Playing is learning. With constructive play, a child learns how to imitate others, and to use their imagination to generate structures. With functional pretend play, the child is givenan opportunity to practice using items appropriately and to work on his conversation skills by having him narrate his actions.
Jack Riley began preschool this year which has been a challenging adjustment for the family. On top of the stress of starting school, the family had an IEP meeting. Typically an IEP meeting happens annually after the child’s birthday, but this year they are having two meetings.
Cheryl and Mike sit down and talk with Nick, who recovered from autism in 2001 at the age of four. They discuss what he remembers from being in therapy, and what school was like for him. Nick is candid about his experience with bullying, and gives Mom and Dad some insight on what it’s like growing up with autism.
It’s been over a year since Jack Riley was diagnosed with autism and ten months since he began ABA therapy. Cheryl and Mike discuss how feeding used to be a nightmare and how this has radically changed for the better. Jack Riley used to not feed himself and his diet was limited to apple sauce, yogurt and bananas. His diet has since expanded greatly and he is now more willing to try new foods.
The big day is finally here — potty training. With the aid of Jack Riley’s parents, therapists, reinforcers, and pottylog, success is bound to happen. Watch how the principles of ABA can be applied to teach potty training.
Jack Riley is more aware of others and gets excited when he has visitors. When Jessica and other therapists first started coming over, he wouldn’t acknowledge their presence, but now he does with enthusiasm. At the same time however, Jack Riley has been having behavioral issues and has been very inflexible. Cheryl and Mike share with Jessica what his behaviors have been like. Jessica and Jack Riley continue working on categories as Mom and Dad help as interpreters.
I have been working for CARD as the social networking coordinator since November 2010, and yesterday was the first time I sat in on a therapy session. Before working here I was unfamiliar with autism and didn’t know that it is treatable. Luckily, the session I had the opportunity to sit in on was with Jack Riley as he worked with his therapist Jessica as The A-Word was being filmed.
Jack Riley gets a visitor today during his session. Shizue is a new therapist and must complete field work training with another therapist before she is allowed to work alone with kids in the field. Today Jessica not only teaches Jack Riley some new things like actions and manding, but Shizue as well.
Another child is about to be added to Jack Riley’s family. Little sister is going to be born today, and with that, a lot of changes will occur that everyone will need to adjust to.
Every skill he learns builds on the next to create a comprehensive skillset which will facilitate appropriate communication and interaction. Each week represents tangible progress. To witness the progress, stay tuned and check out earlier episodes as well.