Archives for "ABA"
Yesterday I went for a walk with the autistic boy I work with.
He is now five and has just discovered that he enjoys walking, we walked into town through the snow all wrapped up in hats and gloves. He took with him a plastic toy tiger. While we walked he bounced the tiger along the walls. This is an enormous achievement he was playing with a toy in an appropriate way. No longer stimming the tiger.
Like any five-year-old the buttons at the traffic lights are a highlight of the town walk. Each light we passed he would press the button and say “red man, wait” the excitement of the red man changing to green was a joy to see. When we got our green man I would say “Green man, cross with care” and we would cross the road.
Once in town we did all the things that I remember my girls enjoying at that age. Running up and down the ramp at the library, causing the automatic doors to open and close and pressing the buttons on the lift. He remained cool when we saw a sign saying lift out of order. He needed to check all the lift doors to make sure and luckily the out of order sign was on every lift.
We then went on to the shopping centre where we rode up and down the escalators we must’ve done this seven or eight times and then he put the tiger on a separate step I have to say at this point my nerves got the better of me and I decided that this was going to be the last ride.
Then he chose to go into Marks & Spencer’s probably because there is an escalator there. At the top of the escalator he announced he needed a wee so he went to the toilet I’m not sure if he really needed the toilet but he managed a wee and then the highlight, the automatic flush button!
From here we went to the cafe where he chose a gingerbread man. He sat beautifully to eat his gingerbread man and then I asked him where his gingerbread man was and he replied,” gingerbread man all gone”. This is a direct quote from the gingerbread man book I must’ve read him 100 times over the last year.
From Marks & Spencer’s we caught the bus home he was so excited on the bus that he got all the other passengers on the bus smiling at him. He was able to reply when asked “where are you?” he replied,” on the bus”.
I know that this trip to town is not really a typical trip that an adult and child would make, normally when you go into town there are jobs to be done and this trip was purely for fun. For nearly 2 years his parents and his ABA tutors had been working to stop him stimming, to play with toys in an appropriate manner to answer questions when asked, to ask when he needs help and to behave in a manner that is appropriate. Yesterday he behaved beautifully and was a pleasure and fun to be.
Wow what a fabulous day I have just had.
It was beautifully sunny, one of those perfect was days when you don’t need a coat and you’re not worried about sunburn. I taking out the four-year-old autistic boy I work with.
We went to a park which has a large lake which we set out to walk round. He ran ahead of me and when he was about 50m ahead I would shout “stop” and hold up my hand. As long as I kept repeating “stop” and holding my hand up he remained still. When I got nearer we would say “ready steady go” and then we would run on around the lake, laughing. He is a faster runner than me.
About three quarters of the way round he got tired and climbed into the buggy and let me push him at a more sedate pace for the remainder of our circuit looking at the ducks, fishermen, dogs and their walkers.
As we neared the end we could hear a lot of happy shrieking noises and we could see teenage children trying to stay upright on a raft they had built. Of course they all fell in with more screams and happy laughter. There was even a dog in a buoyancy aid running up and down the bank. It really was one of those perfect days.
Then the icing on the cake: We went into the clubhouse because I wanted to ask if my teenage children could join in the fun, I picked up a leaflet and we are about to leave when the little boy jumped out of the buggy and started to open a door. I said “no! We going to the car” and he said “I need a wee” I looked at the door and sure enough it had the symbol of the ladies toilet. Wow. In we went and after checking all the toilets he chose one, undressed and he did need a wee. I don’t know why he likes to remove all his clothes when he does a wee, but he happily puts them back on again with a little help when he’s finished.
Here he demonstrated appropriate use of language, unprompted. I am so proud of him. It really was a perfect day.
When I think how hard his parents and ABA teacher’s have worked with him not only potty training (which he only really mastered six weeks ago), but speech and appropriate behaviour it is incredible. There is still a long way to go, but days like this make you realise that all the hard work, tears and frustration are worth it.
Recently I took the little autistic boy that I work with to his office based ABA session. He was so excited to get there that he was up the stairs before I had worked out how to close the door. He ran into the room and immediately started playing with toys that were on the floor. The session was very structured and he worked very hard. One of the activities he found particularly hard was placing objects on, in, or beside other objects. For example putting the brick in the box or putting the brick on the bridge. I was surprised how hard he found it. These sorts of instructions are given all day at school or nursery. “Can you put your books away and line up at the door” would have been an instruction I would have regularly given as a teacher. The ABA sessions are fantastic at preparing him for integration into mainstream school. Every activity is broken down to tiny sections for him to practice and achieve.
One of his ABA tutors regularly goes into his nursery to work with him with other children. This is helping his social skills and encouraging him to use his peers as role models. The nursery had been worried that the sessions would be too structured however they have said that everybody is benefiting from having a tutor in nursery. Although his tutor works with him, helping him with the activities and to focus and sit still at story time the other children also benefit from having an extra adult at nursery. One of the nursery nurses said, ”Oh, ABA is just playing!”
I have been very impressed with the progress he has made doing the ABA program. He’s working with autism partnership which happens to have to an office not far from where he lives. And I feel very privileged to see the incredible progress he has made. For example when I first met him he would not use both hands to build or do puzzles. Also he would not look at what he was doing. He liked to use his peripheral vision. Yet now he can build complicated 3-D puzzles including a build my pickup truck puzzle, for this he needs to use two hands and to look very carefully.
It has been huge battle for his parents to get him on an ABA program. For nearly a year they had to fund it themselves and had to actually deliver the programme themselves for much of the time. This meant one parent had to give up work and their other children miss out on many activities. However just before Christmas they won their tribunal and their local education authority is now funding the ABA program. There is always the worry that the education authority will change its mind and withdraw the funding. It does seem very short-sighted and that hopefully when he has finished the program he will be able to access mainstream education with limited support. Surely in the long run this is cheaper than putting children like him in a special school.
The autism partnership website is a very good one and an explains things clearly and concisely
Well the summer is over and my children have gone back to school, where did the summer go?
My eldest is so happy not to be the youngest in the school. I am hoping that year 8 will be easier than last year. She is still in learning support for English and is finding out which groups she is in for other subjects this week.
I was nervous about going back to work. I was concerned that the boy I do an ABA program with would no longer be happy to work with me. However when I walked in the door and he said hello (prompted) and went straight for my bag of toys. So I need not have worried. He is such a pleasure to work with and I can see lots of progress since I began. I am back at the special school later this week and will still be working with the children on the autistic spectrum but no longer helping with swimming but with the trampoline session.