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ABA - could it help my son?(22 Posts)
OP, sorry about misunderstanding, I thought you were teaching the session for some reason.
Bialy I know you are right about teaching them appropriate behaviour, but the "differentiation" bit is the key isn't it.
I suspect we all do a version of ABA on our ASD children when we have the time and even when we don't..., just that it is difficult to remember in situations where safety of our dcs or others is an issue, out of blue. I find that I lose a lot of ground when I am in situations where I end up "reacting", when avoiding that particular scenario until ds is a bit more mature, might be the best for all concerned. After all ASD is an a lag in emotional development as much as anything else, so there will be a time where they naturally learn that certain behaviours are less appropriate, just that is two years behind...
I totally agree with what bialystock says. ABA has opened up a whole wrold of activities for ds - if we had simply said "this is beyond his capabilities and we shouldn;t expect it of him" that wouldn;t have happened and his life would be so much more limited than it currently is.
I remember within a few weeks of starting his programme so many things opened up for us - reading together, drawing together, sharing programmes on TV - all stuff parents of NT kids take for granted but were closed to us because ds just had no capacity for shared attention. I remember the first time he turned round from watching Night Garden to share his enjoyment with me and see if I was looking - a very happy moment for us both.
Inthewilderness the thing about ABA is that it is simply a method of teaching children/people how to cope and how to learn new skills. If my ds really would enjoy something and really wants to join in but struggles with one aspect of it (eg team rules in football, or having to run within lines on a race track for example), I would do everything I could to help him learn those skills.
I also know that since we started ABA and started equipping ds with skills in areas he was finding difficult, I have not left any activity in tears (a frequent occurence in his early years), and more importantly, he has become 100x happier in every aspect of his life. When he was 3yo he didn't know how to communicate, how to interact, how to play. Within six months of ABA he had been given a way of communicating, learning how to interact, and how to play.
Sorry, I really don't mean to pick you out personally, but I do feel saddened when people are told to lower their expectations.
You wouldn't think of an nt child "oh reading is hard for them - let's lower our expectations and not try and teach them". Imo there's no reason why you should not try and do the same with children with ASD - obviously you would differentiate according to their development/abilities etc but just to give up on even trying to teach a child (whether through ABA or any other intervention) is damaging.
Rant over, sorry. I hope this hasn't come across as personal, don't mean it to - I just feel really strongly about this.
FWIW I also agree that a teenager could do the same job in this particular circumstance - but could easily be trained in simple techniques to help the OP's ds in learning the rules of the club.
Still ABA aware, Pipin, but public services all massively cut
Thanks for the different perspective. I am there just for him, I don't coach the other kids, there is a coach there for them. I just explain to ds what he's meant to do as he tends to not listen to the coach (he keeps telling me he knows what to do) but then again some of the other boys are the same and I remind them all what they've to do. Maybe I am expecting too much of him. I have worked with children on the spectrum before, both in Montessori and as a childminder but probably because he's my son I suppose I expect a lot. Plenty of things for me to think about.
I can remember so clearly ds2 screaming as I pulled him away from the aisle at the concert, screaming he just wanted to join in. It was horrendous, and I really let it get to me (I knew I was spoiling his sister's performance if he behaved oddly in front of her friends) but what I also remember was how upset ds was to be pulled away, how hurt he felt at being told he couldn't do what he thought was a good idea.
So, a difficult place, and you are not alone in feeling how you feel, and wanting to solve it with a magic bullet. But sometimes it takes a shift in expectations more than anything else. Downwards!
Presumably if you asked a teenager to "be there for him" during the session it would achieve much of what an ABA tutor would, in a considerably cheaper fashion.
I know nothing about ABA but what really struck me about your post was the way you felt that your ds should be behaving. It might be really difficult for him to behave in this situation and there is not much you can do about it, except just pay for a babysitter, leave him at home for the time being.
If you think what you are asking him to deal with, it is an awful lot. Children with HFA (or other autism I presume) can require constant sensory feedback, and that's when all the fidgeting, running amok bit kicks in. They are also not able to understand without constant reinforcement, WHY they can't do x y z in some situations rather than in others where they are allowed. Combined with stress of a public place, and mum being stressed with their behaviour.
I really really sympathise with your tears. I once took ds2 to see his sister perform in a concert in an unfamiliar place, and he went completely bananas, aged 9, trying to run up to the front, dance to the music, wave to her. And he is so wellbehaved in school, went on a residential trip no problems for 4 days, goes on school trips has no 1:1 support in school at all. These outbursts of non-compliant "abnormal" behaviour blow up in "stressful" situations. I should NOT have expected ds2 to cope at that concert, and unless you have someone supporting him 1:1 I suspect the gym sessions will continue to be an issue, because you are there for the other children and he probably knows it.
