Monday, April 29, 2013

Off and Away!

And so the week begins. Difficult to rise up this morning but excited that Monday is one step closer to Friday. Hallelujah!

Lazy butt me, tried to get up to run this morning considering the weather forecast this week is lookin like the hundos...or 90's, still too dang hot for April. Ya hear me? Anyways, the running didn't happen.

Today was the last day for a client I've been providing ABA to since November. ABA = Applied Behavioral Analysis. We go into homes and modify or shape behaviors in the given environment. The children I work with range from 1.5 to 5 years of age and all have Autism. We work on things that typically developing kids learn naturally. By doing so we create a very structured environment.

Throughout the session, structured and unstructured activities are addressed. Today we went for it and meandered out on a 30 minute walk, with bubbles of course! Safety skills, such as looking both ways before crossing the street and responding to commands take place while we walk. Half way through, my little friend needed some sensory time. We plopped down and went for it with the leaf droppings. It could not have been more exciting for him.

Working with some clients for a long period of time their language increases drastically. One might go from 1-2 words "want ball" to a 3-5 word phrase or sentence "I want ball,please". It's pretty exciting when this does happen. This lingo has changed the way I talk to my family and friends... oh, and even my dogs..."Want food?" "Ride, go?"

Repetition has been key in helping these kids learn new skills and behaviors. Not just for individuals with Autism but for all of us. There is a reason we have calendars and alerts on our smart phones. To keep us structured and organized.

It's a bittersweet day. While packing up my materials my client walked over to me, tapped my forearm, leaned his head over to make eye contact and said "Bye Sue-wah-wee"... or Natalie (Hey, it was close!). We have worked so hard on attention seeking and language. It was for sure there today. Thanks buddy. You rock!

Being an ABA teacher and working in the clients homes, I love these kids like they're my own. It's hard not to. We watch them grow and mature in just the few months we are with them. It's encouraging and a huge blessing for us and the families involved. It's always a nice feeling walking away knowing that you did good. A blog friend reminded me of the Dr. Seuss book Oh the Places You'll Go. It really connected today as I departed away.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Marvelous Monday

Today was one of those days where my three alarm clocks just weren't enough, the largest cup of coffee at Starbucks didn't fulfill, and every song on the radio was slow when I needed it to be fast.

Yet I still got up, got ready for the day, and headed to work- cus that's what big people do.

A weekend consisting of 1 full day off (Sunday) just isn't quite enough to rest up. I almost need a rest day off of a rest day.

I quickly remembered a quote a fellow blog friend posted "Just when you're ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens." Wow. perspective is key.

So I packed up my box with wheels and headed on out to do some ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and Speech Therapy with 8 little kiddos.

I love it and I love each of them. To call what I do for a living a job, is pretty silly because it's loads of fun. We play, we talk, and we learn how to have appropriate behaviors. There are days though, like today that I am pushed and challenged. Today, 2 students into my day, the challenge began.

This little fella worked me. He worked me so hard I was sweating after 6 minutes of therapy. All behaviors were present today from head butting, biting, and aiming so perfectly to spit on my face definitely happened. I was more motivated by now then ever to see change in this kid. Expressing his frustrations do not come verbally instead it's through negative behaviors. And they were very evident today.

During task avoidance we ignore and continue to encourage appropriate requesting... for him it is writing on the etch sketch. My repeatitive pointing as a redirection for a request was ever so consistent today. The etch sketch is his best friend and extremely motivating for him. Whoever created it, is flat out a genius.

The 25 minutes felt like 2 hours today, constantly blocking and redirecting behaviors to make use of our speech therapy time. We got through it and I was reminded of why I do what I do. It's not for everyone but I definitely love it.

Of course once the session was over and he needed to switch stations it was not on his terms. Therefore; the transition was difficult. He would rather stay and "work" (play) with the super cool gadgets Teacher Natalie had and not move on to continue with his structured day.


There are times when all we want to do is quit, take a day off, and pretend like everything else in the world is quiet too. But that's not reality. Sometimes just getting up in the morning feels like a big hill to climb, but ultimately when we keep our eye on the prize and push through, it's a win- win.

and trust me... you'll be glad you did :)

Happy Marvelous Monday!