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(27 Posts)
misscutandstick Sat 18-Oct-08 20:09:00

just want to apologise to jimjams...

some months ago, we had a little discussion about 'pointing' and I said that i didnt see how you could teach someone 'how' to point and why.

Well, many apologies, it really wasnt that i didnt believe you - but rather i really didnt understand at all how one could teach a child how and why to point. I assumed (naiively blush) that a child either did, or did not - my own child still cant form a point (2.5y autistic) and doesnt follow one either.

However i have very recently started a training course for parents (run by inclusion/ECAP) which runs for 8wks and teaches parents all about autism - admittedly the first session was rather basic and didnt really tell me anything that i didnt already know (including myths and misbeliefs about autism.)

They gave out lots of reading material and packs to read - one in particular called 'teaching pointing' in the frameworks for communicating, was very enlightening. It speaks of how and why children should be taught to point and what implications that might have.

So, to summarise and conclude, im sorry blush it really wasnt that i didnt believe you, but i just couldnt get my head round it. sorry. XXX

cyberseraphim Sat 18-Oct-08 20:30:27

We do that at the hospital program - teaching pointing. DS1 could point before but the teaching shows him how to point for purposes other than his own - which has really helped with his speech too - At least that's what I attribute it it to

BetteNoire Sat 18-Oct-08 20:32:16

Excellent post, misscutandstick. smile

MannyMoeAndJack Sat 18-Oct-08 22:03:43

Whilst I understand the importance of pointing, I'm afraid all the 'teaching pointing' packs in the world, with their 'how and why children should be taught to point' injunctions, will not make my ds learn how to point, any more than a 'teaching imitation' pack would work.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sat 18-Oct-08 22:11:07

Are you sure I said that? Although thanks anyway We never really worked on pointing (other than the way I am now which is to try and get ds1 to maintain a point).

I suspect I talked about teaching imitation rather than pointing. Because I think that makes a huge difference and you open lots of different doors when a child learns to imitate. We did eventually teach ds1 to imitate but it took 2 and a half years

misscutandstick Sat 18-Oct-08 23:20:26

I suppose that we (both DS5 and I) are very lucky in that he will copy game playing to an extent, and body movements if they are simple enough, teaching him why im doing it may be altogether harder grin.

I appreciate that some children dont have that particular skill and may need to be taught that too with lots of love, encouragement and massive amounts of patience. XXX

PS nope, it was deffinately pointing as i said that DS5 had lost the ability at about a year old and you said that your DS had never done it at all and that you were in the process of trying to teach him how, and i said blush that i didnt see how you could teach someone to instinctively point to something if they hadnt the natural urge to do so blush. XXX

cyberseraphim Sun 19-Oct-08 07:03:05

DS1 could point (untaught) before the hospital program so we were working on expanding an existing skill for more general purposes. I have no experience of working on building the skill in the first place so apolgies to MMAJ as I did not mean my experience to be taken as something that can be easily done for all children. Imitation is still a weak area for us although DS1 will repeat words and phrases more readily now so that must be a form of imitation in that he repeats a word after me ? I'm not sure if it's immediate echolalia or not ? ASD is such a puzzle, Why is echolalia common in ASD children if they have poor imitation skill ? I suppose it means poor purposeful imitation.

amber32002 Sun 19-Oct-08 09:00:21

I guess it's because most people have brilliant automatic programming for copying others. The Manwatching book by Desmond Morris (from which I learned all about this - had no clue before) explains that people who are friends learn to match each other's body position, gestures, facial expressions - and all automatically. Not me. I have to focus so hard on one particular thing and then see if I can match it.

I do sometimes echo what people say because I'm waiting for my brain to stop doing something with my body (moving, walking, whatever else) so it can think about what's been said and work out what to say in response. It sort of keeps the words in my memory longer than they would be otherwise. Different from just repeating a word over and over again for no particular reason - we do that just because (in my view) it's comforting to know which word we're going to be hearing instead of completely surprise ones from people blush.

