We want videos from you! We are about to launch the first installment of our new video blog feature. This will become an archive of video samples of people learning and using the communication methods discussed on this website and elsewhere, and it will be the most valuable asset of this community. It is our hope that this will be a rapid way to get many people to learn and to help their kids and loved ones to communicate better.

People want help learning to use pointing and joint attention techniques to begin communicating or improve communication with their loved ones. These new video blogs will be a great way to teach and to learn. The basic premise of the pointing method is simple enough that everyone can get started right away, but there are many details that will help you achieve success and maximize your results. We have found that by watching videos, we are better able to self-assess, as well as give help to and receive help from others. Our goal is to create an archive of videos submitted by members (including Portia and others who are already using these communication techniques) that can help everyone out there get started.

There will be five video blogs, (and maybe even more later!).

The first to be launched will be the BASELINE video blog. This is the video blog where you should post baseline videos: samples of how your child communicates right now. This footage will show the change in your child as he starts to communicate and it will inspire and encourage others to have hope for their children.

The second video blog will be for posting video clips of kids 'Starting Out' - -this video blog will be dedicated to footage of kids getting started pointing - successful attempts and rough times too - you will be able to get and give help by watching these video clips.

The third video blog will be for "Ongoing Pointing & Communication" and we will use this one to show each other how our kids are doing at intermediate and more advanced stages.

The fourth video blog will be dedicated to anyone who wishes to create a "How-To" video to help others learn.

Eventually, we will be adding a fifth video blog where we will invite interviews with children and people who are successfully pointing and communicating to get their point of view and suggestions.

All video blogs will have a comments feature to enable questions and discussion. Eventually we will have the ability to search on "all videos" for a given member - for example if you see a child who looks much like your own and who has been successful in learning to point, you could look at all their videos from "Baseline" (before) through "Starting Out" and all the way through to more advanced levels and you could also contact that member for advice. You can probably imagine how valuable this will be for all of us. This is why it is so very important for everyone to participate and submit footage at all stages!

Over time, through these video blogs we will accumulate a library of clips of people in all stages of using communication methods: Baseline (before), Starting Out (beginning stage) and Ongoing Pointing & Communication (intermediate and advanced).

The first step is for YOU to shoot your "Baseline" video - right now!

1) What is "Baseline" and why do we need to document it?

The Baseline video shows the "before": your starting point. It is the benchmark against which future progress can be charted. Your baseline will help you figure out where to start with the pointing method (if you haven't already), depending on what your child/student's individual characteristics.

Note: if your child has already started to communicate by pointing, typing, signing, talking, etc. please submit earlier video footage to show his or her previous "Baseline" condition (before they learned to point). This will help others to see what is possible! Thank you!

2) WHY is it important to submit a BASELINE video?

To get valuable feedback and advice from the community including other parents, educators and therapists. and to help others learn in the future. Baseline videos will demonstrate to others that their child can do it too!

In our experience, reviewing tapes of yourself working with your child/student is one of the best ways for you to improve. Also, down the road these tapes may come in handy. For example, if you have success and want to get these methods incorporated in your child's IEP, before and after tapes can be helpful.

3) WHEN should I make my "Baseline" video?

NOW is the time for you to get your hands on a camera and film your baseline video!

4) HOW do I submit a video?

Stephan is hard at work setting up the video upload system right now, and we will be ready for you to upload your videos in the next week. We will make an announcement and give you details on how to submit your videos then. There will also be options for mailing your tape in.

1) Get your hands on video camera.

If you have a choice, DV (or digital video) is best. This will make your life easier than if you use VHS or Hi8, trust me. And be sure you have a tripod! The tripod is essential for shooting useful footage. (and they're not very expensive.)

2) What to shoot:

Baseline is recorded to show natural examples how your child communicates right now. One or more examples of what your child does when he wants something.

A) Examples of any communication system your child is using right now. (if any) How does he/she let you know he is hungry or wants something, etc?

Examples: taking your hand and putting it on something, gesturing, sign language, PECs, typing, pointing, handwriting, non-word vocalizations, speech, etc.

B) Examples of apparent academic and cognitive ability. One or more examples of what your child can show he/she knows right now (if any).

Examples: counting, math, etc., alphabet, spelling, reading, etc., answering multiple choice questions and any other areas of knowledge.

***Note: Don't try anything new for the Baseline footage, only tape things that your child would normally do.

3) How to shoot:

We are not looking for anything fancy here. Shooting is simple, and as long as you follow a few simple rules you should have no problems getting good, clear footage. Always use a tripod to get steady useable footage. Get a "wide shot" - wide enough to see everything that's going on but close enough to see what the child is doing. You can also shoot some close ups but it is generally more important to see everything than a close up. Coming soon: Shooting tips.

4) How long should these clips be?

We will ask that you upload clips that are no longer than 10 minutes in length (you can submit more than one of these). You will likely shoot more than this and you may want to have more footage than what you will send us for your own benefit. Still, keep in mind when shooting that we are asking for clips that are not too long. You may either shoot short segments which you can upload to your computer straight from the video camera and then upload to the community website, or you can edit the best parts together and submit a compilation. Coming soon: Editing tips. If you are unable to create short segments (10 minutes or less) or for other reasons cannot directly submit to the website you can mail your tapes to us. Click here for mailing instructions.

5) What do I do with my video footage?


Once you have shot your baseline videos you will need to get the video from the camera onto your computer. You can "capture" the video footage on your computer using free software that is probably already on your computer. It isn't hard, it is much like uploading pictures from your digital camera. If you're game, you can even edit the best clips together. There is editing software which comes standard on many computers (for example, iMovie on Macs and Windows Movie Maker on PCs) and there is free or cheap editing software available online and even sites where you can edit your footage online for free. Coming soon: Editing tips. If you are unable to upload or edit your footage down you can mail your tapes to us and we will do it for you. Click here for mailing instructions.


Our Webmaster Stephan has been hard at work over the summer creating a direct upload feature for our community website - just like the one on Youtube! Now you will be able to directly submit your videos to the community site!

Once you have captured your video footage to your computer, as described above, you will be able to save it as a file which can be uploaded to the Strange Son community site. There is a file size limit, so check to make sure your clip isn't too large. The file size info will be posted on the "Pointing Video Blogs" page. If all else fails, you can mail us a copy of your tape. Click here for mailing instructions.

Your videos will become part of the archive for educational resources for you and the community. Also, we may use selected clips from the videos submitted to create free educational materials to share with the community

Next you will be asked to read Portia's "Getting Started Pointing" document and watch some instructional tapes and interviews, which we will post on the site. Try the techniques and videotape as you do so. If you have successes, share them. If not, share that as well and get feedback on what to try next. Portia and Meesh will annotate helpful comments into an archive and we will comment on videos individually as well.

We are SO excited to be getting this next stage of the community going!!!!


If you have questions: email us at contact@strangeson.com

The Descartes Community is an online social networking site for sharing information about helping non-verbal and "low-communicating" individuals with autism to communicate better.

Create a profile of yourself and your child, Share videos on the 'Video Pointing Forum', Exchange information on the 'Community Forum', Learn more from the 'Media & Resources Library', Get started with the 'Informative Pointing Method' manual (download-able)

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