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DS2 "may struggle as the curriculum becomes more abstract in Year 1"

(23 Posts)
linglette Wed 23-Sep-09 20:25:58

I met my paed. today (and educated her about the timetimer, calendar, family tree, clock, etc - I feel like your Apostle sometimes Moondog except when I am expressing my love of Stanley Greenspan).

She's happy for me not to seek diagnosis (she no longer has any credible answer to the question "what for?" given that no-one thinks he needs 1-1 support) and also happy for me to see her annually as his needs may change. All good stuff. Meanwhile, I've told the SALT that her job is to assert, repeat, and repeat again to the nursery staff that DS2 is a visual learner with a fear of whirring noises. Then she should go back a month later and train them all over again...then again a month later, and so on until he's 18.

The SALT warned me that when a child is progressing well like DS2, problems sometimes kick off in Year 1 "when the curriculum becomes more language-heavy and abstract"

It made me wonder (as I often have done) - how come (i)he's so good with numbers and they are abstract (ii)ditto letters (iii)"spectrummy" people who do very well in life tend to gravitate to jobs where they work with entirely abstract information (computer code or musical notes, for example).

Does anyone know what the profs really mean by "abstract" other than "wh?" questions? Why are numbers somehow not abstract when our kids are drawn to them? Is "concrete" only things you can see?

debs40 Wed 23-Sep-09 20:51:12

I think the abstract is more in relation to abstract reasoning, affecting study areas such as literature or conceptual studies such as philosophy or religion. This fits in with the idea of 'literal reasoning' and it is why those with AS may be more comfortable with 'facts' and 'figures', although the dividing line is not always clear. I imagine it follows from the like of predictability and routine too.

My son is in Yr 2 and hasn't hit that problem as yet. I would anticipate it later in the school though

linglette Wed 23-Sep-09 21:04:28

Hmm, thanks for replying.

OK so it's "abstract reasoning".

Presumably, mechanical problem-solving is considered a different kind of reasoning then?

debs40 Wed 23-Sep-09 21:27:09

As I say the dividing line between the two will not always be clear and of course these things will differ from person to person.

On a general level, that is one of the problems that children with AS can have. As I understand it, the process of generalizing from concrete examples can be an issue.

TotalChaos Wed 23-Sep-09 21:30:37

lingle - when asking around on here, the general opinion is that with language problems etc, difficulties are more likely to arise at junior school stage, than at the transition between year R and year one. eg. DS's year one topic for this half term is toys - so they bring in toys, have a "toy shop", consider the different materials the toys are made of, look at toys through history - i.e. old toys, and toys they played with when they were babies etc. I think that numbers can appeal because they are constant and fixed, and more certain and concrete than social interactions.

moondog Thu 24-Sep-09 09:10:39

It's a near impossible task for an overworked SALT to ensure that everyone whoworks with a child with language problems is trained and updated regularly.
So, you have a choice: argue about it for hours in pointless meetings or tackle the situation yourself in a practical manner and present as a fait accompli.

I would compile a groovy communication passport (tonnes more info. and pictures for inspiration on the Internet) and circulate copies as appropriate. Make a note in your diary top update it every 6 months.

Create a contract of sorts
'I have read Tingler Jr.'s communication passport and understand the content and agree to act according to advice therein'

Give copies to school/nursery and ask that one of IEP goals is for this contract to be returned, signed, at 6 month intervals.

Then you can keep track.

OT/SALT/teacher can add/revise sections as appropriate but it isn't hard to do and if you include photos and other nifty stuff, people will love it, especially other kids.

cyberseraphim Thu 24-Sep-09 09:45:52

I suppose it;s things like - the distance between two points can be measured and is absolute - say 60 cm but the concept of distance itself is abstract. The study of mathematics may involve pure abstractions that have no model in the visual/perceptual world (although maths can help show an underlying order in that world) - maybe not in Year 1 though !

linglette Thu 24-Sep-09 10:13:34

Oh good gracious I wasn't planning on leaving them to it Moondog. Given that I'm the only person who (a) doesn't have any obligations to tick boxes (b) understands his needs and (c) has a view on language delay/ASD that dates from later than circa 1984, I'm clearly the only candidate for team leader here.

The paed. loved my moondog-inspired "bag of tricks" yesterday. She saw that appropriate work had been done and treated me with respect after that (which makes a nice change). You have my gratitude for that. Have you considered writing a book of case studies?

Have done the things you recommend <awards self sticker>save for the "contract" idea - that one might be "de trop" because they know I'm a lawyer IYSWIM.

What I meant about the SALT is that each time she goes into nursery (about twice a term - spends a whole morning there looking at 3 children all of whom are visually oriented) I want her to start from the beginning each time demonstrating the visual learner idea. I don't care if she never gets beyond getting them to truly "get" the principle since if they could just grasp that, then they could apply their own creativity and intelligence.

Ideally moondog I'd like an ABA consultant to come in and train........not DS2.....but the staff!!!!!!!

silverfrog Thu 24-Sep-09 10:21:06

getting an ABA consultant in to do that is a possibilty (as long as the settign are willing)

at dd1's last pre-school we had a couiple of the staff come home for an ABA day - they were blown away by:

a) how much dd1 could do,

b) how easy it all was to do (they had been warned off ABA type stuff by SALT etc)

c) how much they learned about how to do/not to do things in just one short day (as oppose to the amount of wasted time each time SALT/Portage/OT went into pre-school)

our ABA cons is very happy to do this type of thing (sadly, dd1's current setting totally anti-ABA. but she won't be there much longer so look forward to a better working relationship at next place - in fact, this time around that will be a crucial deciding facotr)

silverfrog Thu 24-Sep-09 10:22:10

oh, and unsurprisingly, following that day dd1 got on a LOT better at pre-school, and got a lot more out of it.

linglette Thu 24-Sep-09 10:22:18

thanks total and cyber <head explodes>. Funny, I find that stuff really hard - once it's called "philosophy" I sort of panic! Maybe DS2 and I can learn together.

