Who are your programs designed for?
Our educational handwriting curriculum are designed for children ages 2 – 8 years old. Whether your child is “typically developing” or has special needs, our block style penmanship program will make learning to write easy and fun!
Our Strokes, Shapes & Scenes Videos is the perfect “pre-writing” tool to help the youngest child learn how to motor plan basic strokes and shapes. This video also helps encourage creativity for those that need help with abstract thinking and drawing basic pictures.
Each Alphabets Beats video is designed for children ages 2½ – 8. Alphabet Beats will help young children quickly learn letter recognition and assist in motor planning the formation of each letter of the alphabet. Surprisingly, most children begin writing their first day of kindergarten. Most parents expect that their child will begin learning how to write in the classroom. However, most teachers expect that their students have already started practicing through teaching handwriting at home.
Often it can be a struggle just to motivate children to pick up a pencil. It can be even more difficult if a child has dysgraphia, Autism, Down syndrome and other special needs. Our online curriculum has helped tens of thousands of children build valuable skills quickly and confidently. These videos are uniquely designed to help children learn using a fun and entertaining format that they will request to watch over and over again!
Whether you are homeschooling your child in penmanship, preparing your child before they enter kindergarten, or if your child is struggling with writing because he simply can’t “motor plan”, has dysgraphia or special needs, or is just not interested, we can help! You can use our handwriting program as a stand alone writing curriculum, or supplement it with others you are using at home or they are learning in school.
“I love Alphabet Beats because both of my kids can practice writing together – it benefits both my Kindergartner and my special needs preschooler. They find it fun to watch and enjoy writing the alphabet letters now! Thanks so much for making writing fun!”
Alicia Burr, Mother
Palm Harbor, Florida
Why do your programs work so well?
Our online handwriting curriculum is fun for children and it is very easy to use! Our multi-sensory approach to teaching uses three main principles:
Visuals: Most children are visual learners and tend to retain more when taught visually.
Auditory/Rhythm: Children like rhymes and rhythm-it’s a great way to learn. Most children learn their ABC’s for the first time by singing the ABC song! We always incorporate catchy songs and chants in our videos that children will remember and which will help guide them through motor planning the desired action later.
Repetition: Children enjoy and learn through repetition! How many times have you read the same book to them at bedtime?
“…The TV Teacher is the first program that has had any of my boys asking to do penmanship lessons. …I think this program is worth every penny, and I highly recommend it.”
Homeschooling mother of 5 boys;
Reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC
Learn these best practices of teaching handwriting at home:
Each video is an instructional tool that can be used on a computer, tablet, or phone using the online/streaming version; or on a DVD player using our disc option. These videos should be watched in chapter segments — about five minutes at a time. The following instructions can be found by watching the Program Instructions chapter in the online curriculum program itself, or on the paper insert of your DVD case.
The first time watching a new chapter, let the child watch the chapter all the way through without writing so they will watch the demonstrated formation several times and enjoy the engaging vocabulary words and silly stunts throughout. Watch together so that you too will be familiar with the chant and vocabulary shown in the video.
Say the chant aloud and practice “sky writing” in the air a few times.
Depending on your child’s ability, try to write or trace the formation. A gentle “hand-over-hand” approach can be quite helpful for those with low tone…or low confidence. Encourage more independence as their confidence builds.
Begin new letter chapters when the child feels comfortable. Go at their pace. Review previously learned letters as needed. If your child is “stuck” only wanting to watch the same letter over and over again, use it as a “reward” that they can watch after they see a new chapter. They’ll quickly realize that all of our chapters are awesome!
Do not watch more than 3-4 new letters per day as this could become confusing or overstimulating for many children. We pack a lot of information in our 5 minute chapters!
How are your programs formatted?
Our online video curriculum uses menus that make it easy to select individual chapters, one at a time.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Information for children with Autism, Asperger’s, Down syndrome, ADHD, and other special needs:
Although our video programs are beneficial to many children, they have proven extremely effective for those living with Autism, PDD, ADD/ADHD, Down Syndrome and various other special needs. Our programs are visual, auditory, and repetitive. This visual/multi-sensory approach has proven to connect very effectively with these children!
This video based curriculum is produced and directed by a mother of two children living with Autism. As you will see from our demonstrations, the video style is specific and simplistic. While programs are very engaging, it is also low stimulating. Special care and planning has been taken to eliminate distracting images that would divert a child from focusing on the specific topic.
Our Alphabet Beats videos focus on behavior modeling and showcase skits that are intended to be imitated or repeated. In our visit to the Doctor (UPPERCASE D) and the Dentist (lowercase d), for instance, Miss Marnie portrays very positive experiences. Through direct observation, many children will often imitate the skits after watching them. By watching Alphabet Beats’ videos, they become more comfortable with these situations. We perform other sensory situations like putting on a band-aid, brushing teeth & hair, finger painting, using play-dough, and many others. We encourage you to use the power of our visual modeling in these vocabulary skits to help desensitize your child to these experiences.
