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SALT's help needed please - i have an opportunity, but dont know what to do with it!

(11 Posts)
misscutandstick Tue 14-Oct-08 07:10:24

I dont know if you remember (i think i was speaking with Moondog) but i managed to do a copying game with DS5 (2.5y autism non-verbal) where he would do a set of routines and copy me eventually

IE. I fold arms, he folds arms, then he looks around to see if anyone else was doing it (managed to get everyone to join in the 'exciting game') he will play for maybe about a minute, before he gets bored, and if the actions are too complex he gives up and wanders off. So far we've managed: arms folded, hands on head, fingers on nose, and arms like an aeroplane.

I can see we have an opportunity here to do SOMETHING with this... but i dont know what, and i dont want to lose his interest because hes bored with the game, what can i introduce that would help while i have this opportunity? Many thanks for reading.

PS he also has verbal dyspraxia, maybe something that would help that maybe?

lingle Tue 14-Oct-08 20:02:52

I don't know the answer but am bumping this for you.

stillsuchamess Tue 14-Oct-08 22:17:44

It's exciting that your DS is copying, I think it makes learning things so much easier.
Have you considered copying in other contexts, eg pretend food/ tea party, sweeping, pretend lawn mower etc. When my DS's copying skills almost non existent I noticed that he was good at copying big physical actions such as sweeping & digging.

Recently we have had a good time using percussion instruments to copy sounds/ rhythms.
Ifyour DS is copying physical actions can you extend this to help him earn some action songs that he can enjoy with others? ( you said he looks around to see whether others are joining in the current game) eg, heads shoulders knees & toes, here we go round the mulberry bush

I haven't got any experience re verbal dyspraxia so can't offer specific.

Have you read Playing, Laughing and Learning with Children on the Autistic spectrum by Julia Moor, i found it useful


misscutandstick Wed 15-Oct-08 22:14:02

thanks mess - its a new branch of ideas i hadnt thought of, though im not sure that he'd have the faintest idea of what i was doing if i tried 'sweeping', and he doesnt like me or anyone singing, plus if the 'mime' gets anymore complicated than a one movement/2limb movement it all gets too much and he wanders off... but i SHALL PERSEVERE! it took him about a month to get the 'hands on head' movement! will ramp it up a bit and see if it goes anywhere!

stillsuchamess Wed 15-Oct-08 23:19:21

sorry, forgot to say that I'm not a SALT, but then you probably guessed.
What would he think about very simple rhymes spoken rather than sung,
Does he have any activities that he enjoys that you could develop shared attention through? or things he watches you doing with interest. I just used sweeping as an example because it's something that has always fascinated my DS so once his own brush was intorduced, he was keen to get going- tends to 'un sweep' anything I have swept though grin
If he is copying simple movements, have you thought about using makaton / some sign.Positive rewards of tasty treats/ favourite toys he likes alongside appropriate signs, anything he might be tempted by?

With my DS I thought that his copying was pretty non-existent, and it has developed over the past while. However, when I really watched what he is doing I also noticed that he was copying more than I realised, it was partly that it was either subtle or as was often the case something undesirable copied from his little brother eg, toddler lies down in street because he wants a carry, DS lies down. I got DS to stand back up and then suddenly realised he was copying. So I kept a sharper look out for any copying and reinforced it verbally, there was more going on than I realised.

well done for persevering,
hope someone else can offer you some more ideas of how to develop this further

moondog Thu 16-Oct-08 22:47:16

He is thinking
What's in it for me/?' which is reasonoable enough!!

Have you thought of introducing a reinforcer which is just a fancy word for something he likes (however weird and wacky)?

Make getting the reinforcer contingent on him imitating you. Stretch it gradually over time to get a sequence going that is longer and/or more complicated.

Imagine that he like something sparkly. Get him to copy then at the moment before yuo sense he starts to flag, give him access to the sparkly thing. Allow him to examine and play with it for a short time, then whisk it away saying 'My turn!' and then prompt him to copy something else, then give it back.

Make sense???

This is basic ABA.

misscutandstick Fri 17-Oct-08 09:43:22

Yeh makes perfect sense! its sounds a great way to get his motivation going, and help him to concentrate for just a little longer, thanks!

There was just one little thing - what sort of things should i get him to copy that would be useful? so far we've just done 'whole body' kind of movements (he has dyspraxia too) which I think (but im only guessing)might help him realise where parts of his body are...

But what about more fine tuned movements? would doing makaton signs (for example) help him at all, or would it confuse him more because the thing that im signing isnt directly in front of him? pointing at things, would that work, or would it only serve to confuse him more? he has very limited understanding at the moment and uses visual clues to understand whats happening.

so, what could i get him to copy that would be useful, now that we've sorted getting him to do it for longer?

PS sorry to ramble, just dont want to mess up an opportunity. Thanks.

moondog Fri 17-Oct-08 18:59:32

I don't feel that signs should be practiced out of context. By all means reinforce him for signing but do so in a realistic situation (eg show him a biscuit, model the sign, prompt him to do it and give him a little bit of it with loads of praise when he attempts it and succeeds.)

Only exception would be when signing along with action songs. Something special on CBeebies is great and i often recommend Sing & Sign dvds which are great.

If you want a really fun easy to read intro. to the principles of ABA, i highly recommend
Don't shoot the dog by karen Pryor.

UniS Fri 17-Oct-08 20:05:48

biscuit is a fun easy sign*. took boy very little time to connect the sign with the thing. cake was another.
Not teh heathyest maybe, but fun.

* we use hand cupping opposite elbow. boy uses hand somewhere on or about opposite elbow.

misscutandstick Sat 18-Oct-08 19:58:23

Uni - unfortunately hes on a restricted diet, so the only biscuits on offer taste like Bonio's grin which understandably he isnt overly keen on.

However, went to a parent partnership training thingy on tuesday blush it has taken me this long to look through all the manuals they gave us, but one of them is titled 'teaching pointing' and why it is so important to get the very basics in place (at any time in the childs life) to help with communication. so! gonna do lots of pointing type actions with reward of spinning sparkly thing he loves - he cant actually form a point yet, but at least i have somewhere to go with it now. many thanks for everyones input on this thread smile

Marne Sat 18-Oct-08 20:44:56

We have just started the copying game with dd (2.7 ASD), up until a few weeks ago i could'nt get her atention at all but since she started going to the playgroup she has started to copy things she see's. I get her to copy me chop fruit with a plastic kniffe, touch parts of her body and draw shapes on paper. Last week whilst at nursery she fed a doll with a bottle (this was the first time she has realy used her imagination).

Dd has just started using PECS at playgroup which she seems to be doing well with, she is making lots of new sounds but is still non-verbal.

Dd only realy started pointing a few months ago but would use my hand (my grabbibg it and dragging it) to point for her, now she has started using her own hand, when she uses my hand she does'nt get what she wants until she uses hers.

We were advised by the SALT to copy what she does when she plays (dd only plays with puzzles so we use them), after a while she will copy me and we do the puzzle together. Last week i watched her do a puzzle with a little boy at nursery, they took it in turns and dd would not put a piece down until the little boy had put a piece down even if she could see a piece that fit.

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