Table Time

A common concern most parents have is for their child to sit and eat at the table. Since eating isn’t a favorite for most children with autism, sitting at the table won’t be either. The first thing that needs to be done is to make the table time fun! Have the child do his/her preferred activities at the table. The child will want to grab the item and move it away from the table. Give clear instructions that the item stays at the table and that if he/she wants to play with it, it’s at the table.

 

Pictured is a little boy I’ve been working with for about 2 months. I have paired myself as a reinforcer and have shown him new toys. Our sessions began playing on the floor and now we have progressed to playing at the table. Puzzles are his favorite! So we do lots of puzzles and I let him play with it over and over, he does each puzzle 3 or 4 times.

I don’t give any instructions related to the task (ex, where’s the cat? what color is this? what letter?) or have him ask for items. Since I know he loves puzzles, I only hold up 2 puzzles for him to make a choice and label “Puzzle” over and over. I want him to like being at the table and if I upset him, chances are he’s not going to want to return to the table. The only instruction I give is for him to “sit down” if he wants to do the activity. He is allowed to get up and walk around if he needs to, but the activity stays at the table and will be available on his return.

At my last session, when I arrived at their house, he was sitting at the table ready for me with a big smile on his face as I walked through the door.

* Future posts to come on table time and the steps I use to prepare him for foods. *

Therapy Toys

20170611_140233A common question that I get asked is where can parents get toys like mine for their children. I’m not actively looking for specific toys, I just casually browse where ever I am to see what they have. If I find something, great! If not, next time. If I am looking for something specific, I can usually find it on Amazon. I don’t purchase my supplies from a catalogue or a teacher’s store, as those can be very expensive. Here’s a list of places where I find my supplies:

  1. Amazon
  2. Target
  3. Zulily
  4. Ross
  5. Marshalls
  6. TJ Maxx

 

Update

I’ve been gone for quite some time. Last semester I was working on my thesis which took up a lot of my time. But it’s over now. I passed all of my classes and I’m ready to graduate next month!! I’ve also finished my supervision hours for my BCBA. It has been a really long journey for me and I’m overwhelmed that it has finally come to an end. I plan to study for my board exam this summer and take the exam in October. After that, I’ll probably open my own practice.

I plan to get more organized this summer and start posting a lot more on social media. I’ll post pictures from graduation in a couple of weeks!

Planting flowers

I love this simple activity. Planting flowers is great for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. You can also throw in some language skills by asking/labeling the color of each flower. If the child is verbal and more advance, ask some wh-questions like “What do you do with flowers?” or “Where do you find flowers?” You can also do some pretend play and “smell” the flowers. It’s about keeping them engaged.

Have fun! 

Vocal Stereotypy 

One common characteristic of autism is stereotypy, repetitive movement for no obvious purpose. My little guy has vocal stereotypy which gets in the way during circle time in class. I have been assigned to implement my first intervention, and I have chosen to tackle this behavior.

I made some visuals to help him understand when it’s appropriate to talk and when it’s NOT appropriate to talk. 

I used it throughout his daily tasks last week and his stereotypy has decreased by 50%! There is more to the intervention which involves blocking and redirection, but the visuals are really helping him to control his body. 

I’m really excited for this because it’s the first time I have to write out the program, take the data, graph it, and discuss the progress!! I’ve been using everything I have learned in class: different methods of collecting data and how to use them. I’m on my way to becoming a BCaBA!!