The ELF Program™

Under the instruction of an adult Elf, a child Elf learns to match a stuffed bunny with a flash card with the word 'Bunny' on it
Here at Talk and Total, we often work with children with Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, and other syndrome disorders. To help the development of these children, we utilize a systematic approach to learning called the Extraordinary Learning Foundation Program (ELF Program™).
A letter block with the letter "A" and an illustration of an appleDeveloped and used for over 3 decades, by our very own Thomas L. Layton, Ph.D., the ELF Program uses manual signing (hand signs and gestures), Picture Exchange,  established routines, and oral-motor training. The ELF Program is a multi-sensory and brain-based approach to learning. This means it utilizes all of a child’s senses, as well as their brain’s natural ability to learn things.

“Play is the Brain’s Way of Learning”

The true essence of the ELF Program lies in the idea that a child’s brain learns best when that child is at play.  Our program lets children engage in fun activities that stimulate their senses as well as their minds. It is an organized, early intervention treatment program that utilizes some of the following principles:

  • emergent literacy: even before children can read, they are developing their literacy skills
  • phonemic awareness: the ability to identify and manipulate the different sounds that make up words
  • phonics: a method of teaching reading and writing that uses phonemic awareness
  • joint-attention: using gestures, pointing, or the direction of one’s gaze to direct the gaze of another, ensuring you are both focusing on the same object
  • writing: using various instruments to help the child learn to write: pencils, iPad, magnetic letters, markers, finger painting
  • speech production: training the mouth for proper articulation, learning to associate a letter to its sound
  • receptive and expressive language:  building vocabulary, understanding the grammar and rules of language, and learning the proper use of language
  • pragmatics: the social use of language – how to ask questions, interact with peers, and respond to a speaker
  • early executive function skills: the ability to focus on a task, plan ahead, and work with ideas in your mind is known as executive functioning
  • A plastic toy giraffe is placed on top of a flash card displaying an image of a giraffe

The ELF Program has been presented extensively throughout China, Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas. It has been adopted in both hospital and government-sponsored programs in these countries. In Southern China, we are working directly with a leading private clinic to implement the ELF Program within China’s first ever center-based classroom.

Learn More About the ELF Program

If you would like to learn more about the ELF Program, feel free to send us a message on our Contact Page.A young elf is sitting, reading a book