Animated Language Learning (ALL) is a visually based language specially developed for children with moderate to severe language learning difficulties. Created by Enda Dodd in 2007, following numerous failed interventions with his twin sons, Conor and Eoin, who were diagnosed with Autism and severe hearing impairments by the age of four, ALL has since helped many children with Autism and has just become available via the Irish Autism Action mobile phone recycling scheme.
Using a state-of-the-art visual program, ALL has “reversed the process of language learning” by incorporating sensory integration and working with auditory processing. The program starts with familiar visual imagery from Disney and Pixar movies, and then this visual imagery is connected to text, thereby bringing that child towards the skills of reading and writing.
Jennefer Cullinan’s son Rory is making excellent progress on the ALL program. Rory, age six, was diagnosed with Autism at 23 months-old. After starting the program in June 2013, four months into it, Rory showed significant progress in his communication abilities. “He started to name emotions in himself,” explains Jennefer. “The first one was ‘happy’. ‘I happy again’ one day after a meltdown has passed over and he had time to relax…It has cut down on his frustration hugely to be able to verbalise these emotions to us.
“We have put a lot of effort into it, practicing what he sees and learns and helping him to generalise the concepts but it has been worth every minute of effort,” says Jennefer. “Although it takes commitment from all of us, it is hugely engaging and fun for Rory.”
Rory is now two years ahead with his reading and has begun to join in conversations. “He comments in social situations where he wouldn’t have had the language ability before,” explains Jennefer. “We’re over the moon — this hugely increases Rory’s chance of mainstreaming. He’s a very bright boy and now he’s getting the chance to show it.”