Autism & Genki English

I get a lot of emails from teachers using Genki English with Special Needs students. Here’s one I thought I’d share with you from Teresa:


Richard-sorry it has taken me a little while. Here is the way I use Genki English in my classroom. I am not trying to suggest to you how to market your program BUT if I were you…I would start exploring marketing this to the Autistic population- we NEED programs like this that are so repetitive, teach common responses to common phrases, increase vocabulary and mean length of utterance! Yet, you’ve made it so affordable. Our district’s budget was cut (by millions) so we had no money for Language programs- yet, this was so affordable that I was able to purchase the entire program out of my own pocket.

In the classroom

I use your Genki English program in my classroom with my K-5th grade students with Autism. We start every morning by “Getting Genki!!” The kids actually come in the door asking for it! “Who’s ready to get Genki?!?,” they’ll say.

I’ve used various programs over the years and I have to say that Genki English is nothing short of amazing! It has increased my students mean length of utterance, ability to respond to standard phrases and INITIATION of phrases (ex. “hello, how are you?“)

I think the reason my students have met with such success with Genki English is that it is very
a) Repetitive
b.) Motivating
c.) Provides for extension through the games and lesson plans
d.) Is so simple in format (no complex terminology to learn-just put in the CD and learning begins immediately)
e.) Introduces the vocabulary FIRST through the mini-lesson
f.) Because it is so simple in format – it has been typically easy to generalize these phrases in other environments and with other people
g.) Provides visually cued instruction through the CD, of course, BUT also with the A4 cards
h.) The fact that it teaches common responses to common phrases and teaches how to initiate common phrases in such a simple way makes it very easy for generalization to occur.

I want you to know that some of my students get private language therapy, as well as what is provided at school. I had two parents within the past three weeks come in and say that their child’s PRIVATE THERAPIST was inquiring about what we were doing at school for language because their child’s language had increased so much since August (the start of the school year.)

One of those kiddos (whom we had had for a year) had not yet begun to INITIATE conversation- he is doing that now. He actually asks his friends “What’s your favorite sport-etc.”

This is just simply a good,good thing you’ve done here Richard.

The thing that is so very appealing as a teacher is that Genki English is so easy to use. You’ve provided such good direction with your lesson plans and video guides.

I typically introduce the vocabulary for the new song,
Do the mini-lesson then the song (several times-because my students continue to ask for it-once is NEVER enough!)
We then play one of the CD games.
Afterwards we do an extension activity-that I typically make up (relevant to their specific language needs but based on Genki English.)

For example, with “Where is Mr.Monkey” the children all sit in a circle around me and I “hide” Mr. Onk Monk ( an orange fluffy stuffed monkey-who by the way, is Mr. Monkey’s cousin!) “in” the box, “beside” the box, “near” the box -etc. For further extension we do one of the handouts. All of this is about a 40 minute Language activity and I use it as part of my 90 minute Literacy block – which is required by my district.

Thanks again Richard!



Thank you Teresa, I’m always so heartened to receive emails like this. It’s amazing for me to think that something that was made for one purpose is helping people in other circumstances. I hope it gives a few more teachers the chance to try Genki English in their classes.

Does anyone else have any experience or advice on using Genki English in Autism or Special Needs classes?

Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

6 Responses to “Autism & Genki English”

  1. Val

    WOW Richard! THis is so heartful! *hugging Richard*
    you are doing HUGE things!
    And about your question: “Does anyone else have any experience or advice on using Genki English in Autism or Special Needs classes?”
    I did!
    Well I guess you are not surprised…
    I did with quite old people… at the geriatric.
    Because little kids and people at the other point of the circle of life share a LOT of similar things.
    And it was amazing!
    Genki classes… well they were more like an event was BEAUTIFUL!
    THey worked hard to make the gestures!
    THey were shy to yell or move… but at the end it was all a Genki party!!
    It works perfect as a therapy!!!
    Cheerful and Genkienglish do miracles in their selfsteem considering they can reach the little goals!! nobody feel frustrated!!

  2. KobeKid

    If Teresa is following the blog I’d like to ask if there are any children with Aspergers syndrome in your classes? Also what country are you teaching in?

  3. Flossy

    What great results using GE. I too wonder in which country this is? Are you using any particular signs e.g. Makaton?? or have you made up your own actions with the children in class?

  4. Carol

    What a testimony and inspiring story!! Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Margit

    Hi KobeKid,

    I’m not Teresa, but I’m having a kid with Aspergers syndrome in my class. I’m teaching in Japan.
    And I can say : Yes, GE is doing a good deal to him.

    He is 4th grade now, and actually hardly anybody knows about this, as they found out about just one year ago.
    I noticed that he was a bit “different”, but then again, every kid is different. Still, I talked to the mother, who is a good friend, about him not being able to concentrate in many times, and a few other things. On the other hand he has a super memory, knows the most of the globe and capital cities, car names you’ve never heard of…(well kind of typical as I know now)

    Anyway, what I noticed using GE: It does give him a lot of confidence. When I set homework, in a book, he often doesn’t do it, and feels bad about that, so that he can’t concentrate during the lesson. But if I set GE to play every day, he opens the Notebook already before going to school and has a great time in his next English lesson.
    In those lessons he can speak and make sentences, answer to questions. But if I start of a lesson with something else than GE he immediately gets out of concept and can’t answer the easiest things.

    So, this is also one reason, why I started to give the whole class only GE homework, for about two month. For all of them the result is good. Meanwhile I need to have them write things as well, but I told that boy to take it easy, I think for him it’s better just to focus on GE.

    I think the main key is “confidence”. You feel immediately if something in school went wrong, or took his confidence. So, YES I do think GE is great for many areas.
    Though I personally don’t like the word “therapy”, so I wouldn’t commerce it this way, there should be other good expressions. Also if you call it “therapy” in several areas, it can happen easily that Richard, you are going to be the “Guru”, and though I adore you and your work, I wouldn’t want you to be one(well, not in the western understanding of the word)

  6. richard

    I think Teresa is in the States. I’ll email her and find out!

    @Margit: There’s no danger of me becoming a guru here, I’m quite happy talking about language learning, phonics or success education, but Special Needs is one area I have zero knowledge or authority to talk about so am quite happy to leave it to the professionals!

Comments are closed