Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Parenthood--the TV show

I have started watching the new TV show, "Parenthood".  (Go to to watch any episodes you may have missed).  In it, a family gets a diagnosis of Asperger's for their 3rd grader.  When they meet with the psychologist, they are told to "meet him where he is".  At the end of the show, the dad is shown "joining in" with the child, in pirate play.  I LOVED it!!   No ABA drilling.  Just relationship building.

The next episode has a therapist come to the house.  She is able to get the child to join in with other kids.  The mom is sad and a bit jealous that this newcomer could do this, so quickly, after she had been trying for years. (Granted, this IS TV--but it did a good job of showing a family with a child on the Spectrum)  The older sister explains to her dad that it has been "about" her younger brother since as far back as she can remember.  It totally caught the dad off guard, hearing this.

Before I meet with parents, I have learned to explain that I may be able to engage their child better than they can, because this is what I signed up for.  THEY did not.  My job is to teach them how to do what I do.  I do this 5-6 days a week for at least 4 hours a day and LOVE it. If there are typical siblings, I will eventually try to engage them in activities, but usually wait until the child is at least a solid "level 4". (See below for Greenspan's levels.)

DIR Model means = Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based approach. There are six developmental levels. These stages are:

1. Self-regulation and interest in the world (3+ months)
2. Forming relationships, attachment and engagement (intimacy) (5+ months)
3. Two-Way Communication (9+ months)
4. Complex Communication (12-18+ months)
5. Emotional Ideas (24-30+ months)
6. Emotional Thinking (34+ months)

Some kids can be "swiss-cheesy" and have parts of every level, but missing aspects of every level.  Some kids (usually the verbal ones) have more solid level 4-6, but lots of "holes" in the lower levels.  The goal is to close the holes in the lower levels, which makes it easier to transition to higher levels.  My specialty is the lower levels.

Recently, I started working with my first client who is pretty well rounded in all levels.  That has been interesting for me, as I am not used to kids who can do the things she can do.  She was able to initiate "duck duck goose" with the whole family.  She actually came to look for me in "hide and seek" and hid FROM me, too (although she hid where I hid previously).   She still has holes, but they are small--trouble with pronouns, trouble with empathy, some socialization issues, but those are getting less.  I can't wait until she goes to "regular" Kindergarten!

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PLAYing with Passion

Autism, Floortime, PLAY Project