Full Transparency

In the effort to be fully transparent I wanted to share some updates with everyone.

A few months back I was posting at how quickly Lennon was taking to PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and he was. Unfortunately we have made little progress since then. I knew it was going to be a long road, but I think his early success made me a little too optimistic and now the feeling of defeat is a bit overwhelming.

I’ve written before about Lennon potentially having an intellectual disability to accompany the autism and possibly that’s the issue here, but there is one area we can’t seem to cross – in ABA they call it discrimination.

Lennon “seems” to get the idea of exchanging a card for what he wants, but he doesn’t seem to understand that the images on the card are different.

For example: During therapy we will lay out 3 cards, two are blank and the other has a picture of his cup on it. “Give me cup,” Nicole (his RBT) will say. Lennon hands her the picture of the cup. He does this almost without fail – unless of course he’s avoiding activities altogether and then all of the cards typically wind up on the floor.

Quite some time ago we added another program, once he was familiar with his cup card (AKA his most frequently requested item). We would lay two cards, both with pictures on them. Maybe one would be a picture of a pizza and the other his cup. Maybe one would be a picture of me and the other his cup. “Give me cup,” Nicole will say.

This is where the defeat comes in.

He would only get this correct and hand her the cup card maybe 50% of the time.

Eventually though, he realized she (always) wanted the cup card so he’d hand it to her.

But then, when he would seem to be doing so well, we’d ask for the other card.

“Give me pizza.”

“Give me mom,” Nicole would say.

And still, he would hand her the cup card.

Sometimes I feel as though when concepts are fairly abstract they confuse him, but this feels so straight forward. He should know that it’s a pizza on that card. He should know the mom card.

But what he actually knows is that he’s been trained to hand his RBT the card with the cup on it.

I don’t know how to overcome this hurdle – I know Nicole and his new BCBA (Angelo) are working on it, but I’m a bit in the dark. I just have to trust right now that they are exploring options. I know everything takes time so I’m just being patient and hoping they bring me into the fold soon so that I know how to help him.

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