So this week, Jonah started working on “turn taking” as well as reinforcing vocalized requests that he already knows like “please” and [my] “turn” when he wants something (instead of just taking it).
At the time this was filmed, Jonah was not great at indicating he wanted something, other than just “taking it.”
The therapist is getting him to first vocally request “turn” before giving an item to him. From there, they can lay a foundation to establish turn-taking for he and other people.
His therapist also assessed his word count in this week and figured his vocabulary to be around 75-100 words that he can imitate. This is a huge victory from where we were a year ago (he could only say “done”).
Jonah also learned to vocally request “more bubbles” this week. He picked it up very quickly and began asking for “more bubbles” without any prompts required. This is also a first for us.
He loves playing peek-a-boo with his therapist and has really connected with him. Jojo will run to the door when the therapist arrives and yell “PEEK-A-BOO!!”
One thing we are working on is to say the word “please” when requesting things, specifically my phone. He will say it to request playing with my wife’s phone, but will only sign “please” when he wants my phone.
So he had a bit of a meltdown (just with me, after the therapist had left) when I was trying to teach him to verbalize the word “please” in addition to signing it, because I had changed the “rules” so to speak. But he was a trooper. He regulated himself without needing a lot of redirection and finally said “okay, okay, okay…” and the meltdown was done. Simply “signing” the word “please,” is fine but Jonah is capable of so much more, and I will always push him to do more than he thinks he is able.
And guess what? He did learn to say “please” and has verbally requested the “phone please” since then.
As far as “red flags” with ABA go, here’s what I’ve seen in 2 weeks:
- I haven’t seen any “compliance training” in the two weeks he has been here. Jonah is learning age-appropriate skills in a manner that is relevant to him.
- Jonah’s toys have not been taken from him or hidden from him until “next time.” As a matter of fact, the therapist just started bringing some toys of his own. Jonah only seems to be interested in bubbles…so that’s what they play with.
- There are no “tokens” being used for rewards.
- He has not received any “scooby snacks” as a reward for doing requested things and they have not used a single aversive if he’s “not compliant.”
- He does receive “praise” for doing something requested of him, but nothing I wouldn’t do myself. It is very genuine.
- The therapist doesn’t restrict his movement in any way and allows him to go where he wants.
- If Jonah doesn’t want to play, the therapist hasn’t forced him to do so.
This is still the “rapport-building” phase so I am still wary and have been present at every session. They haven’t done anything with Jojo that I wouldn’t do myself. So, we will keep going with it. So far, so good.