Saturday, April 28, 2007

Backpedaling on the Previous Post

Okay, my last post sounded like the publisher had slipped me a little cash, but it was truly how I was feeling at the time. By the time I finished it, I was a bit disappointed there was no mention of valid non-ABA approaches, such as floortime and RDI. Although I should check the publication date, because I don't know what form they were in when she was writing.

I think I'm still in the "Somebody please tell me what to do" post-diagnosis flailing stage. I can see how people start plunking down a lot of money to consultants and doctors, because you feel like you need to do something FAST. When I read about DAN doctors, part of me thought, we've got to see one of those. When I read about RDI, I wanted to sign up (still true). The ABA thing I go back and forth on. Initially I was absolutely not interested, but now that I've been trying my own thing for almost a year, I wonder at times if it could be good for B. Not thirty hours a week, but maybe some kind of ABA-lite.

I'm trying (once again) to take a deep breath and look at the big picture. When I first figured out we were "on the spectrum", I knew the kind of approach I felt comfortable with. I started doing what I thought was best, basically some sensory integration, PECS symbols all around, sign language, and lots and lots of interaction. I still believe in what I'm doing, the root of my doubts is that I think B. needs more.

We are starting our private OT and speech in the next few months, and I think that might help me see which direction to head in. I've met the OT twice, and have a good feeling about her.

In any case, I still think that "Let Me Hear Your Voice" was a good read, as long as you also read a lot of other books along with it (and what parent of an autistic child doesn't?) Deep down I'm still a touchy-feely, floortme, RDI type parent who's trying to keep an open mind.


Mom without a manual said...

I firmly believe that you have to explore as many options as you can. What works well for one child may have no impact on another. I refer to our therapies as a patchwork quilt. In my opinion it all boils down to purposeful interaction.

Not to add to the pile of books but I have used the ABLLS Verbal Behavior program to organize our home program. It is indirectly ABA but we do it in an informal (PRT style) setting.

It has been very helpful for me to know what to focus on. It has helped me understand the developmental progress for language so that I don't start working on skills that are too advanced for our current stage.

However, I have also followed some RDI practices as well. I find that the RDI books/websites give good examples on how to work while the ABLLS stuff is better for me to understand our current goal we are working on.

However, I am going it alone. We don't have the hundreds of dollars for a consultant. Another local family is spending almost $2000 a month to consult with a Verbal Behavior consultant out of Chicago. They pay that money but then still have to do all the therapy themselves. The $2000 only goes towards her looking at their record keeping and a few videoes of therapy time. She tells them what to work on next. She is basically following the ABLLS charts that I bought for $70. I think I got more bang for my buck!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, we are in the "what-do-we-do-now" post diagnosis stage too. My grandson is in an all day preschool. I don't understand all the anagrams I read in your post. Is the early childhood intervention program in your state involved at all? I'm wondering if we need to be doing more?

Mom to JBG said...

Sorry about all the acronyms. Take a former special ed teacher, give her two kids with autism, and all you will see is acronyms!
ABA is Applied Behavior Analysis
PECS is Picture Exchange Communication System
RDI I'd have to look up, but it's a type of program based on developmental stages relating to relationships (I think!)
DAN is Defeat Autism Now

KAL said...

It's hard to know what to do in these early stages post-diagnosis. You should definitely listen to your gut, especially with your background as a special ed teacher. In our case, it became obvious pretty quickly that more intensive therapy was needed for J. If you feel that way about B., then I can't imagine that either the OT or ST wouldn't share that with you too. And in any case, maybe you should talk with your county's EI team to get additional service for him if you're feeling that way now? It's difficult -- we're still re-evaluating all the time. Since you're doing private OT and ST, it might mean that the EI program isn't the best?

therapy1 said...

As we have all figured out by now, no therapy is one size fits all. the kids are individuals with strengths and weaknesses. the majority of my training is vb, and I have seen great results with my students, but more recently, I have been doing a lot of research into RDI which stands for Relationship Development Intervention and also theory of mind (understanding that others have a state of mind)-both essentially go hand in hand. Simon Baron Cohen is big in this area (theory of Mind)
RDI (steve Gutstein) I follow the ABLLS in the home programs I run, but I have also started incorporting RDI activities from the the book Relationship Development Intervention for young children with autism. It is essentially a big book full of activities that your kids will love, the games are fun, but are at the same time adressing their "core deficits" without the kids even knowing they are working. Some target areas include facial referencing, regulation, joint attention...The back of the book has a list of goals and a tracking form. I strongly reccommend it. The ABLLS-R has many new goals that that were not present in the original ABLLS that relate directly to RDI. RDI is helpful in explaining how to teach those more social goals, and also expand on them beyond the criteria listed in the ABLLS. Hope this will be helpful to some of you who are on the fence about what to do for your children.