Saturday, July 31, 2010


The key ingredient lacking in autism is motivation. The key ingredient in ABA is turning on that motivation. Wanting to learn is surely the key to learning. Wanting something in the first place is the first step in getting it.
My son seems somewhat resistant to my efforts at the moment and that is frustrating I am trying, just obviously not hard enough. He squirms and finds it hard to focus he is bored I guess, he runs away if not directly seated in his chair and I do want therapy to take place in other places as well that is more fun for us all.
Yesterday I saw T ask him a question at playschool , he answered but he was already out the door before he said anything. The same goes on with me if I am not very structured and strict and no wonder he finds it boring.
The question is what are we doing wrong.
Is it not enough structure in teaching settings or perhaps inconsistent teaching methods between us two.
Is it inadequate motivation?
Wrong use of reinforcement?
Should I warm myself by the idea that difficult behavior is the next step to progress. I do not expect any miracles any more and I just have to figure this out.
How many hours should we use strict dicreet teaching trial methods and how many hours on environmental teaching. I think about fifty fifty.
Suddenly I find that an item that is considered learnt suddenly does not stick and I am quite confused and frustrated. Seems that he did not pay enough attention when it was taught in the first place.
What is it?

Oh my... how can I worry so endlessly.
Just now I hear Sturla complain to his brother.. J you are not playng the game... and then going to his dad stating I have a gun.. the favourite game in this peace loving family to my utter delight so to speak is playing with guns and shooting each other. What is is with boys...such balm on my worrisome nature.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My name is...

Generalisation and fluency is at the top of my mind at the moment along with several other things.
This was a scenario I witnessed at playschool yesterday.
A little boy came and announced, as it seemed to no one in particular, perhaps just the world in general.
My name is G.
Sturla was silent he looked but said nothing I refrained from promting I wanted the scene to unwind naturally and see a natural response. So he watched and I felt he was obviously thinking.
The boy however did not have time to wait, four year olds are to busy to wait and they definately do not count to five or ten before expecting a response. So he exclaimed I have a Batman T shirt.
(I wondered if he had sneaked a lok at our program).
This time Sturla answered he looked at his T shirt and as it was quite ordinary and sported no special features, he thought for a moment and said my T shirt is like this. (Good job)
It was good but it was to slow, his skill in this particular program is still not fluent enough and I wonder if we have been going too fast reveling in new and new things not making the old skills fluid and truly usable. Skills have to become a part of you before you truly master them. They have to be like old shoes part of your feet so you do not feel them when you use them. One has to be able to act almost without thinking, that is a natural response.
I wonder how to address this and I know there is no shortcut I have to slow down and bactrack to generalise, already learnt items. I have to do more environmental teaching and more problem solving activities. And I have to make it into some sort of a organised schedule to know what I have done and what needs more work and so so on.
If I do not organise it all to the smallest details I freak out I have a love hate relationship with binders and folders. I have to much on my mind and just knowing where and what is on my laundry list calms me better than any drug.
Four year olds are funny, they go around and exclaim to the world facts about themselves, wanting recognition.
Hi world I exist.
It really boils down the essence of all human interactions.
This is what I want.
Hi world, I exist and I am prepared to take my place in life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Enjoying the good stuff

The last month has been very unstructured due to many reasons and I feel both relieved and sad that playschool starts again on monday. Relieved because therapy will start again and his teaching will be resumed and sad because I miss the leisurely hours and regret the fact I am incapable of dooing all the work that needs to be done on my own, I have tried and failed.I need other people to keep up his hours. I cannot let myself burn out and I need a break. Summer is always a good time for change and the change is scenery is dooing him good he has been camping he has been in resturants and he asks his brothers and cousins to play, they in turn need to be prompted and pushed to oblige him. He can not follow their complex imaginary playing. Still the progress is obvious. His interest is steadily increasing and watching him at the breakfast table this morning as his little cousins spent the night he was happy and imitating the sillyness displayed by allt the five little boys that sat around him. I am glad that he is so obviously trying. He loves dressing up and just now brings me his batman costume. He greeted me this morning with a wig and a fake nose "look at me".
Yes, I am looking sweetheart.
In fact I cannot take my mind of you at all.

Summer outing

Look at me!

Happy block building


Enjoying his brothers birthday party. He loves birthdays.


Musical session with dad.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

lovaas advice to his therapists

this was posted as insights from UCLA on Lovaas Institute Blog

1. Concentrate on positive reinforcement. If it isn't working, you are not thinking or sweating enough.
2. Students do not fail to learn. We fail to teach.
3. Have fun! If the teacher is not having fun, imagine how the student feels.
4. Step outside the box sooner rather than later. Keep moving and changing your strategies. Good therapy should never feel comfortable. The therapists/instructors should always feel challenged to do better. "Good" is never good enough!

I better get back on track and bear this in mind. The lovaas study has flaws certainly and all this autism business is as floating and evasive as ever but the bottom line is children can learn adults can learn and so can I.