Pointing is quite a challenge, because for a start it means my centre of gravity has just changed by putting my arm out, which means I may have to think more about balance and less about what I'm saying. And if I'm having to point, it means I'm also probably having to talk/listen, and coping with someone facing me and looking at me, and working out what they need to see and why. Then they may go and move it, which means I have to re-think about where that thing is. That's at least five things to think of.

MannyMoeAndJack Sun 19-Oct-08 09:49:43

'I appreciate that some children dont have that particular skill and may need to be taught that too with lots of love, encouragement and massive amounts of patience. XXX'

I find this patronising, sorry. It's no different from telling the parents/carers of a physically impaired child to teach that child to learn how to walk using lots of love, blah, blah.

Sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, certain skills may never be taught or learnt.

This is why I've never gone on any ASD/SALT 'courses' - 99% of the material presupposes that the child has some understanding, can mimic and has the potential to learn the material.

misscutandstick Sun 19-Oct-08 16:08:01

i am sorry it wasnt meant like that, it was more meant at parents of children with severe learning disabilities who need to do things over and over before a child might possibly learn how to do whatever it was that was being taught. AND that takes an enormous amount of patience and love for the child. been there done that.

and if you have "...never gone on any ASD/SALT 'courses'..." how would you know what they consist of? and i am certain that even the most severe of LD has a limited learning capacity, rather than a complete lack of.

I didnt come to antagonise...

seems that i cant do right for wrong round here. sad

misscutandstick Sun 19-Oct-08 16:30:12

giving a moment or twos more thought to your post MMAJ, i think you are being a little cynical (or are you just feeling down today and not particularly optomistic?). there are ways and means around most things in life - its just finding them thats the job and a half.

AMBER: i read that book too! i found it very interesting, yes and the mimicing thing! its a thing that, since reading it, ive noticed a lot of couples do!

CYBER: its good to hear that it can work for some children and they do well with it.

BETTE: many thanks for your lovely comment smile

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sun 19-Oct-08 16:35:22

If your child has no imitation skills (and ds1 didn't) then the only way to 'teach' it is hand over hand. And of course for some children it won't happen.I honestly didn't think that ds1 would ever get it though and then suddenly he did. But not until aged 7. And I don't think it was just our teaching that got him there - he probably developed in some way as well (as we'd been teaching it for over 2 years without him getting it iyswim) , but I'm not sure he would have 'got' it without the teaching as well if that makes sense.

I also know what you mean about sitting in courses which are way above a child's level. The only course I've ever done that I think is aimed at ds1's level is the one we're doing now. And the very very early ABA stages (where they teach motor imitation- we then hit a brick wall as they move onto verbal imitation or assume that speech just sort of appears).

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sun 19-Oct-08 16:43:48

There are very few children who can't imitate at all, and I think unless you've had experience of that it's hard to imagine or understand how utterly disabling it is. It means that everything has to be taught hand over hand. And there are many many things that can't be taught hand over hand. It means the child has no idea that they can even do what they see others doing. It is very very difficult indeed.

Most programs designed for autistic kids assume that a child is imitating in some way. They also usually assume that a child will somehow develop language by magic - if not straight away then at some stage, and they usually assume some verbal imitation skills.

That's why, like Manny I've sat through things thinking 'what planet are these people on'.

misscutandstick Sun 19-Oct-08 17:16:05

jimjams i totally accept that, and im on board with you about your post.

