“Control-o-meter” social skills tool for kids with autism, helps with voice volume, other behavior

volume regulation method for children with autism

In this blog I provide you the downloads to make simple devices to help children on the autism spectrum to increase awareness of voice volume. Additionally, there are downloads to create similar devices to help with levels of “silliness” and physical distance from others.

Children with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders often have difficulties producing the appropriate voice volume in different settings.  Some children on the autism spectrum speak too quietly.  Others speak too loudly.  Still others do not compensate adequately for the social milieu or ambient noise level.  Since I am not a speech language pathologist myself, I don’t know the reasons for this problem. I assume it has something to do with theory of mind deficits;  if their voice sounds like the right volume to their own ears while they are speaking, then they must assume that a listener can hear it the same way.

The “control-o-meter” device is easy to make.  I saw a colleague using one years ago with an Asperger’s boy who talked too loud.  I recently saw a speech language pathologist using a professionally manufactured one with another child in speech therapy.  I have created two other control-o-meters to help kids with physical distance problems and with problems determining the right level of formality for various occasions.

At the bottom of this post, you can check out what the meters look like when they are finished.

How to make the volume control-o-meter:

Go to the following link to download the resource:  CLICK HERE

How to use the control-o-meter:

1.  Use words like this with the child on the autism spectrum:  “People can make their voices louder and softer.  It’s an important social skill.  It’s like turning the volume up and down on a TV. The control-o-meter will be used now to help you with the volume control of your own voice.”

2.  Play with it.  “Try using the control-o-meter to make my own voice louder and softer.  As you move the arrow, notice how my voice gets too soft and too loud!”

3. “Now, let me try controlling your voice volume.  Watch the arrow, and make your voice louder or softer as I move the arrow around.”

4.  Try keeping the control-0-meter around during class and group activities now.  You can use it instead of verbal prompts.

The other two meters are used the same way.  Proceed through steps one through four and make up your own social skills learning activities.

These aren’t hard to make and they are handy social skills tools for kids on the autism spectrum.

Joel Shaul, LCSW

speech therapy tool for voice volume

The volume control-o-meter looks like this when finished.

social skills method for kids with ASD

The Control-o-meter for levels of formality looks like this when finished. I have made a nice “Silly to Serious” card game, another free download…click on this picture to be linked to it.

social skills device for physical proximity

The Control-o-meter for physical proximity looks like this when finished.

The photo below shows a clever customized variation, sent in by Cherene Neuman, Forest Lake Area Schools, Minnesota.

Self Control Meters

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