In this episode of The A-Word, we are introduced to Nick, a young man that underwent ABA therapy for autism at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders and recovered.
Meet Jack, a CARD ABA client that receives 25 hours a week. Over the last 2 years we’ve gotten to know and love Jack as another member of the #CARDFamily. In this episode, Jack Riley begins verbally requesting for things he wants. This is great! However, this also can prove difficult for his parents, as they are supposed to reinforce each request.
In this episode of The A-Word, we can see that in Jack Riley’s ABA therapy session with Jessica, that play is used as the medium with which to teach Jack.
In this episode we see that Jack Riley has been in preschool for the last three days with Jessica as his shadow. And during clinic they discuss how school is going and work on some new skills. Jessica updates the team on how Jack Riley’s behaviors are in class, and how his teacher is handling him.
In this episode, Jack Riley is working on having a calm body instead of a silly body.
Play has always had an important role in teaching Jack Riley. They have used play to teach him how to use items functionally – like when they use pretend food and place it on a plate. Jack Riley has now graduated to doing socio-dramatic play with his therapists where they take on different roles. They have been playing ‘restaurant’ for the last two months, where Jack Riley pretends to be the waiter, costumer, or the chef. Now that he has played out these roles, Jessica and Mike are taking him to an actual restaurant to see how he behaves in public.
Jack Riley, Jessica, and Mike are back at the park today so Jessica can observe Jack Riley play with his peers, and prompt him whenever he needs help finding the right words to say.
While on their outing, Mike meets a couple of parents and talks to them about his experiences with parenthood and autism.
Jack Riley is working a lot on social skills now that he is in school, and because Lainey is now big enough to walk over and play with his toys. His therapists are having Jack Riley play with his sister during their sessions so he can practice how to appropriately play with her. Simultaneously, Jack Riley’s therapists are also making it a point to go on outings in the community so he and his parents can get more comfortable with what to expect while they are out.
Jack Riley has been having a hard time being nice to his little sister Lainey. In reaction to that, his parents are trying out some positive reinforcement to get him to behave nicer. They started a system called ‘happy points’ where every time Jack Riley is nice to his sister, they give him a ‘happy point’, and once he gets enough happy points he is able to get a fun prize. Simultaneously, with his therapist Jessica, they work on writing a social story about ways in which he should interact with his sister. Hopefully, with enough reminders he will be nice to his little sister all the time.
Jack Riley is now 4 years old. A lot has changed in the last few years. He’s a lot more verbal than he used to be, but occasionally his language isn’t functional. Today he keeps scripting the same phrase while he’s doing tasks like unwrapping his birthday present, or playing with his toys. Echolalia is fairly common with kids with autism spectrum disorder because it’s a self-stimulatory behavior and is intrinsically reinforcing. The behavior comforts, and helps regulate themselves no differently than body rocking or hand flapping; it’s just a different form of stereotypical behavior.