Resources for the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum (PDD-NOS, Autism, ADD/ADHD) Down syndrome and other special needs:
The TV Teacher™, LLC, does not endorse the following information. It should be used for informational use only. It is not meant to diagnose symptoms, treatments or offer medical advice of any kind. Every child and situation is different, and what works for one, may not work for another.
The following information is written by Susan Ellis, co-founder of The TV Teacher™, and parent of one child with Autism and one child with Asperger’s. Susan is often asked by other parents of children with special needs, what they can do for their children, and what she has done for her own sons that have helped them thrive so quickly. This information is provided strictly as her own personal account of success. It is intended to offer some resources and options to others that might help them along their journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
Gluten free / Casein Free (GFCF) Diet
As odd as it may sound, your child’s diet may be a big factor in his behavior. Problems such as tantrums, not sleeping, lack of awareness, irritability, gastrointestinal issues, and many others, might be caused by what your child is eating. Many parents have seen huge benefits by putting their child on a Gluten-Free/Casein-Free (GFCF) deit. Simplified, a GFCF diet eliminates ingredients such as wheat flour, milk and other dairy products. There seems to be a correlation with children on the Autism spectrum (Autism, PDD-NOS, ADD/ ADHD) and those that simply can’t process these proteins, or are actually allergic to them.
Susan's Story: Susan Ellis found her son Ryan, (finally diagnosed with Autism/PDD-NOS at age 3 ½), thrive after eliminating these items from his diet. At almost four years old, Ryan had violent tantrums, would not listen to any direction, and did not understand what common objects were called or that people had names. He simply didn’t care to know about such things. After only two weeks of eliminating milk and gluten, he began putting words together to make sentences! He began noticing things around him. He began pointing to artwork that he had created in school that had been hanging on his wall for over a year. He called out what they were almost like he had never seen it before and his mother had just put it up the night before. What seemed like a drug “haze” that had engulfed Ryan for years began to dissipate, and Susan began to see glimpses of her beautiful and happy boy emerge. Susan says that baking and freezing has become just one of those routine things that her family does. Although she and her husband are not on the diet, they know that it is critical for both of their sons to remain GFCF. They bake double batches of GFCF muffins, waffles, pancakes, cupcakes, zucchini bread, etc, and freeze them. They simply defrost them overnight for the next day. When Susan first started the diet for her sons back in 2004, there were very few gluten free and dairy options. Now you can find many options in the stores; and chefs in restaurants, hospitals, cruise ships, etc. are making substitutes readily available. Don't feel overwhelmed to try this change--every day can make a huge difference. If you can see even 1/4 of the effect Susan has seen, it is well worth the effort!
Another big piece of the puzzle for a child suffering with Autism, may be found through additional bio-medical intervention. Typical pediatricians may not understand nor look into underlying causes of your child’s symptoms. Your child may be suffering from candida (yeast) overgrowth, extreme vitamin deficiency, metal toxicity, and many others. Even though your child may be eating a “healthy diet”, doesn’t eat lead paint chips, etc; the problem may lie in how your child’s body is processing, or not processing, typical food or environmental factors around him. He may need massive dosages of B12 or other vitamins just to ensure that his body will actually absorb the “recommended daily amount”. Your child may not be able to eliminate metal toxins that typical children may come in contact with everyday, and which may build up over time and cause neurological issues. Sometimes a simple supplement like DMG, may eliminate an obsessive compulsive behavior! https://kirkmangroup.com. Ask other parents in an Autism support group if they know of any well respected biomedical doctors in your area. The initial tests can be expensive, but can also prove amazingly beneficial.
