We will probably take this approach with my 12 year old DS. Please tell me about your experiences with it.
I know it is touted as the most proven method of treatment but it did not work very well for my now 11 year old with PDD. His very experienced special education teacher explained to me that children who are high functioning and bright often do not respond very well to ABA unless they are very young when you use it.
The collaborative problem solving method was however very useful for him. It was created by ablom and green, the same psychologists who wrote "explosive children". A number of the staff at my child's school were trained in this method which essentially takes the stance that defiant behavior or lack of cooperation with adults is a result of lagging skills that can be taught. My son responded really well to this approach which was essentially having discussions, being listened to and then collaborating with an adult on how to work together to solve the problem. The school BCBA was brought in to consult for my child and her recommendations were essentially useless but CPS is still useful to him and it would be my first choice when considering a form of treatment.
You can find out a lot on-line about CPS. Hope that this helps!
I also had better results with an approach closer to collaborative problem solving. ABA was too far from my parenting style to even try it, so to be honest, I don't know.
But my son responds much better to understanding the reasons for the expectations than any system of rewards/consequences/punishments. As soon as he "gets" why he should behave a certain way (really understands it on his terms, not just that I explained it), he goes along with it. This has led me to rethink some of the rules I might want to set (why shouldn't he sleep on the couch if he wants to?). And some have no very good reasons (It is just against the law, I don't know why or agree, but it is so) - I don't play that card very often. Generally, we can find a solution that meets both our needs.
I don't know your child, or what problems you are trying to solve. I have heard of families feeling that ABA was helpful for them, and I certainly wouldn't advise you not to try it if it seems like a fit for your family. I hope you get more specific answers to your question.
The CPS program looks really good! But there are not any providers listed in my state. I need someone who can come into both my home and the school. Even if I try and train myself from the videos, the school isn't going to do it. They have been pretty clear that I need to bring someone in to work with my son. Also my son has an expressive receptive language disorder (among other things) so it's unlikely that he will be able to verbalize the way the kids in the video do but it's still worth a shot. If there are any suggestions on other ways to find providers that would be great.
Let me give an example of a problem at home and get some feedback.
DS doesn't get up for school in the morning. We tried setting his alarm clock, he just turns it off and stays in bed. We tried going in and personally waking him up. He says, "I'm awake but I am not getting up. I am not going anywhere today". We have tried plan A. If you don't go to school then you can't watch TV or play video games, if you do go, then you can. I have tried offering money, and various other activities/rewards/bribes. We have even physically removed him from the bed - we gave that one up real quick because even though he was up, the rest of the day was shot since he was furious. Sort of plan B - We tried asking why he won't get up and he says he doesn't like to get up early. So we pushed back the start time of his school day as late as possible, he doesn't have to be there until 10AM.
He developed this habit while he was in a, very inappropriate for his needs, public school setting. He is in a private setting now. He acknowledges that the private school is fine but says he still has the same feelings when we wake him up in the morning that he use to have when he was going to public school. It's seems almost like PTSD. He doesn't respond at all to Cognitive Behavior Therapy and sitting on a couch chatting with someone is not something he will do. We are also going to try Art therapy.
The issues at the current school have to do with inappropriate social skills. I can get into that later.
Thanks for the help!
The Collaborative Problem Solving author, Ross Greene, wrote a book about using their techniques in schools called Lost at School. I recommend it highly, although I have no idea how receptive your school would be to change.
I was at a marvelous conference last month, given by Stuart Ablom, and specifically asked the question of how to use these techniques with kids with less verbal abilities. His reply was that you might need to ask yes-or-no questions to get at the child's real concerns.
I call it school but my son actually attends three different therapies at different locations each day. It's a lot of driving so my DH is a SAHD. We really need someone who can travel with my son to all three places and do therapy in real time. That's why I was leaning toward ABA. I really like the CPS model. I am going to talk to some of the ABA therapists since they are PhDs and see if they have heard of it or what other therapies they are willing to incorporate.
I just ordered four books - Learning Outside the Lines, The Short Bus, The Explosive Child and Lost at School. While I was watching some of the videos for CPS method my son and DH came in and joined me. My son was very interested and wanted to watch all the available videos. He asked, "why don't we do that?" so clearly this is the way to go. I can tell that it is going to be very challenging trying to reshape my own thinking and approach. I really wish there was a provider in my state. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can find a therapist who uses or is willing to be trained in this area that can accompany my child to school.
Please keep the suggestions and experiences coming! I have found this forum to be very helpful, thanks!
The BCBA I am thinking about using is also a PhD psychologist and author of many peer reviewed papers on the subject. He describes ABA as:
" ABA therapy" is a term used to describe myriad procedures that are based on the tenants of applied behavior analysis. These can include incidental teaching, naturalistic teaching, shadowing, facilitation, discrete trials training, and other instructional methods that use consistent, systematic, and frequent prompt and consequences to teach new skills. "ABA Therapy" is not synonymous with any one procedure even though it is commonly, but erroneously, described as such in the autism community. The procedures that collectively make up what is known as " ABA therapy" have been very well research for more than 50 years. There is NO OTHER therapy or approach that even comes close to demonstrating the positive effects seen in ABA.
