can see in the photos below, it is a great idea to select specific moments that are memorable for your child, such as meeting a goat face-to-face or seeing a red tractor!
I made a sample Experience Book for you to use with your child or students which you can print out here.
To build on this activity you could create a sensory component to your “Experience Book” by adding tactile materials such as dried beans or rice and including small objects such as a plastic tractor or farm animal figurines.
How to build communication skills with a child with autism using Experience Books
You can build communication skills and language skills with these fun and practical autism visual aids in a variety of ways.
- Flip through the book and have your child say one word to explain the photo on each page. For example, if your book is all about a day at the farm, take photos of each of the animals you see and have your child say “sheep”, “pig”, “chicken”, etc.
- If your child is using full sentences, have your child say one sentence per page. For example, “the dog is lying on the ground” and “the horse is eating hay”, etc.
- Use the book to build counting skills. Have your child count the pages, count the animals and more.
- Build receptive language with the books by asking your child to show you the sheep, show you the chicken, show you the dog, etc.
Make a sensory box to go with your child’s Experience Book
Here is an example of an interactive farm animal sensory box you could create with your child to go with the free printable farm Experience Book I made for you.
- Autism Workbooks – a selection of autism workbooks I created to build new skills with your little learners.
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- Best Self Help Books for Women – the best inspirational books for women.
- Autism Books – my ultimate list of autism books you need to read.
- Best Board Books – my recommendations for the best board books to use with autistic learners to build new vocabulary skills.
More Autism Resources
- The Successful Interaction with a Child with Autism Course – learn to better understand your autistic child or students with this complete course.
- Autism Activities Workbook Bundle – build communication skills, fine motor skills, sensory play skills and daily living skills, while helping your child or students to successfully manage any difficult behaviors, with these fun, educational, printable activities.
- Sensory Communication Workbook – Build communication skills with simple sensory activities.
- How to Make a Communication Binder Guide & Workbook – Learn how to create a Communication Binder for your child or student with autism using real photos. Follow my expert guide to learn how to use it to increase communication skills.
- Zoo Animals Play Dough Mats Bundle – use these printable play dough mat to work on the names of the animals, build language skills, and increase fine motor strength and precision in a fun, sensory way!
Have you made an Experience Book with your child?
Did your child love it? I would love to hear about your experiences with Experience Books in the comments below!
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