(Or maybe I should title this “Patterning Activities for Kid’s Who Can’t Pattern YET.” After several attempts at patterning colors with Noah, I’ve just about given up (for now). But as I was reviewing some of the handouts from the 2012 National Down Syndrome Congress Convention, I came across an idea I just had to try.
Whole Body Patterning – a kinesthetic learning activity for those great action-oriented learners of ours. The idea is simple. Instead of patterning manipulatives, pattern actions. Noah (5-Down syndrome), Bella (4) and I all stood in a line side by side and we jumped and then clapped, jumped and then clapped. Then we took a step backward (see Ms. Lorri – we are doing gross motor work at home :)) and clapped, stepped backward and clapped. Finally we stepped with one foot to the side, and then slid the other foot next to the first one. And we did it again. And again. Noah took two or three steps for each one of mine, but he definitely got the idea.
Why bother patterning body movements when that is so vastly different from patterning colored cubes or blocks or whatever? It’s all in the wiring. We are laying the road for this very important skill, so that when Noah is ready to pattern colors and other things, he’ll already have made many of the connections necessary. It will be the difference between travelling across rugged virgin terrain and cruising along a freshly paved avenue.
And just what does this have to do with speech acquisition? Patterning is usually thought of as a pre-math skill, but but patterning is linked to sequencing, and speech production is all about sequencing thoughts and actions, muscle movements and breathing. In my experience, there is some carryover from one modality of skill acquisition to another; in other words, it’s ALL good!
I’m always interested in hearing feedback about your experiences with these topics and activities, so please drop me a line from time to time!