|Becca really wanted to go the pool a few weeks ago.|
The only reason I bring it up is because as part of prepping for our meetings I've been making a list of the things Becca *can* do. I was pleased by the list, and to me it makes it pretty clear Becca is "in there" and she just needs people who believe that's true in order for her to succeed. We have made so much progress even just over the summer, I'm honestly a little scared to lose it if I can't get the school on board.
Here's what Becca can do:
- reach out in front of her when something she wants is in front of her (i.e. toy boat in the pool, toy dog on the floor, candy crush on the tablet, communication switch)
- make eye contact to confirm a question ("yes", i.e. "is yellow your favorite color" "do you want to go to the pool")
- not make eye contact to say "no" to a question (i.e. "do you want to go outside", "do you want to stay home from school today")
- not make eye contact when she knows the answer is "yes", then laughing when we "catch" her (i.e. "did you poop", "did you go swimming at school today", "do you love your brother")
- reach out and hit a large communication switch she knows is for communication without prompting
- look directly at something she wants (i.e. crackers, tv, a different pillow, etc.)
- look back and forth between something she wants and the person who can get it for her (i.e. tv to grandma)
- reach out quickly and grab something she is interested/bothered by (i.e. nasal canula breathing tube, syringe full of formula, baby brother's face)
|Becca's sister is such a good helper|
- laugh when she is able to physically touch or hit something in a way that causes an upset or surprised reaction (i.e. messing up Paula when playing Candy Crush, knocking over the syringe full or formula while feeding, hitting Christopher in the face to make him cry)
- make verbal noises when something is mentioned she is excited about (i.e. "we're still planning to go to the pool tomorrow" resulted in a "gie-ood" noise and excited laugh, "tomorrow is Christmas!" was similar)
- have opinions about decisions (i.e. grandma really wanted to get her to watch Brave, she kept picking everything but Brave)
- have a preference for who to communicate with (didn't want to tell Paula she wanted to go to school, she wanted to tell me)
- not say yes or no when she's not in the mood (i.e. shopping at target she wouldn't pick, wouldn't "engage" to be able to say either yes or no)
- pick the option that we're pretty sure isn't her favorite, just because her sister wants the other one (i.e. what movie to watch)
- eye gaze at a communication system (on a tablet) with 6 items, with person vocalizing the items "selected", then confirming she wanted where we ended up on the communication system
- look directly at someone when she knows they can help her communicate a desire/interest (i.e. someone she knows can get her communication board)
- look directly to something that is conceptually related to another point or idea (i.e. I helped her cheer "Go BYU!" and she then looked directly at my BYU t-shirt, "do you know what time it is" and she looked directly at my watch)
I also realized lately that a lot of the time Becca spends at home isn't very challenging or even stimulating for her, it's watching shows and playing with toys that she's mastered a long time ago. I want to start working with her at least some at home now, so I started that today. Here's what happened:
We read Memoirs of a Goldfish (which is a really cute book, by the way). I asked Becca who the story was about, who was in it from the start, and she picked Cha-Cha (the story is about the goldfish, not Cha-Cha. I probably should have asked her something better, like who was telling the story). So we talked about it and how the goldfish is the one in the whole story, so that's who I would have picked.
Then I asked her which character she liked better, Mr. Bubbles or Mervin. She picked Mervin, so I talked about what was silly about Mervin, then we talked about what was silly about Mr. Bubbles. Then her sister picked between the guppies and Cha-Cha, she picked the guppies, then we talked about why she liked the guppies better.
After that we tried to identify which fish appeared in the story in which order. Becca and her sister took turns picking between two options, and they both picked correctly every time. Then I asked Becca which fish the goldfish liked better, Gracie or Cha-Cha. Becca picked Gracie, which makes sense since Gracie is also a goldfish and the goldfish likes swimming around the pool with her. Then Becca and her sister took turns putting the fish in order again, and there were no mistakes that time either.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this exercise, but by keeping the tone very conversational rather than making it sound like a test we did a lot better than times I've tried before. I think we're in for some more surprises as we keep trying to help her get out of her shell :-).