Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Learning Colors Part 2

Being a teacher, it only makes sense that lots of my posts are about how Zoya learns. I love working with her and learning more about her learning style and watching the light bulb go off when she learns new things!  I posted about Zoya learning her colors HERE. One thing many people with Down Syndrome have difficulty with is generalizing skills. For Zoya, she learns one concept in one way or place and then also has to be taught how to use that concept in a different way and/or place. For example, using the Preschool Prep curriculum, Zoya first learned her colors by associating them with a color character (almost like she was learning a name for each color character). She could recognize the color characters but could not then recognize the color "red" anywhere outside of the "red character." So I made some flashcards you will see in the video below to help her bridge the skill from color characters to colors in general. I put the color character on one side of a flashcard and then a blank piece of that same colored paper on the backside of the same flashcard. I would show Zoya the plain color side and ask her what color and then flip the card over so she could see the color character. She eventually learned (after much repetition and practice) that the colors are actually more than just a character. So after that I made plain colored flashcards without the characters, which you will also see in the video (you can see her asking on the red card where the red character was! haha). So little step by little step she learned to name her colors without relying on the color characters. I can't say enough how great the color character idea helped her learn her colors though! Now she is able to name colors of objects in real life like hair bows (she picks out what color she wants every morning and loves it) and colors of clothes, crayons, toys, etc. She often labels the colors of things in her environment now without prompting...she just thinks its fun! My friend who is a montessori teacher says kids should drive the learning so when they get really interested in a subject, just let them fly with it and give them the support they need to learn more about that subject! That's what we've been doing...colors, colors, and MORE colors!

It was easier for Zoya to choose the correct color from a lineup, like you saw in the ipad video in my last colors post. It was a whole new skill set to be able to simply name the color of a card when presented with a colored flashcard but she did learn how to do that after lots of repetition and practice. The next skill with colors we are working on is sorting and matching, which also requires much practice and repetition...see any pattern here? Zoya learns very well, she just needs extra opportunities for practice and repeition. Repetition is the key for many kids with special learning needs, and is especially the key for Zoya learning/memorizing things like colors/numbers, etc.

In this video you can hear Zoya doing her best to say the colors and the ones she can't say, she signs. She started out signing all the colors without verbalizations and then soon after added the verbal words or approximation for each color (so those who say signing prevents kids from speaking I disagree and think it only helps!) Green and orange are really hard for her to say so she signs them; yellow sounds like lellow with verbalization only, blue like boo with sign as well, purple is pretty close with verbalization only, black sounds like lack (with sign as well), white sounds like wwhhhyyyyyy, and red sounds like rrreeehhh with verbalization and sign. Its strange that when she is able to say the word so others know what she is saying, she drops the sign all on her own! As I said in the last color post, pink and brown are not taught in the preschool prep curriculum which bugs me, but we are just learning those two now.

So here is little Miss Zoya showing off her colors that she has worked soooo hard to learn!


  1. Zoya is such a smart little cookie! And you, my friend, are just a fabulous momma!

    Love wins,
    Renee Tam

  2. This is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this. I just got an ipad. I cannot wait to use it as a learning tool for my daughter and soon to be adopted daughter; both with Ds.

    You mentioned in the other learning colors post that you are trying out other apps with Zoya. It would love for you to post a list of the apps that you have found to be successful with Zoya. I know, in your spare time!!! This was so neat to watch her...I am very impressed. Did you have any problems with Zoya wanting to carry it around....she seemed so disciplined in just leaving it on the ottoman. My daughter would most likely throw it at this point.

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Keep us posted.

    Stephanie Lynch

  3. Loved the video of Zoya learning her colors. You are so gentle with her! I love it! :) I love the way she says purple and yellow!

  4. Haha! I love how she's like 'I did awesome, now I think I deserve a cookie!'
    You're so super smart Zoya! Well done!

  5. WOW! I am a day care and preschool teacher for 2-5 year old and I can tell you I have some kids older than Zoya that don't know their colors that well. WOW!WOW!WOW!