One of the parents said that she felt, she needed more opportunities to get her son to need her, in order to really get the benefit of showing him how to use the App.
And I couldn't help but wonder...
How many parents fall into the trap of giving their kids independent access to everything they need, and miss out on the opportunities to create and increase the frequency of their kid's "Mands?"
The inverted commas are deliberate as Mand is a madey uppy word coined by the king of behavourial science and madey uppy words B.F. Skinner.
Now don't run away, I promise the science ends here.
It is short for comMAND and deMAND and we must ensure that our language or learning delayed children have the ability to make a lot of Mands appropriately.
Why? - because it is the basis of almost all communication for someone who isn't naturally socially motivated. And you can prompt it.
To paraphrase Cheap Trick; to get your kids communicating, by any means; you need them to need you!
You have to become an integral bridge between what they want and how to get it. And by association someone they want to interact with.
This can be showing them how to do a sign, or giving you a card with a picture on it, or using the word and getting them to repeat it.
It does not mean putting one chair on top of another and climbing that, opening the cupboard and throwing everything out by themselves, before climbing down and chewing through the packet to get what they want.
Or leading you by the sleeve to the general area and having a tantrum while you get everything out of the cupboard in a mad panic until they identify the item and the tantrum subsides.
Both of these methods are a great way to work out exactly what a kid likes. Because this is about what THEY like, not what YOU want them to have.
You wouldn't work all month for a tin of baked beans or some organically grown gluten casein and virtually taste free lavosh crackers - don't expect them to.
Get out the red and pink jellies. Get out the Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookies, Get out the Dark Chocolate Ferrero. This is a teaching phase. Give it all you got.
And, once you have your information you have to set up an opportunity to teach them to get it appropriately, by engaging your attention and making their specific need known.
Then, you want to ensure that they can do this as many times as possible. So only give them a little bit at a time.
This means putting child locks on cupboards and the fridge, awkward to open or even lockable boxes and containers in presses and general subterfuge - hide what they want.
And it doesn't have to be edibles. Take their favourite video out of the room, unplug the scart lead from the back of the DVD player or hide the remote and change their favourite channel to something boring like "The History Channel" (or the Hitler Channel as we call it in our house, All Hitler All the Time...)
But ensure that you have the means by which they can request your help appropriately - accessible so it can be quickly prompted. If you are using pictures, make sure they are stored where the child can grab them easily. If it's sign, be sure everyone who is in your house can recognise it. And if you are using the Grace App, have the phone on your person where they can grab it easily and find the picture
And having done that, do it again. And Again And Again.
Make your Child Need You. Because People Who Need People are the Luckiest (Autistic) People in the World...
*Continuous mands can be a pain in the arse. As I found during the very interrupted writing of this post.
"I WANT 2 Drinks, I WANT Door Open, I want MONKEY Cootar (Yoko Jakamoto Toto) but once you get it happening you can then use it to teach them to discriminate their specific choices, as I will tell you next time. But now I have to go and plug the scart lead back into the DVD player... xx