Great team meeting today to see how efficient Alex is at using PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). Although Alex’s expressive vocal sounds continue to increase, PECS offers him an alternative means to communicate. This can alleviate any frustrations and therefore minimise challenging behaviour plus provide Alex with a kick-start way of making his needs understood by his parents, tutors and the staff who work with him in his pre-school! Alex is currently on the first step of this process, in which he has recently learned to pick up and pass a photo representing what he wants to an adult. Having another spoonful of his breakfast from Dad is a very popular one with him and he even uses great eye contact when passing the picture to Dad!
Other areas of development targeted are also improving. Over the past few months, Alex’s ability to understand and respond to other people’s communication has begun to emerge. He is requiring less help to follow directions within a familiar context or routine both at home and at school.
In the past month, Alex has begun to independently follow the routine at school and join in without prompts from a tutor. He has recently independently joined into circle time, holding the hands of his peers and enjoying music. He has just begun to select and bring his chair over for snack time and sit for the duration with his peers.
At home, Alex understands when his turn with an item is coming to an end and will hand an item over when an adult asks him to, which has become an important instruction to understand so that another teaching opportunity can be created. Alex is learning how to respond to his name being called, to come to an adult when called over, to sit down when asked, to come down from climbing on something that is unsafe, to go inside from outside his house when it is time and to imitate an action with a toy when modelled by a tutor.
Developing play skills with young children is an essential part of our programmes and our tutors’ frequently model how to play with toys and encourage Alex to participate. Previously Alex was interested in physical play only and had limited interest in toys beyond just holding the toy for a short period. His tutors’ continue to expose him to a variety of toys and his interest in playing with items according to their function has improved. Alex is now interested in cars and playing with them on a ramp, looking at picture books, playing with musical instruments and building and knocking over blocks.
Our ABA programmes are coordinated to offer support across both home and preschool environments to maximise consistency of approach and to further improve Alex’s skills. Parent training continues to be a component of all ABA sessions to ensure that progress can be maximised even outside of sessions! Well done Alex and his team!