Saturday, September 8, 2012

First week down!

  Jake started his new ABA program this past week. Since it was a holiday weekend his teacher only came 3 days. As I mentioned in my earlier post I was a bit anxious about everything. One of my main concerns is how he will deal with the structure of ABA as opposed to the freedom he has had with DIR/Floortime. I was also nervous about meeting his new teacher and hoped that he would develop a relationship with her. When I first opened  the door and saw his teacher I felt a sense of relief. We used to frequent a local playroom. While Jake and I were playing I would often see a woman there with little boy. His mother and younger brother were there also, so it was obvious she was a teacher of some sort, and I always suspected he was on the spectrum. I was always impressed with the teacher's interactions with the boy. It turns out that she is Jakob's new teacher! I had never spoken with her before, but I saw her often enough that I almost felt like I knew her. It took away some of my worry to open the door and see a familiar face. Jake seems pretty comfortable with her also. After she brought in all of her materials he grabbed her hand and led her into the living room, just like he does with his other teachers. I am continuously amazed at how well he adapts to change, and how easily he seems to relate to new people.
The first day was spent getting to know each other a bit. I showed her a few rooms that are available for her to use, and we picked out a main work space for them. They will do most of their programs in one of our spare bedrooms where there will be minimal distractions. We spent some time playing in there and then moved down to our main floor. We then moved outside and gave Jake an opportunity to play in the water table, which he loves. While we were outside our neighbor was walking by with her two children. The little girl is just 2 days younger than Jakob. They came up the driveway to say hello. When the little girl went to get in Jake's little car he got excited and approached her. He walked up and reached out to touch her arm while smiling away. His teacher was excited by this "interaction". She said that it is good sign that he seems to show an interest in other children.  Many of the children that she has worked with have shown no desire to interact with their peers. Hopefully this trait will continue and will prove to be an asset for Jakob.  After some swinging  time on our playset with the neighbor kids we went back inside. I made Jake's lunch while he went upstairs to the spare room with his teacher for the final 15min. He readily went with her and they played together for a bit. All in all a pretty good first day.
The next day his teacher (we'll call her JT from now on for Jake's Teacher) brought him right upstairs after she arrived. We decided that it will be best for me to stay out of the room for at least the beginning of the program so that Jake is not too distracted and they are able to get a good routine and working relationship established. (I went out an bought a camera to add to his video monitor system so that I can watch the sessions remotely for now. We set it up this weekend so I will start using it on Monday) They were upstairs playing for a solid hour and a half. I heard a few protests here and there, but nothing major. When they came downstairs JT said that he did well. They are still primarily playing while she tries to get a feel for what will be reinforcing for him.  He cried or got fussy a few times, but she said it never lasted more than a minute. We gave him a little snack and a bit of a break, then they went to play in the basement play room. There were down there for about 20 min then came back up to attempt to go outside. At this point he started to get a bit fussy and wanted to be with me. We tried distracting him and getting him engaged with JT again, but he wasn't having it. Since he had been "working" with her for over 2 hours we decided we would call it quits for the day.  She said he had done a great job for his 2nd day and that we can only expect so much for such a young guy.
Friday followed the same pattern. They started upstairs, came down for a snack, played in the basement, then went for a walk outside, This time he made it through their whole session without having a meltdown. JT started incorporating a timer in their sessions upstairs. One of Jake's favorite things to play with is the iPod touch. She will be using it as one of his reinforcers. She will do a few tasks with him, then offer him the touch or another toy to use as a reward for a short time. As is to be expected he isn't very happy when it gets taken away. She set a timer for 1.5 minutes to give him a warning that it is time to give it up. I guess he caught on to the idea pretty quickly and was able to give it back without protest. She also said he quickly figured out that giving it up meant it was time to work and would try to run away LOL. Overall she said she was impressed with him over the three days and has high expectations. She is also weary of the "honeymoon" period ending once they really get to work.
   All in all I am happy with the way his first week went. He seems to be developing a good relationship with JT, and I am confident in her ability to try and  bring out the best in him. Let's hope next week goes as smoothly...

Long day...

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