OP, all the stuff about consultants/supervisors is because normally, even if you have a tiny programme going, someone has to set the programme and oversee it - even if that means once a month or once a year. The 'tutor'(s) is the person(s) who actually do the work itself, carry out the programmes as set by the supervisor.
We're in England so don't get funding for, well anything.
Thanks ladies, we're in Ireland so don't get funding from SS. There is a mum in the gym who has worked as a ABA tutor amongst other things with children with autism in New Zealand and I really like her, she was so supportive yesterday. She's not working in Ireland doing it so don't know whether she would do it or not, plus I'm not sure how ABA works. You're all talking about consultants and supervisors. I'll ask a friend here, she works as an ABA tutor in a special school. She should be able to give me an idea of cost etc., I didn't want to ask her originally as I don't want her to think I want her to do it as she has a young family and works fulltime. Thanks.
I would say yes - I would suggest getting an ABA supervisor to work with / train the coach / staff and your son and then the ABA person fade out with perhaps occasional supervision to see how its going. I often think its easier for a non parent to do. That way he will learn I go here and the rules are ... and associate the coach with those rules. Whereas with you the boundaries are blurred and it can be hard to be Mum in some situations and sports coach in another situation and different rules in different places. It may be easier for someone else to do it.
Also ultimately you want him to do it for other adults and be independent of you so I would work on that.
If they feel he need supervising you should try to get short break funding from social services for 1:1 support to enable him to access leisure activities and then I personally would get that person ABA trained rather than rely on council training.
IMHO,I think you are asking too much of him to stay involved when he is not getting direct 1:1 feedback from an adult during session. Ds2 has been in lots of sports classes, and I would say he only started when he was older and VERY used to school PE lessons. He dropped out of ballet (! Yes I know, but he loves to dance) because he couldn't cope with the expectations, although he loved it at 3 when he was allowed to run around and be a plane etc... He droppd out of Cubs for same reason (fidgeting, getting uneasy, distracted by noise). He LOVES football sessions atm and 1:1 tennis, but the football is extremely structured, small group indoors. Also loved swimming lessons 6 children in group.
Wait a while, and he may be able to cope better. Ds2 started managing when he was 8 years.
Tbh although I'm an advocate I woukd be very careful about who I chose to help and their purpose. As bialy said, the expertise is rare, but some might overstate their ability to help.
Posted too soon. Also meant to say, it might not even need a tutor - if you have a supervisor who can give you strategies, and some ongoing support (eg once a month?) and it's just on a specific problem, you can probably do it yourself.
We've been doing ABA with my ds (HFA) since he was 3 and he's now nearly 6yo, and I'm a massive advocate. I would say it would definitely help him - imo the approach of ABA would work for anything, on just about anyone (included nt children) as at its core it's simply finding ways of motivating people to address their skill deficit.
But tbh I think in your situation it's probably not worth you paying out lots of money for a full programme. Also (as we are finding out) it is hard (but not impossible) to find supervisors/tutors with real expertise in slightly older, HF children. I think in your situation it might be worth having a consultation with a good supervisor or consultant, getting advice about where they think the real problems stem from, and finding a single, good tutor for a couple of hours a week - a bloke who's into sports would be great! (we had one once - male tutors are rare but do exist!). Or at least a tutor who could go along to the sports and work with the instructor, and give you strategies to use.
He's 6 yrs 7mths old. I'd like him to take more part in the class and if he really doesn't want to take part in something to just sit on the floor quietly without disturbing the others. Am I asking too much?
How old is he?
The straight answer is yes, but you need to be clear what the component parts of the 'problem' are.
My Dad formed a dance group of children with various issues including developmental disabilities and taught every one of them to play a musical instrument using what I now recognise as ABA, despite deign neither able to dance nor play an instrument himself. They became internationally recognised and booked for various international festivals with expenses paid.
It's amazing stuff.
I've seen some knowledgeable people here and I'm wondering if they could tell me if ABA could help my DS. He has high-functioning autism, copes very well in mainstream school with no assistance but has problems when it comes to sports. I bring him to gymnastics every week. its a small group of 9 kids ranging from 12 down to 5. DS will do his running but not stretching and will then only take part in the parts of class that he likes. Yesterday he had a meltdown as I wouldn't let him wander playing with a ball as there was someone older working on high bar and another group of girls working on another piece. He screamed the place down when I took him back to the door as he was a danger to himself and others and then screamed again when the class finished as he said he really did want to take part in what the others were doing.
Anyway, could ABA help him become more motivated to be involved in the class. I came home in tears for the 2nd time from gym, I stay and supervise him as I'm also a coach (for kinder and mother and toddler groups) and all my kids have been involved in the club for year. Sorry this is so long but I really need ideas, thanks.
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