I wonder as well...but, the only way to find out is to ask him. In my mind, the problem with ABA though is that it just plain isn't discrete. It relies on a series of motivators and consequences which are frequent at the beginning and then "fade out" when the situation is mastered. This may work at home for in home therapy but is seriously embarrassing to an older more high functioning child. That's why in our experience it didn't work well, because, it didn't take my son's feelings of wanting to rely less on adults and wanting to feel "cool" with other kids into account.
I always found that skill building "after the fact" worked well for us so that he'd be coached and motivated for the next situation. I think ABA could be wonderful, maybe....if it's right for you. But, I am ALWAYS skeptical when experts claim that theirs is the ONLY proven method....I shy away from all guru's and experts. I prefer a "collaborative" approach and maybe that's why CPS resonates for my son as well, since, I talk to him this way anyway and I like to take his feelings into account.
It sounds like you have to flesh out your questions with this therapist.
I understand about the wanting to be cool but the 'school' is wanting to assign a parapro to stay with my son all day through all activities anyway. It's to the point where they have issued a warning that he can't go there anymore without the support. A para just isn't trained and wouldn't be helpful. I have to find someone who can come and stay with him at all times and I can't find the right fit.
Pattimomma, does this school that your son goes to have a lab or learning center support room, where your son can review information, expectations, talk through and collaborate and problem solve with a professional, and then enter into the classroom where he is quasi independent with reminders from the "helper" about his agreements and what he's doing....subtle and discrete reminders, like, "remember"...."what's next" etc...., that way he can keep his dignity so to speak and still get the help he needs.
I have to disagree about para's. It really all depends on who your para is and why they are a para. In my school district, para's are usually training for their master's in special ed and are motivated, up on all the new techniques and LOVE kids.
I also wonder how expensive hiring a PhD will be for you, to basically act as a supporting aide to your son in the classroom. Is it possible that you can hire the PhD to supervise the work of a para in the classroom?
It all sounds tricky and I remember you alluding in the past to the poor school system in your area. Maybe you'd feel better and your son would make more progress if you are in control of who the professional is and what they are working on so good for you for interviewing and coming up with a plan. But have you attempted to get your son to buy into it at all, because the more he does, the more likely it is to succeed. Maybe you can get your son to "buy into it" if the school will agree that he won't have to have it if he makes BIG progress, which will serve as a motivator, because, I don't know how your son feels about being shadowed during school. I know however that my 11 year old would HATE it, in fact, he talks about that all the time in that he does NOT want aide support at all any more even for the small amount of time he now requires it.
My son doesn't really go to school. He goes to multiple therapies during the day and everything is one to one. The problem is at Linda Moodbell (LMB). The way it is structured is that each child has a teacher, one on one in their own cubicle for 50 minutes and then there is a 10 minute break. It is during the break that the kids get to interact with each other. This repeats for 4 hours. The problems don't just occur when my son is on break. They also occur during 'class' when it's just him and a teacher. These professionals, at LMB, have worked with thousands of kids over the years and they are at a loss as to what to do. They have requested additional support. My son has seen many specialists over the years and I get to hear things like "the most difficult child I have ever worked with" or "the second most difficult child I have ever worked with". We have been kicked out of social skills groups and psychologist offices because my son is "beyond their area of expertise". My son's IEP is for private placement and my settlement agreement gives me the authority to pick providers so I am not worried about the cost.
My son liked the CPS model when he saw it on the computer but implementing it is very hard with him. I need someone who can stay with him all day and take advantage of situations as they arise.
Thanks for helping me work through this! I love having someone to bounce ideas off of!
Yikes well that clears up the picture! :) Does your son have any insight into his behavior? Just curious? And do YOU think that his behavior is stemming from a spectrum like place, where he genuinely does not know expectations or is his behavior at LMB coming from his past frustrations at being unable to read and a fear of more failure? The latter being mixed in with the former would be so understandable but behaviorists usually are not interested in that last question. I think you should find out from the BCBA if he can switch gears into a more understanding listening mode if necessary to work through emotional blocks to learning.
I totally understand why this is so hard. Good luck in your decision making process!
We have used CPS with both my daughters (one physical needs but explosive personality and the other PDD_NOS). It has worked MUCH better than ABA would have. ABA would have been too rigid both for their functioning level and my parenting style.
I would also reassess the para thought. In our area, paraprofessionals have to be familiar with kids and when working with specific kiddos- versed in their needs. As a PP stated- many paras around here have teaching degrees/working toward. I have a Spec.Ed degree and worked as a para last year because I needed the scheduling flexibility (part time) but really wanted to keep working with kids.
I am curious if your DS has some sensory needs. The 50 min blocks of 'work' time for 4 hours straight could really be a lot for a kiddo that struggles with ADHD/attention/focus and/or that has a high kinetic/physical learning style. Maybe an adjustment to the routine may be helpful.
I will say that no matter what 'expert' you talk to- they are likely to have very firm beliefs on what/what does not work...though the really excellent ones out there will know that a wide variety of techniques and methods are best and keep trying for solutions since nothing will work for all children all the time. =]