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Episode #006: Autism Early Intervention Foundation Skills for Toddlers with Cari Ebert
Pediatric speech-pathologist Cari Ebert’s passion is the birth to three stages where she focuses on laying the foundation for children to begin to speak. And even though my focus is on middle schoolers with autism, we have a similar approach to teaching children. I loved hearing how Cari lays down a solid foundation of nonverbal skills before she moves on to teaching speech.
A big focus of Cari’s therapy work is setting a child up for success by teaching them how to “learn to learn”. Speech therapy isn’t about making the child less autistic; it’s helping the child learn how to engage with the important people in their life. With that in mind, Cari shares how she uses these 5 foundational skills to prepare a child to learn.
Cari’s 5 Autism Early Intervention Foundational Skills
- Non-verbal imitation
- Joint attention
- Purposeful play
- Early language development
Cari is passionate about helping children with autism communicate in any way possible. Listen carefully to how she uses PIE, or participation, independence, and engagement, to move children forward with her goal to help them find a way to communicate with the people they care about.
- How to get a child in a ready space to learn requires strategies to bring them up to or down to the right level.
- AAC should not be a last resort because every child needs and deserves a way to communicate.
- The language Cari uses when she discusses a child’s behavior is something she carefully considers so that it doesn’t affix a negative label on the child.
- Every moment doesn’t have to be a speaking moment with the child, especially when you’re in the beginning stages of building rapport.
Cari Ebert, MS, CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech-language pathologist in private practice in the Kansas City, Missouri area. She is a therapist, consultant, author, product developer, and nationally recognized speaker who gets paid to do what she loves most—TALK! Cari specializes in autism, apraxia, and early intervention. Having an autistic son allows Cari to engage audiences both as a professional and as a parent of a neurodiverse child.
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