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Literacy Program Launched for Children with Special Needs


VERONA, WI -- With a dramatic rise in developmental disorders such as autism and other related conditions, many parents and educators face constant challenges finding age-appropriate educational tools and curriculum for these children. As a result, a publisher of special education products has launched a language-rich, research-based literacy program for children with moderate to severe developmental disabilities.

The Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB) is the result of a collaborative effort between Attainment Company and researchers at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. It is the first and only literacy program that addresses the needs of children who are verbal and nonverbal, particularly those with autism spectrum disorders. The program is designed for children ages 5 to 10 and consists of multiple tools for educators, including CDs, DVDs, books, flashcards and even Moe, the frog puppet.

“The ELSB is unique because it provides the same kind of literacy activities that neurotypical children participate in,” said Don Bastian, who founded Attainment Company in 1979 and currently serves as the company’s CEO.

“It also allows children to learn at their own pace,” he added.

The program’s primary investigator and co-author is Dr. Diane Browder, researcher and professor at UNC Charlotte. Browder’s exhaustive research and analysis of over 120 studies contributed to the final ELSB product, which is both research- and evidence-based.

“We knew we had to create curriculum that would be easily adaptive to non-verbal learners,” said Browder.

“We also knew they were going to need more systematic instruction and more systematic prompting with feedback, which is what the ELSB provides,” she added.

As of October, 2007, the product is available for shipment and Bastian has urged parents, educators, school principals and special needs organizations to consider implementing the program for their children.

“For everything it provides, this is a very reasonably priced product and a great long-term investment, particularly for schools,” said Bastian.

He added, “This is a proven program and these children will significantly benefit from it--and that’s what really matters.”

In addition to the new ELSB program, Attainment Company also produces IEP resources, award winning videos, life skill curriculum and special education resources for K-12.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-327-4269.

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