We all know that children who happen to be on the autism spectrum find transition and change hard, or find it difficult to understand the unspoken social rules. We also know that the majority of children are visual and kinetic learners, yet we tend to use our voices to give instruction or ask for compliance. The Talk with Teddies kit helps children understand concepts in a visual and kinetic way. Each teddy is made from a fabric that allows visual symbols to be displayed on the bears using hook tape. Using a variety of Widgit symbols supplied or by using your own, the bears can be used to help children understand social rules, boundaries, make choices, know what is happening next or simply to play games. The bears can take away anxiety and fear and allow children to hold onto them and use them as fiddle toys.
Use the emotions tiles to help children explain feelings, or help children to empathise with others. Use the bears in storytelling. Teach the children to bring you a bear when things all become too much or use a bear to allow the child to have thinking space. It is easier to think when you have something to hold as it offers a level of security and reality to a situation.
The Talk with Teddies Kit is highly versatile, it responds to the child’s learning styles and it is up to you how it is used so it supports each individual child using a person centred approach.
Create an ‘assembly’ bear, using the dry white tiles included in the set and get the child to carry the bear from one activity to another. Help raise self-esteem and confidence by awarding the ‘helper’ bear when asking the child to do something in the setting.
Reward the ‘well done’ bear as positive praise. The child can feel proud they have the bear on their desk for the morning.
Use the “take turns” bear to pass around a group of children and encourage communication and good behaviour.
Display play choices and ask children what they would like to do first.
Exchange the symbols as appropriate and re-use time and time again.
“My children love these bears. I have noticed an increase in communication and language use when playing with the bears and have particularly valued the bears when helping the children to behave appropriately” – Early Years Manager Manchester
- 4 bears (130mm tall)
- 12 printed symbol cards 45mm x 45mm
- 6 mini dry wipe boards 45mm x 45mm
- Dry wipe pen
- Comprehensive Ideas and Information booklet including ideas on how to use the bears to support communication, speech, language, literacy as well as social integration, behaviour and social communication.
- Robust draw string storage bag
Case study 1
Calvin is 6 years old and attends a local school. He becomes very frustrated at times and this is shown through violence, throwing, kicking and punching. The Talking with Teddies Kit was introduced into his class and he was very interested in the bears. One day the teacher was concentrating on helping a group of pupils and Calvin came over to see her. Having got her attention he gave her the Cross bear. For the first time he was indicating his anxiety, fear and frustration through the bears rather than by hitting another child. The teacher was able to re-direct him into another activity in a quiet area. Calvin took the bears with him and after a few minutes came to show the teacher the happy bear!
Case study 2
Jason attends an after school club. Having had to concentrate all day and do as he is told, when he arrives he is wound up and if given too much stimulation will go into a melt down. This often happens by kicking over toys or sweeping activities off the tables. The club have started using the bears to help meet and greet children. When Jason arrives the staff member welcomes him and asks him what he would like to do first based on choices displayed on three or four bears. Rather than having sensory overload and be overwhelmed by choice. Jason is able to pick up a bear and take it with him to his chosen activity. He also likes holding a bear at story time, it gives him something to fiddle with that does not make a noise!
See video below for an example of how children have used the bears in a local school