Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: East Bay, California
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I am a nanny for two special needs boys (3 and 5). They both attend the same preschool together and they are in the same class. They go for 3 hours in the mornings, 5 days a week. The 3-yr-old has autism (mild) and he will be starting up ABA therapy again. He has had a break from the therapy for the past 2 months. The first day of the therapy was an orientation with him, his parents, me and the therapists and program director.
I don't really understand how this therapy is going to be beneficial to him. The way the program is set up involves a lot of him switching cards on a schedule back and forth. It seems odd. He takes his name card off the schedule and puts it right back in the same place. (??) Then, he takes another card that has an airplane on it and goes to the bin with the airplane and plays with the toy in that bin. Then the card goes back and onto the next card. After 3 rounds of this, he gets a free choice - there are 6 cards with things he likes to do and he can choose to go outside and ride in his red push car, play in his rice bin, etc. This therapy is a 3-hr-solid block with one teacher.
Am I missing something? I do these things with him all day - he plays in his rice bin, plays with his train, we read books together, I bake with him, we go to parks and the library, we color, paint, I chase them and play tickle monster, we go for walks around the neighborhood. I read books and information on autism every chance I get. I have a B.A. in Child Development and I have known this family since he was born. I know this in no way qualifies me as an ABA specialist, but I just think the way they have this set up will be frustrating and stressful for him. Even the "free time" is more like - "pick a card and go do this thing."
His mom has the same concerns and would like to give the ABA a trial run and see how it goes. The therapist we ended up with his brand new and seems very passive and quiet. We have to do 15 hours of therapy a week, minimum. It just seems like so much for a little boy who is also going to preschool in the mornings. His previous ABA therapists were wonderful and he had small sessions throughout the day - still 15 hours a week, but broken up a lot more and he wasn't attending preschool at the time.
Like I said, his autism is very mild. He has very good eye contact and frequently comes to me for hugs and cuddles. He will take me by the hand to bring me outside or to a toy to play with him. He says about 50 words regularly. He has a very good attention span and, for the most part, plays with toys appropriately. We had a great routine going and we have bonded very well. I don't want to see him get overwhelmed with all this therapy and, honestly, I am going to miss him! I can't really join in on his therapy much because I will be with his brother during that time. I might be able to slip in for a few minutes now and then or bring his brother into the therapy if it is a group activity.
I guess I just wanted to express my thoughts and see if anyone has another take on this or any insight or personal experience.