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Typical day with pre-schooler - what do you do?

(14 Posts)
Eloise73 Thu 11-Nov-10 13:43:17

I know my title sounds vague but I'd love to know what those of you who do ABA or something akin to it yourselves - what is your day like? What sorts of activities and 'therapy' do you do with your child?

DH and I do intensive interaction and lots of play with our DD who is almost 3 but aren't doing much else at the moment. We are going to start working with Ruth Glynne-Owen soon to set up a home programme and try to follow the ESDM (although i'll be honest and admit I don't know too much about it yet except that it's like a play-based and child led ABA - I hope I understood it right anyway!).

So what sorts of things do you guys do at home to help your pre-schooler with communication etc?

Our DD is almost 3, very verbal, lots of language but little to no communication. She can point out hundreds of items but cannot use any of her words in a meaningful way IYSWIM.


StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 16:08:07

I suppose you just play with your child, but with focus, purpose, targets etc. You take what you know they are interested in and use that to get them to do other stuff and develop skills. So you know what she likes right? You use that to get communication out of her.

Eloise73 Thu 11-Nov-10 16:32:27

I kinda wanted some specifics re games, activities etc. I understand the basic principles behind it, just want to know what sorts of play people are doing and how that's helped with communication.

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 17:33:01

Okay. It really depends what motivates your dd.

So for ds. We would put nearly everything out of reach, keep all access to fun things within our control so he had to ask, and ask, and ask.

So if he wants to draw something and wants a pencil he would have to ask for the 'red', and then 'green' and then 'yellow'. We would give him what he asks for. Then up the game, so he would have to get our attention first, by touching on the arm. Then we increased it to 'red pencil', then 'can I have the red pencil', etc etc.

We can do this with pieces of a jigsaw. 'can I have another piece' etc. Or bits of train track. Or blocks.

Once he starts to initiate you can make it more complex and offer choices. 'Shall we feed the teddy or the dolly?' What shall we feed him cake or chips?'

Is this the kind of thing you're interested in?

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 17:35:17

I suppose it starts with BIG stuff without things. Like tickling or playing round and round the garden. Anticipation stuff. Possibly blowing bubbles and waiting for a signal that she wants more!?

Eloise73 Thu 11-Nov-10 19:22:15

That's brilliant, yes, that's the kind of thing i'm looking for. I've just been so down today and crying like a moron because I just think we're not doing things right. At the moment we do lots of play and we do intensive interaction but to be honest it doesn't feel like we're getting anywhere and its getting me down.

StarkAndWitchesWillFindYou Thu 11-Nov-10 19:33:24

Well there is such a thing called 'sabotage' which once you practise you can get really good at.

It is things like giving a cup without any water in it, a yoghurt without taking the lid off, or without a spoon or both, or her blocks without undoing the lid, so she has to get your attention and ask. The smallest action should be interpreted as her request but once established you can get a bit more demanding about.

If she is interested you can try to get her to attempt a comment by putting your pants on your head and acting normal, or trying to eat your cereal with a bit serving spoon. Just really to get her attention. Then you can model 'silly mummy, pants don't go on the head'.

pillsthrillsandbellyaches Thu 11-Nov-10 21:02:01

hi, ruth is great and she will keep you right. i've never met anyone else who is as knowledgable about autism as she is.

she works with our son, but he sounds quite different to your daughter (he is non verbal).

most of our stuff is play based. and we do a lot of encouraging him to verbalise.

ruth will help you identify your targets and what activities you can use.

she's really lovely and magic with the kids.

good luck! i'm sure it will go well for you.

Eloise73 Thu 11-Nov-10 22:46:16

stark Love the pants thing, our daughter loves slapstick, that should work well DH is naturally like that anyway, I need to work at being silly.

pills thanks, we're excited about seeing Ruth.

Sputnik Fri 12-Nov-10 17:37:54

Some of the first things our SALT started with to increase communication were "open", "more" and "go". So for example he would have to ask us to open a box containing toys or food, we would blow up a balloon a little then get him to ask to have it blown up more. When it was full he would be ecouraged to say "go" to have us release it and let it fly around the room. Pushing cars or rolling balls back and forth between you is also good for "go", as well as encouraging turn taking, which is another thing the SALT is very keen on as it is a fundamental of conversation.
Please don't worry about seeming to be getting nowhere, sometimes it can seem that way but you will see progress as you look back.

Sputnik Fri 12-Nov-10 20:13:01

Just remembered some more: at the park you can encourage her to ask for help getting in and out of the swing or on and off rides etc. You do this by modelling repeatedly then prompting.
Any time you're putting things away say "bye bye" whatever it is. After about a zillion repetitions of this DS is now saying goodbye to actual people with around 60% accuracy (we are still working on it!).

I found this website quite helpful, there are a lot of ideas and information and a few short videos which show how you can incorporate language learning into play with preschoolers. At first you can just kind of narrate what they're doing anyway then move on to directing them to do things, with lots of praise along the way.

Good luck, it sounds like you are roughly where we were a few months ago with DS. A few months short of 3 he was barely communicating, even non verbally. He is 3 years and 5 months now, and has made great progress in the last months with just a bit of direction from the SALT and a lot of input from us.

ShadeofViolet Fri 12-Nov-10 20:53:02

We do alot of stuff that we learnt on the Hanen 'More than Words' course - alot of which is detailed above. My ds was non verbal when we started the course and he would pull or push people to what he wanted. We started putting his dummy on top of our fire so he couldnt reach it so he had to ask - we had to model to him 'dummy' about a thousand times but he got it in the end.

We try and say what he would if he could, so we say what he would say 'Can I have a biscuit' 'Can we go to the park' etc. Obviously that might be too complex a sentence for your DD (it would have been for DS a couple of months ago) but its working slowly.

My DS struggles with choosing so we do alot of choosing activities - as well as lots of jumping on his mini-trampoline.

Eloise73 Fri 12-Nov-10 21:24:50

Thank you all for the tips. My daughter obviously sensed that I was talking about her and her lack of communication so has upped her game in the last 36 hours and has come out with 'i've got poo', 'its raining' and 'its splash splash time' - yup, meaningful phrases lol!

I do sometimes wonder if perhaps she isn't saying as much because we think too much for her and anticipate too much. The tip about talking to her and saying what she would say is great, i'm trying to do that. Tonight I said 'I am drinking water' and she repeated it 3 times which was brilliant! She still tends to swallow her pronouns because I don't think they mean anything to her yet but am hoping it will come.

I should have said though that when it comes to food she seems to have no problems communicating what she wants: 'biscuit please' is a familiar phrase, as is 'milky', 'banana', 'chocolate' and 'crispies'...a balanced toddler diet...[hmmm]

I was having a VERY bad day the other day...I really appreciate all your advice and encouragement, its helped a lot.

Sputnik Fri 12-Nov-10 21:34:12

There you go
You bang on and on at something with seemingly no progress, then they surprise you! Then it's on to the next thing...
"I've got poo" sounds very encouraging, better than my DS's "a mummy a a poo", if he informs me at all.

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