I needed Amber yesterday! I confessed to my own face-blindness and they looked concerned and sympathetic. I so wanted to say "yes but you are probably music-blind". I hope Amber comes back one day.

linglette Thu 24-Sep-09 10:32:07

Gosh Silverfrog so it can be done?

The SALT mentioned some traing that's being provided by the Council for the staff.

Do you think it would be ok for me to ask for a copy of the handout/materials they get? Because then I could try to use the same vocabulary......

linglette Thu 24-Sep-09 10:32:56

Also, does anyone know how I would find an ABA consultant in the leeds/bradford area?

silverfrog Thu 24-Sep-09 10:39:32

well, we did it, that's all I know.

we paid for ABA day (which we would have been holding anyway, as consultant comes down every 6 weeks or so to oversee programme), and invited dd1's keyworkers, if they wanted to.

they were lovely, and fell over themselves to take us up on the offer - they really wanted to do anythign at all to help dd1 settle/achieve/learn. they were a marvellous pre-school, whose only interest was the outcomes for the child, no matter how it was achieved. they re-organised the whole place for dd1 (and another child) - started makaton for them (not that dd1 needed it, but it was something they were willing to learn, and saw it as a good skill for all the children and for them to have for the future), the list goes on, really.

htey were totally of the mindset that it is worth listening to someone who has a skill you do not, and weighing up whether you can use that skill effectively.

they loved the day at home, and got really involved -asking questions etc. our ABA cons would have been happy to do it at school too, if we had stayed there, as a follow up. always valuable to see how children react differently in different places etc.

I don't think it unreasonable to ask for copies of handouts, either - you might want to think about who you ask. Council might say no on the basis it is for professionals, not parents. pre-school might well share with you in your ds's best interests (which is what dd1's old preschool woudl have done)

silverfrog Thu 24-Sep-09 10:41:15

most consultants travel (you pay travel expenses)

have a trawl through some of the ABA posts - there are loads of us working with diff consultants on here atm.

I am happy to answer q's about ours, and pass on details etc. he is fabulous - very easy going and mostly concerned with ptting in place real world stuff that helps both dc and families operate as they should.

linglette Thu 24-Sep-09 10:42:49

Oh thanks Silverfrog, I will try to think of a tactful approach - don't want to frighten them all and make them clam up.

moondog Thu 24-Sep-09 11:12:37

Linglette (I think I'm keeping up with the name changes) I'm glad the paed. liked the stuff. People remember concrete examples so much better than vague guff endemic in this field.
I love the practical problem solving that is needed in this field. Was having a think with some colleagues yesterday on a toilet training programme using a Motivaider (vibrator which can be timed to go off at regualr intervals, alerting child and/or staff of need for visit to the loo. All well and good. But the child wears a pull-up, so zero motivation or reason to wee in potty. Has complicated equipment on legs which noone can face removing every time he has a wee if pull-up removed. Soooo, what needed is tonnes of undies and trousers with velcro-ed sides that one can whisk away in Full Monty manner when he is wet. Without feeling wet, I suspect he will never toilet train successfully. Now if I was his parent, I would get out the sewing machine and not bother with calling in troops of nurses and OTs.

Yes, I do write and publish and have more in the pipeline. Not enough hours in the day unfortunately.

Ask for the handout, by all means. Vital that people all using smae terminology and model. Again, central tenet of our ABA Precision Teaching data collection philosophy using Standard Celeration chart so info. can be shared in minutes thus saving valuable time.

ABA is about changing the environment in order to effect change in targetted individual (and other peopel are derfined as part of the environment) so you are spot on in observation re that Tingler.

I never try and change a child (or adult) in isolation. NEVER WORKS.

I don't see that a relaxed contract is an issues. I use them with staff (we all work on drafting the action plan too). If they don't do as it says, they can be pulled up on it in non recriminatory way.

Part of ABA problem is that most are outsiders (raidly changing though) and were often slick Americans. Also undoubtedly some charlatans (as is case with all professions) in past, wielding snake oils.

That's why it is vital to embed it in public service. There's nothing in it personally for me-just makes me a better SALT. So, as part of 'the establishment' i think people buy it from me a little more thna may do otherwise.

Happily, now stringent protocol in place if want to cal oneself a behavior analyst. Always look for someone with MSc or PhD in subject and the letters BCBA after name (board certified behaviour analyst).

ouryve Thu 24-Sep-09 22:24:24

Moondog, DS1's learning support assistant made oen of those for him when he moved from reception, which is self contained, into year 1 where he's likely to meet lots of other people who barely know him. It's a great approach.

ouryve Thu 24-Sep-09 22:27:03

Communication passport, I mean.

moondog Thu 24-Sep-09 22:37:25

Oh good for her!
Did you have a chance to give some input too?

brokenspacebar Thu 24-Sep-09 23:57:14

Good thread.

grumpyoldeeyore Fri 25-Sep-09 17:51:06

Autism Partnership based in Leeds are ABA consultants - am going to sneak them into DS's nursery some time soon...

linglette Fri 25-Sep-09 18:51:57

Thanks Eyeore. Wonder if they would have an issue with the fact I don't believe DS2 is autistic? Only one way to find out I guess......

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