“You Take Care of Me and My Other Children Too…”

We had two more cooperative coaching sessions today. In the first session teachers and parents were teaching Reema to identify items that she would use in the bathroom and identifying parts of her body. She made particular progress with requesting for the items that she wants. Previously she needed prompting to say the name of the item to request it but today she made a number of independent requests. When talking about her future, Reema’s mother said that she was afraid that she won’t have other opportunities to get the same services and training that we have been able to provide for her. She said, “You take care of me and my other children too, not just my child with autism”.

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Initially Ali was lying on the floor during his session and did not appear to be motivated by the toys and activities that were available, but our team did some creative problem solving with the group and discovered that he really enjoys physical interactions, for example, spinning him around or squeezing his shoulders. Once we’d coached the teachers to find what he was motivated by he was much more engaged with the instructions that they were teaching him to follow.

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In the afternoon we had a session with some of teachers in the programme. The teachers rotated through small groups and we used coaching and role play to work on how they would teach specific skills. In one group they practiced how they would teach a child to imitate their actions and follow a variety of vocal instructions. In the other group they focused on how they would teach a child to answer vocal questions such as “what is your name?” or “how old are you?”, as well as working fading prompts when teaching a child to request. The teachers also practiced collecting data on the skills that were being taught.

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The teachers made lots of progress and this was a really fun session- our team particularly enjoyed acting as children for the teachers to practice with. One of the teachers told us that it was really good to focus on learning to teach specific skills and get more feedback. We headed back to the apartment feeling satisfied and proud of the progress that our teachers, parents and children are making, and eagerly started planning our next sessions.

-Sarah

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