Susan's Story: Although the GFCF diet was a huge piece that helped Ryan get back into our world, one of his biggest issues is candida overgrowth (aka yeast). When Ryan’s yeast levels are high, he has difficulty with basic comprehension—even regarding the simplest of tasks, he can be very emotional, have explosive tantrums, and have trouble sleeping through the night. Natural yeast occurs in every body but remains in a delicate balance with good bacteria that keeps it proportional. When antibiotics are used that kill off the good bacteria, the yeast can overpopulate. Similar to when women get yeast infections after they take antibiotics, high yeast in Ryan escapes his gastrointestinal track and causes neurological problems. When we notice these symptoms start to rise, we take an anti-yeast medication prescribed by his bio-medical doctor, and he becomes his sweet self again within a week. He is a completely different child when his yeast levels are high! To keep his yeast in-check, we also give him pro-biotics (acidophilus) everyday, and keep his sugar and fruit to a minimum each day. Yeast feeds on sugar. Even too much fruit can raise natural sugar levels in his body, and quite frankly, it just isn’t worth it. He suffers too much when he can’t comprehend things and is frustrated. We have found several vitamin deficiencies, and food allergies that cause behavior issues with both boys. Before our boys could swallow pills, we would mix these vitamin supplements in strawberry applesauce or put them inside thin layers of raspberry sorbet on a spoon. Ryan was one of many children with Autism that did not make eye contact; however, it immediately improved when we introduced oral B12 drops daily. Vitamins and supplements can provide an amazing effect! Ryan used to be very obsessive-compulsive about lining things up and putting things in the color spectrum of the rainbow. He wouldn't functionally play with toys, but line them up. We began giving Ryan DMG twice a day and it went away within a week! One summer I kept forgetting to give him his afternoon dosage for about a month, and sure enough, his obsessive behavior returned. Sometimes, accidents like this can make you more aware that biomedical intervention really can make a difference! Even at 20 years old, Ryan still takes DMG twice a day. DMG also helps with methylation. When Cameron was young, he had OCD about opening and closing doors and the DMG helped him with that. When Cameron became a teenager, Susan decided to eliminate the DMG to see if he still needed it...and he started having a tic of constantly clearing his throat in a very weird way. Once adding DMG back, his tic went away!
Therapy Therapy and early intervention will be a key component in helping your child succeed. Applied Behavior Therapy (ABA), Floortime, and others can be researched on the web.
Susan's Story: After two months of Ryan on the GFCF diet and other biomedical interventions, Ryan began ABA therapy. It was truly amazing! Now that Ryan was out of his “haze”, he was able to learn. And he learned that he loved…. to learn! He worked very hard and had fun each day. The success for us was using positive motivators that HE enjoyed. Introducing $1 toys that had multiple pieces all different colors would work like a charm—Ryan liked to put things in the rainbow color spectrum. If he worked and was rewarded with a pink rubber worm, he would work hard to get the red one, the yellow, etc. Try to find therapists that match your child’s personality, and a reward system that makes it fun and rewarding for your child. I can’t even imagine where Ryan would be without ABA therapy. Through this intensive, but positive, therapy, he has shown all of us how smart he really is!! Ryan has received speech therapy and occupational therapy since he was two years old. We also tried Hippo (horse) therapy for a year. I truly believe having success in any therapy is dependent upon having a good therapist! If your parental “gut” is telling you that your child is not enjoying therapy or benefiting as well as you would expect, try changing therapists. A good therapist should make steady progress with your child -- finding ways to make therapy fun and rewarding, and base their approach on each child’s personality and ability. Another therapy that helped Ryan is Intensive Music Listening Therapy. This therapy is performed with special music using headphones. It helped Ryan with his sound sensitivity and improved his attention and focus. This therapy must be initiated and monitored through a qualified therapist. For more on this therapy go to: Vital Links - Developers of Therapeutic Listening
Visuals: Social Stories
Simply put, if your child learns better visually, use more visual methods to communicate and teach. It is amazing the power that pictures can have on children on the Autism spectrum! Creating a simple, social storybook can help your child finally understand something that both of you may be struggling with each day. Or it could help your child understand some new change that will be happening soon: a trip, a new school, going to a baseball game, etc. If you find that you are telling them something over and over, but it is just not “getting through”—try making a simple picture story about it.
When creating your story, remember to make it simple. Use lots of pictures, short sentences, positive terminology, and include your child’s name in the story. Make it happy, and make sure the outcome that you want to have is demonstrated in a positive manner. The internet is full of images that you can use. Or try this website for many free pictures and ideas that focus on social and self-help issues: Do2learn: Educational Resources for Special Needs
Make “if/then” cards when you need them (ex. If you scream, then time out).
Make your own picture schedule for the day to help relieve anxiety.
Photograph food choices to help them make a choice and feel more in control.
Today, there are numerous ideas and resources on the web if you search for picture cards, social stories, visual supports, etc.
Visuals: Other Videos
Alphabet Beats are wonderful videos for children living with Autism who are learning to write. But other videos are also available that can also help special needs child learn other skills.
www.babybumblebee.com : For basic vocabulary, these videos are great for early learners. They might also help with verbalization since they do a great job of repetition and generalization of visuals.
www.modelmekids.com: They have several videos which teach social skills. Their videos are a little more advanced and may be a bit more appropriate for higher-functioning Autism, Asperger’s, or older children on the autism spectrum. The videos are well done and have children modeling correct behavior and also incorporate the use of generalization in their concepts.
https://www.signingtime.com: They have a terrific series of videos to teach simple sign language to kids. This can be a crucial help in communication between parent and child who has a language delay or is non-verbal.
Products & Games:
There are many great toys and therapy products that you can use with your child. Numerous products, games, and therapy equipment can be found in special needs catalogs such as: Fun & Function | Sensory Toys & Products for Kids (funandfunction.com) , Special Education Materials | School Specialty, and Southpaw Enterprises