The good news is that in our little autism community, even though our kids often have behavior squalls at the same time, they also frequently synchronize their great days. So it was yesterday for Henry, and Charlie, and Bud (and hopefully, even more friends who have just been too busy enjoying the good times to post about them.)
Yesterday's "yipee!" for me came in the form of a note in Bud's School-to-Home Notebook. Since Bud's very first IEP we have been trying to help him take the skills we know he has at home, and transfer them to the classroom. In preschool we carefully worded his IEP so that his goals reflected the transferability - Bud will identify colors in the classroom environment; Bud will identify shapes in the classroom environment. In Kindergarten, the skills we know he has and are trying to help him transfer are more language-based - things like rhyming and sounding out words. Last spring when Bud struggled through an assessment with a child psychologist, the doctor suggested that we look into intervention models that would help strengthen Bud's facility with joint attention - ones that would help him understand that the teachers, doctors, parents and peers in his life have a separate agenda from his and have expectations of him; ones that would help him want to try to respond to those external expectations appropriately. This doctor was the one who first mentioned RDI to me, and who really set us on the course we're currently following.
So imagine my delight when I opened Bud's notebook today and found this note from Mrs. H:
Bud has had the most amazing two days. His sense of humor is in rare form, his energy level is finding a home between "high octane espresso" and "herbal tea." I find I can "joke" him out of potential escalations, and by saying "Hey, Bud, I need a hug," he'll come over for the hug and the directions I am then giving him.
I have started repeating lessons 1:1 with him after I have done it with the whole group. Today's favorite was "A Hunting We Will Go" where he gets to reach into the huge bag and pull out assorted Beanie Babies and one large sand-filled frog. It's a rhyming game. Here's how it went:
Song intro (please note - they were taught in September "the fox goes in the box" to catch on to rhyme)
Mrs. H: We catch a dog and we put him in a ---?
Bud: Box? (smiles)
MH: We could! What rhymes with dog?
B: Log. (tentative smile)
MH: Yes! (Big smile - song again)... catch a pig, put him in ---?
MH: Yes, what rhymes with pig?
B: Jig! (smiles and laughs)
Etc. - assorted animals are pulled out and EACH time B tells me the appropriate habitat for the animal. I agree with all of it and then ask for the rhyme - which he correctly gives me (and even plays with language!) Finally he pulls out the big, fat frog.
MH: Catch a frog, and put him in a ---?
B: (Pause. Pause. Pause. Pause. Looks at me, smiles and yells) BOG!
Habitat AND rhyme! Silly ol' Mrs. H - sometimes it takes you so long to get it! Happy Wednesday!
Happy Wednesday, indeed! Happy Wednesdays all around!