The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Learning Tools: Felt Board, Flashcards & iPads

When you have a, infant, toddler, preschooler...there are a ton of products on the market that guarantee your child's success for learning and reading, etc.  The world of special needs is no different.  Everyone has a claim as to what works the best.  Everyone has an opinion.  Honestly, I don't believe anyone has a true "winner" because as with typical children, children with Ds are all different personalities.  Ian and Brayden do not learn the same.  What worked easily for Brayden doesn't help Ian at all.  We never would have tried techniques that work with Ian on Brayden because I know some wouldn't have helped him at all. 

That being said, we do some new technology with Hailey and some older school.  I belong to a fabulous group of moms with children in our area that had children born with Ds in 2011.  They had a great get together (I saw they because I missed it) where they made felt boards with different scenes.  These women are so fabulous that one of them made Hailey her board and cut out all the pieces for her.  There are 4 sets with the board:   



Ice Cream


The amount of activities that can be used with these are endless.  You can incorporate gross motor, fine motor, communication, etc.  Work on standing by elevating the board.  Work on colors, counting, labeling, shapes.  Have your child point, take items off, put items on.  Some days Hailey is more receptive than others.  Then there are days that her brothers are more active which can "push" Hailey to the side just a little :-) I'm planning on using this felt board for a long time and am considering making other scenes.  

Some days she finds it more fun to remove everything and crush it :-)

 We love felt here.  Hailey even had a felt Christmas tree this past year.

On the other end of the spectrum, we use an iPad frequently with Hailey.  Different days have different results and not everything works the same each time.  My friend, Meriah, has a fabulous list of apps on this post

One program we use on the computer and iPad, has surprised me the last few days.  The program is BrillKids.  It is a reading program using flashcards.  A lot of people start much sooner than we have with Hailey.  I tried using it a few months ago, but I don't know if the time of year was too hectic or she just wasn't ready for it.  We failed miserably!  I decided this week that I wanted to start back up with it.  I was skeptical because of how horrible our success was last time!  No, Hailey isn't reading, but I'm amazed at how receptive she is of it now!  I think their app on the iPad is's been awhile since I downloaded it.  Each day there are two lessons.  Don't worry, time is minimal.  Each lesson only lasts a few minutes.  The lessons are broke down into 3 sets.  The first set is just a word flash.  Each word is flashed on the screen.  The second set is a multi-sensory set.   The word is flashed, a picture is shown and then there is a video clip of the word.  The third set is a picture flash.  Hailey sits, listens and watches it all!  She signs every word she knows or points to the item (some of our words have been parts of the body).  If it is an action word, she has been actively demonstrating (unprompted by me) them.  The first day she didn't, but the 2nd and 3rd she did.  The word was wave.  In the second slide, the narrator says, "Can you wave?" and Hailey waved at the computer.  When the word was kick, she kicked her leg.  When the word was point, she pointed. 

This might seem like nothing to some people, but this seems like a great program for Hailey!  After a few days, a couple of the words drop off and a couple new ones are added.  Children with Ds are visual learners.  We aren't far into this program, but I am very impressed with how well Hailey has responded so far.  I'm excited to expand her signing, her vocabulary, and her comprehension. 


  1. BrillKids gave us the full version of Little Reader last year for free since Cora has a disability. It is worth it. We did it a lot last year then took a break. Now we're back at it. But she surprised me with a handful of sight words at just 18 months or so. She doesn't show me things like that any more (stubborn maybe?) but I know she is taking it in. She kicks and waves, points and signs her way through it, and makes the sounds. She loves it. She even made up her own sign for BrillKids and does it laughing when I tell her our plan.

    I am totally going to have to make her some felt boards. They look like so much fun.

  2. We got semester 1 on a scholarship last year. Hailey was just not responsive to it. she has done sooooo much better this time around. I love watching her point to her body parts, make animal noises and signs. I'm hoping she continues doing so well with it. I think I just need to make sure I stay committed to it! I'm hoping to have good updates for BrillKids to get the 2nd semester free, too! The felt boards are so versatile!

  3. I actually haven't heard of Brillkids I will have to look it up! The felt board is an excellent idea also!

  4. Love the feltboard idea! I need to look into Brillkids. I see people mention it but then I forget to actually look into it. I feel like we have so much going on that I cannot possibly cram one more thing in!

  5. Great ideas Michelle! I need to check out Brillkids.

  6. Flashcards for Teaching English MyKidsFlashcards offers educational language teaching flash cards as resources for kids, children, parents and ESL teachers of preschool, kindergarten, primary and secondary education. We offer more than 60+ card sets for language learning of English, Spanish, German, French, Pinyin or Chinese. Our flashcards provide high quality images with easy and clear illustrations. The pictures are easy to understand for all ages. Teachers can use the card sets for kindergarten level up through to high school students.