Here are my key to do's from the Kaufman seminar as applicable to R
HIGHEST APPROXIMATION :
Make a list of favorite objects and write down the highest approximation that R can make of them
Example – Ming Ming ( Wonderpets character ) would be mi mi. Remote – would be – Mote. The idea is that practice makes perfect and so you keep practicing and replacing the lower approximation with a higher approximation
While its important to show approval for the best approximation – its also critical to model correctly – Example "R you want to open window? Say opuh widow – ( after R says opuh widddo then say "good saying open window")
START WITH MANDS
This basically means teach them language by first teaching them to demand things. So teach them the word Sprite because they love Sprite( if they do ) not to randomly label juice – If they have no interest in juice. This is because many Auties can label accurately without being able to use the word functionally ( this is not a problem for R largely because we have always followed this principle )
She seemed a big fan of errorless teaching and also said at all costs to avoid power struggles with the child
So for example if the child wants candy - just start by saying candy candy candy three times and immediately giving the child candy. The next time see if he will make even a little sound and reward and praise and give the candy immediately
Teach them to use phrases not just the word by teaching them the scripts - even if EACH word is an ( highest ) approximation. Example "I want to jump" instead of just "Jump"
If they can master any pivot syllable( something that could be a pivot for many other words ) like "ny"- teach them all the words with that – like honey , bunny, funny.
Similarly use Pivot phrases while using scripting. I pivot phrase would be something like "I want " "I see"
Say if they are having trouble with a word like Down teach them a bridge word like Daddy –
AVOID POTENTIAL PROSODY
Prosody means speaking in a monotone( inflection – less ) . So make sure when you model a script sentence or a word you speak it with a natural intonation not in a monotone!
RAPIDLY EXTINGUISH THE END DUH SOUND
R sayd "Byduh" in place of Bye – I asked her about this and she said its easy to start speaking but hard to stop which is the reason for the Duh at the end
But she said it has to stop as it's a habit that can continue
OTHER INTERESTING THINGS
I got to have lunch with her ( she did not single me out of the large audience for my extraordinary charms – but she had lunch with handful of parents that were there – as the audience comprised largely of SLP's )
So I asked her the question that we have been wondering about as to why he can say the e sound ( the way we say the letter e not how its said phonetically ) when stimming but cannot do it on demand
Kind of like an example of a child she gave who could stick his tongue out when a lollipop was held out in front of him but could not stick it out on demand
She said this is the classical sign of Apraxia but she did not say why this happens. Just shrugged her shoulders – LOL
She also talked about how Vincent Carbonne ( who is the expert on Verbal Behavior ) and one of her collegues have come together – Vincent Carbonne believed that the main challenge that auties have to language is lack of motivation. But the fact is that many auties have apraxia along with autism . So even when the motivation has come – the plain ability to speak may not be there
I will write more reflections – but the seminar was good and I am glad we went !