Because Pamela's syntax is very basic due to her aphasia, we keep her grammar lessons very simple. Whenever she makes a mistake in her studied dictation, I write a lesson on the spot to address the issue. Yesterday, Pamela confused there with they're in the poem A Pirate Story. She recently finished stories with they and their in speech therapy, so I tossed their into the hopper with there and they're. Since it can be confusing talking about they're (or is it there or their?), I color-coded the three homophones, and we referred to them as yellow, pink, and green for clarity. Pamela, like many autistic children, tend to be highly visual and cue into visual patterns. Here is her introduction to homophones that confuse even adults from time to time, especially in emails in which the fingers fly fast. This is only an introduction because, for Pamela to master new syntax, she has to practice it through all three channels (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) both randomly and sequentially.
One reason why the association method is so effective for Pamela is that they encourage color-coding new syntax. This week, I am emphasizing three unrelated things: the possessive its, combining not with is/are, and subject-verb agreement for is/are. I code each concept with its own unique color. She has already had experience with possessive pronouns, negation, and subject-verb agreement, so three at one time is not confusing. When I introduce a completely new syntax, such as present progressive verb tense, it will be on its own. This is Pamela's copywork for today, which I write first on a dry-erase board, color-coded and in cursive.