Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Of all the ways we've tried to transition Buddy Boy from one task to another, the one that has consistently worked is the simple statement that we need to stop doing "x", and now we will be doing "y", then counting backwards from 5.
Buddy Boy gets absorbed in activities, and transitions have always been hard on us all. His reactions are not nearly as severe as they used to be, but moving from one activitiy to another is still quite challenging.
We've tried (and still do) give 5 minute/3 minute/1 minute warnings. We've given choices for activities. We've tried premacking. Written schedules, clocks, positive reinforcement. Verbal explanation of the 5 w's , negotiation, and even just saying "We're going to do this now. Let's go." All of the above methods (and others I may have forgotten to mention) have been tried, and all have worked at various times to one extant or another. But none works as predictably as the counting down method.
I've tried to get away from it (it seems a bit mechanical and childish to be using with a 7 year old), but Buddy Boy doesn't seem to disengage as easily from one thing to start another without this prompt.
I wonder what exactly there is about "doing the count" that gets him to go with the flow. Is it the finality of it? I mean, it's not as if there are any dire consequences if he fails to comply. And when there are announced consequences, this method still works better than all others.
The method even works fairly well if I just use my fingers to count backwards, as I'll sometimes do rather than shouting out a countdown across a playground. So it's not the tone of my voice.
Perhaps it's the simplicity of it. Perhaps Buddy Boy interprets everything else as being open to negotiation (he loves to negotiate-which is usually viewed by us as a good thing), but he receives the countdown as singling the end of all negotiation and time to move on. I don't know.
We still try to use other methods (I like to give my kids as much autonomy as possible, and this method is just pure directive), but it's good to know that we have something that does work reliably.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.