First Foray into ABA
Johnny is now in 2 weeks of Group ABA Therapy for Communication (Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapy) . ABA is the primary way to teach people with Autism. He’s never worked directly with a psychologist and therapists trained in this but he is enjoying himself. I know the therapist from taking other courses so its kind of neat that he gets to meet and work my son. So everyday Daddy takes Johnny via subway downtown and drops him off on the way to work and at lunch time Princess and I go and pick him up and go on a little adventure downtown.
Have I noticed a difference? Johnny is using even more spontaneous communication with lots of multiple word sentences. We don’t always completely understand what he is trying to say and will have to get him to repeat it slower or go and get his communication book and use the PECs. The ABA group is working on getting the children to make demands and requests but incorporate play and games so they really don’t feel like they are doing work. For Johnny they are helping him articulate better so that anyone can understand him. I can really see how the Apraxia of Speech is holding him back in terms of pronouncing some words and making some sounds clearer.
On the downside, whenever Johnny is REALLY challenged and pushed to do more his anxieties increase and show themselves in challenging behaviours at home. We see an increase in repetitive behaviours such as opening and closing doors, organizing his toys and my stuff, and increased frustration when he’s playing with some toys and they don’t do exactly what he wants. We are trying to see what we can get him to do during these stressful times to help him release some of these feelings. One of the things he likes to do is get a bunch of gardening pots and pick all the weeds that are growing between the houses in our backyard. Over and over again he’ll grab weeds and then place them nicely in a pot as if he’s planting flowers. Instead of just filling containers he’s creating now and doing some pretend since he places them in our children’s playhouse.
It will be interesting to see how much he has progressed in terms of communication after his final week of his ABA group therapy. A small victory for us is that when everyone else is dropping off their children, there are lots of tears because of the transition and change to their routines. For Johnny, he is happy to go off with “another teacher” and do some fun play.