People often ask whether Mrs Wordsmith's products are effective teaching tools for students with autism spectrum disorders. This question lacks a 'one-size-fits-all' answer due to the fact that individuals with autism have a wide range of skills, including cognitive, verbal, and nonverbal. With this in mind, we recommend that parents and practitioners take into account the overall level of functioning for the child in question.
Importantly, in the verbal domain, many students with autism have higher receptive skills than expressive. That is, they understand much more than they are able to articulate. For these students, it may be useful to use Mrs Wordsmith's reference cards and illustrated workbooks to teach new vocabulary, and students can respond with gestures, pointing, or other modes of communication to establish whether or not they understand the new words.
Many students on the autism spectrum are particularly gifted in the visual realm and are able to recall visual details quickly and seemingly effortlessly. For these children, Mrs Wordsmith is an ideal product as the illustrations are engaging, detailed, and humorous.
A unique aspect of Mrs Wordsmith's illustrations lies in the emotions they convey. Individuals with autism often have difficulty understanding emotional cues, so pairing words that convey subtle emotions with an image that 'hits the nail on the head' can jump-start comprehension of new vocabulary. The product is designed at the level of a typically developing 7–14 year old. The range is purposefully wide because children's development depends on individual differences as well as exposure.