MannyMoeAndJack Sun 19-Oct-08 17:46:33

'it was more meant at parents of children with severe learning disabilities'

that'll be my ds then

'and if you have "...never gone on any ASD/SALT 'courses'..." how would you know what they consist of

er, it's pretty obvious what the content of a MAKATON course will be. And I've seen the Early Bird course materials - not applicable to my ds for the most part, although great for teaching parents about text book autism. One of my ds's nursery workers did a highly regarded council-run ASD course a couple of years back....don't think she was able to apply any of it to my ds once back on the 'shop floor', given that he doesn't care about change, is not interested in Thomas the Tank Engine, has no obsessions, etc

'and i am certain that even the most severe of LD has a limited learning capacity, rather than a complete lack of'

Never said that this isn't the case but there's a difference between what my ds can learn and what other people suppose he could learn, even given the love, patience and the rest

'i think you are being a little cynical (or are you just feeling down today and not particularly optomistic?)'

ROFFLE - you'll be asking me if I'm pre-menstrual next!!!

It would truly, truly be great if I could teach my ds the basics, it really, really would. We've tried and so have many, many other people over the years (he's nearly 6yrs old); we still try and so do school. Alas, so far, no joy...but maybe, one day, one day...

misscutandstick Sun 19-Oct-08 19:50:59

grin are you? grin

{hugs} i honestly dont set out to offend anyone, but it seems i have a knack.

Good luck with your DS im sure one day (hopefully soon) that you will get the little ray of hope you both deserve. XXX

mumgoingcrazy Mon 20-Oct-08 15:20:09

Since reading this post I have looked on the internet for "teaching Pointing" and can't find anything. Can you tell me a) where I can get a pack or b) if brief enough to post, how you teach pointing. My DD2 is 16 months and not even close. Thanks very much.

cyberseraphim Mon 20-Oct-08 15:49:20

I have an information pack from the hospital that describes pointing and other techniques for communication delayed children. I can photocopy it if you like and post it to you.

misscutandstick Mon 20-Oct-08 17:41:40

i have the number of the woman who gave me the pack (includes things like "first communication", "interactive playing", and other bits and pieces) its aimed i think primarily at children with ASD but its really informative and its not reams and reams (which TBH I really dont have the time for!). I will be seeing her in the morning (shes part of the ECAP team) and i can ask her to post a copy of each for you. Send me your address and i will pass it on. email me at the same name as above at yahoo dot com.

Or if you prefer cyber can send you the one she has, i really dont mind and dont want to toe tread. whatever you would prefer. XXX

mumgoingcrazy Mon 20-Oct-08 19:30:50

Thanks very much both of you. As I've now got misscutes email address it'll probably be easier to just email her. Thanks though Cyber, I can't wait for her to point and start communicating more.

mumgoingcrazy Mon 20-Oct-08 19:35:05

Misscut I've emailed you so I hope you get it. Thanks again to you both xxxx

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Mon 20-Oct-08 19:59:46

With any form of teaching advice do ask yourself whether your child can imitate first. If not you have little choice but to teach hand over hand. (Although you can certainly work on things like interaction without imitation).

Manny made a good point earlier about Makaton. DS1 was in pre-school in the days when not that many people were trained in PECS. No-one who was trained was available for him so he was given someone who only used Makaton. Well what a waste of time that was. She signed at him, we tried to learn some, he didn't pick up anything at all. You can teach Makaton hand over hand (although we didn't understand about that then) but really you may as well use PECS.

Also for things like pointing dyspraxia can interfere. DS1 cannot maintain an index finger point very easily at all. If I need him to maintain one I do it hand over hand.

mumgoingcrazy Mon 20-Oct-08 20:41:12

DD2 can imitate some sounds and gestures, but she doesn't imitate a pointy finger. I do hand over hand to push certain buttons on her books etc but she hasn't imitated it yet.

With all her therapies they all do Makaton with her (she's grasped 'more' and 'me') but I havn't heard of Pecs, what is the difference and why is it better?

misscutandstick Mon 20-Oct-08 21:31:05

sorry MGC havent received anything yet... oops! just realised i used 'com' when its actually co dot uk. sorry

mumgoingcrazy Tue 21-Oct-08 10:55:06

Hello misscut, I've sent it again, hope you get it. Thanks again xxx

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