Aba reaches the parts, that other therapies cannot reach.
Late last year I put up a post called "Do we want our children to LEARN or are we happy with them just being TAUGHT?"
It was a little bit narky, shall we say, because I was feeling very burned out by the year that was in it. 6-1 had caused alot of problems for my Boo and I was seriously thinking of home schooling at the time; until we came up on the waiting list for the nearest recognised ABA school; OR our nearest ABA school got recognised!
You see the problem with this whole ABA debate is that there are an awful lot of people who think the 6-1 system is good enough. Good enough for their children to achieve what ever expectations they have of them as a child with an autistic spectrum disorder. Some parents even get a little defensive; when you tell them that ABA would be better for their child because they feel you are judgeing them for their acceptance; for their ability to just deal with the status quo without demanding more.
They might also have a child that is perfectly capable of learning in a small group. A child that is motivated by praise and a willingness to fit in and a child that understands the national curriculum as it is taught by State recognised teachers.
They will be toilet trained, will be able to eat different foods with a spoon at least, maybe even a fork, will brush their teeth willingly after meals and dress themselves without fuss.
They can probably look at you when you approach them and at least return a greeting if not ask a question about you.
And at the end of the day when they have done their national curriculum homework easily, had dinner and watched a bit of television, they will put on their pyjamas and go to bed; at a reasonable hour, sleep through and waken refreshed and ready to start another fabulous 6-1 day.
In other words; NOT MY KIDS!
I hate to get personal in this blog, because I still believe that after all this time that the people trying to teach my difficult kids are really doing their best. They come in early, stay late and take work home; but the fact of the matter is that until they can clone and multiply themselves by six; they are not going to reach all of the kids in their 6 -1 class. On average, 3 of those kids are going to learn easily and on average 3 of them are going to need each step of each lesson broken down to suit their style of learning, in order to comprehend and actually take in what is required.
State teachers are direct teachers, in that they learn in college the science of introducing a new skill and instructing someone how to copy that skill. Not everyone can do this, and we should respect that.
However, state teachers are taught to teach the majority most of the time. In a 30 child setting, this makes sense. Some of the little feckers will mess about and not take it in and their parents will not be bothered, some of them will genuinely need extra help and resource hours, but the majority will learn it as it is taught. After all, that is what the national curriculum is about.
In a 6-1 setting the reality is that 3 and sometimes 4 of those kids will not be able to follow that curriculum. And the teacher will not have the resources or time to break down that lesson individually to suit the individual learner.
If it is academic homework then they may try taking the child a step back in the national curriculum, from second grade to first grade for example. But if they do not get that; it is hard for them to know what to do,
WITHOUT SPECIFIC ABA TRAINING!!
You see, as a mother of two kids with Autism; I have been trying to take a step back and just be.
I wanted to be Mum, the fun one after school enjoying our play time with a bit of O.T and P.E. and leaving the education to the specialists.
This was hard as I had been running a home supervised ABA program for the last 5 years using Qualified tutors to supplement the 6-1 setting that my kids are in.
But it meant that my home was a mini-school. That my kitchen table was always a mess of data sheets and Flash cards and index files and folders.
And it meant eating a lot of take away curry.
Instead of chopping up vegetables and stirring bubbling pots of an evening I was always caught up with printing up recording charts and cutting and laminating new materials for tomorrow's session.
Afternoons were tense and fraught as I sought to pair the tutor with each child, limiting basic treats so they could be reinforcing for tired kids who had already done a full day at "school" but who still had so much to LEARN.
And yes, we paid for it. We borrowed and we did without desperately needed respite and home support in order to pay tutors to focus only on our children and their very intense needs.
We watched them progress but we also watched our quality of life descend as the gains were counteracted by untrained staff in their school settings, and the intensity of Bratty's secondary diagnosis made our need for respite paramount.
So what do we do? Give up on our kid's potential and live with the short term rest but long term fears of what will happen when they get older and the opportunities get narrower?
Or keep borrowing, keep destroying our home life and keep fighting for what we know our children are capable of,
Until they get a place in a school that will offer them 1-1 trained direct teaching and a level of educational analysis that is not available in their current school setting then we keep struggling with the resources we have.
roll on the waiting lists.