Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Applied Behavioral What?
I was going to call this post "Flunking out of ABA", but it was tongue in cheek, and I don't feel all that glum about it.
After a surge in imitating words from B., ABA hasn't yielded many noticeable results lately. Outside of ABA, both boys are doing well. G. is using little phrases here and there ("come on, Mom", "My turn", etc) The phrases are echoed from DVD's, but he uses them appropriately! He was in a phase of reciting entire Backyardigans episodes, mostly in his own jargon. That was getting old, but he seems to be moving out of it.
B. is progressing in his own way, at his own pace. He knows what he wants more than he used to, and he notices other kids more, and he is great about being affectionate.
Now to the flunking out of ABA part. G. has had them stumped from the beginning. G. knows his letters, numbers, colors, shapes and so on, but he was not going to do a thing for the ABA therapists. Nada. Every week, the head therapist would tell me some new approach they were trying with him, to the point that we joked about it at home. B. tries hard, but imitation is not his thing right now(oh, those mirror neurons!), so he has them stumped, too.
Lately the ABA center keeps scaling back on what they are working on with both boys. Each week they cut back on something. Last week they decided not to work on motor imitation anymore because they are "not ready" for it (fine with me, it was just stressing them out). Then they decided not to focus on fine motor skills. Okay. Today they said they are going to try to make them "feel successful" and really reinforce eye contact and pointing. For three hours? That's a lot of eye contact and pointing.
The therapists themselves are wonderful and warm. But I have to say, I don't know how long we are going to stick with this G. learns things on his own, no matter what we do. B. has definitely gotten something out of the ABA, so I'm more willing to send him for longer.
I'm formulating some questions for the lead therapist, but deep down I'm relieved that ABA is not the be-all and end-all for us. For whatever reason, the twins learn more by playing at home than they do at any therapy we've tried. We do a mix of sensory integration, hanging out, being silly, going to playgrounds, watching movies and goofing off. We eat a lot of gluten and casein. And starting in the fall...preschool. We are going through with it this time! Really, I mean it.
I'm glad we are giving the ABA a try, and I think we'll stick with it through the summer. Part of each week, and the rest of it will be the usual summertime business.