Tootles is always working several programs with his ABA tutors. I thought I’d describe some of them. Are they programming my kid or is he “working” the programs? I think it’s both and it’s all good.
Reading Comprehension – The tutors have written stories involving people Tootles knows in real life and then combined them with multiple choice questions that he must answer. He has done well enough to start unfamiliar names and stories out of a book, responding to the corresponding questions.
New School Social Story – This was a story complete with photos from the school we just pulled him out of! Now, his story has been replaced and a new story will be read regularly to get him used to his new school and routine.
What Happened In-Between – Tootles has never asked me a why question. Before he was born, right up to the diagnosis, I was still anticipating the “why” question. We’re not there yet. The program goes a bit like this:
The iPad battery died. Later, the iPad was working fine. What happened in between? There was a plate full of cookies. Then a boy with cookie crumbs on his face and an empty plate. What happened in between?
He’s “mastered” a number of these and correctly guessed new ones tried out by the tutors. He still has asked no “why” questions in real life.
Friend Files – Tootles is given a list of questions. He asks his friends these questions and writes down the answers. (“What is your favorite sport?” “What do you like to do after school?”) The file is supposed to contain pictures and drawings to help him remember facts about his friends, spark conversations and keep the faces in Toots’ memory.
The “interviewing” was easy. Toots is having trouble understanding how to use the information. At this point, he is learning to sort “silly” from “good” questions. A “silly” question is one that he has already asked. The intent is to teach him how to use and access the information to enhance his social interactions.
Brushing Teeth – Am I the only one with a kid who hates to get his teeth brushed? I swear this kid is going to end up with dentures before he is 10. He hates opening his mouth to have his teeth brushed and will “fake” brush if left on his own. The tutors have taken pictures of him brushing the different areas of his teeth. Then, they required him to put the pictures in the correct sequence. Now, he is following the visual to brush his own teeth.
As this program is not generalized (meaning, given over to me to use) I still struggle with him every day. He will choke, gag, lock his lips around his teeth to prevent me from getting in there, hide his teeth with his mouth, refuse to hold the “E” position so I can get in there and brush and he grabs my arm to control where the brush touches his teeth. We’ve worked on the sensory issues surrounding his mouth but this remains a hard issue for us at home. Once the power struggle is over, he rinses with a dixie cup and half the time, forgets to spit in the sink, spitting on the mirror as he looks at himself. Yay.
Gross Motor Games – In connection with PE, recess and general socialization tools, Toots is being taught several “recess” games like hopscotch, catch, hide and seek (something he has never played until this summer!) and kicking a ball. He has mastered most of these. It’s not so much that he isn’t capable, as it is the “dyspraxia”, where he must be taught each and every step in a sequenced manner to understand how to do it. He will still wander off in the middle of Hide and Seek when he distracted.
Competition – Tootles does not get hurrying up to win or that getting distracted will cause him to “lose”. The tutors have set up games like, doing the most math problems on a sheet, or sorting marbles by color and telling him that whoever gets the most wins the m&m.
He hates when the tutor eats the m&m and has been motivated to try harder. It appears that he is starting to “get it” and is actively checking his competition’s progress as they “race”. He still cannot really grasp the concept in its entirety, or gets distracted.
Requesting “How” – Tootles doesn’t ask for help. If he does not know how to do something, he remains silent until he gets mad and starts cussing “fire truck!” “2+1=3!”. Thus, this program. Tutor: “Tootles, do a push-up.” Tootles: “How do I do a push-up?” So far, I haven’t been asked these questions except for now, as I prepare him for his first spelling test… “Spell thick” “How do I spell thick?” Pretty clever, eh?
Potty Social Story – Yes. He holds. He screams “toilet” just before an explosion. These don’t seem like good ideas for first grade class. Thus, we’re reading a social story. Just the other day, right after one of the tutors read it, and he had a mini-accident (slight pee) rather than asking or simply just getting up to go to the bathroom. Success rate – nil so far…
Car desensitization – Daddy has a new sports car. Tootles has a fascination and meltdown proportion fear of that car. The tutors are trying to desensitize him. As a result of that program, he now scripts, “Do you want to open one door or two doors? You only want to open two doors,” and “Let’s touch the parts of the car. This is the door handle, headlight, hood …” I heard these scripts the other day for a half hour straight while shopping at WalMart.
That’s what we are currently working on at our house. So, ABA or not, what are you working on at yours?