Toe by Toe & Autistic Children

Toe by Toe has proved itself very useful for autistic students over the years. Though we are not experts on autism by any means, we believe that being autistic – in itself – should not prevent children from learning to read and we believe that the essential sense of ‘progress’ children gain from TBT (when it’s done properly!)may help to draw the child out into the world. This has generally been our experience with the few autistic children we have worked with. Certainly, if an autistic child is at the ‘mild’ end of the autistic spectrum, the rigid, methodical approach used in TBT is often just what is required as it provides that sense of ‘routine’ which is so important for autistic children. #TBTchangeslives

Some testimonials regarding the use of Toe by Toe with autistic children:

“I am the parent of a now nearly 18 year old with Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. I was able to persuade his primary school to implement a ‘back to basics’ English programme as his reading ability was very poor and had not progressed at all over the previous year. They chose Toe by Toe and implemented structured daily one to one time to complete the course. This started at the beginning of Year 5.  At the end of Year 6 when the (above average ability) class took their SATS tests, my son, scored the HIGHEST mark in reading in the whole class!

Prior to implementation of this and other programmes for Writing and Maths, we had sat in a very difficult meeting demanding that our son (who already had a full time Statement of Educational Needs) receive the one to one specialist help that he needed and wanted. The Head of the Council’s SEN Department eventually agreed saying ‘As long as you don’t expect him to be as good as his peers’. Such a bad attitude and low expectations which I was delighted to prove him wrong about.  Our son has gone on to achieve 10 A* to C grade GCSEs including English Language, English Literature and Maths. He is currently preparing to take his A levels next year and will apply to University to study History. All of this was unthinkable 10 years ago and his future was an unknown quantity.  Thank you for your work, for which I have the highest praise and admiration”

Mrs H. Bell – proud parent, U.K. – Oct 2016 

“Greetings from Ireland.  My son is 15 years old, has autism complicated by intellectual disability and other difficulties.  He was ten years in school and never learned to read or write above a very minimal level -perhaps that of a 4-year old – though many 5yos read much better.  Cutbacks in special education support here have meant he could not function in school and so we have had to home school him.  We immediately began the Toe-by- toe book with him, which we have many times suggested to his teachers in the past. All I can say is that even within the very slow progress we have made over a mere two weeks it is already apparent that he has begun to comprehend what reading is about like never before.  He is attempting it outside of our 20 minute sessions in many situations.  We are afraid to believe that he might actually read one day, but we are excited by the possibility as never before.  I am writing however to thank you for another reason.

We stick loyally to the 20-minute rule.  Within that time frame we have found that we encounter deep-seated fears and psychological issues that he needs reassurance about.  So we might spend 15 of the 20 mins chatting to him about those, if need be. He often becomes frustrated whenever a dot goes in a box, for example.  So we spend whatever time it takes explaining how the dots are actually there to help him and how he must overcome that anger and fear in order to progress.  Gradually, he is losing his fear of failure, which makes him more receptive and able to learn.  We speak of you as a kind woman who has worked out exactly how to help people like him and that the dots are not a judgment but opportunities for learning – opportunities that are revealed for us so we can help him better – and so that he can learn better by himself by his own choice.  He clearly feels empowered by this it's having an amazing, positive effect on him in many other areas of his life as well. It is very, very early days and Arthur may never learn to read – we might find that he truly cannot.  But the process of doing toe by toe is proving valuable to us and to our son in ways that we had not at all anticipated and I thought that it would be nice to share this with you.  Very likely many other people have had similar experiences!”

M.C. Parent in Ireland – 2008

You may also be interested in the following link to an article in a newspaper in South India