October 13, 2009

ABA Has Begun

Week two of the intensive home ABA program has begun. I'd say it is going well so far, though it has disrupted all of our routines. Jelly Belly is, at least for now, just as happy at home as she is when we're out, and Jeff is able to come home for lunch one day a week so I can continue to take her to our music class. Berkeley is, for the most part, being fairly well behaved (outside of the barking every time anyone comes and goes). She has been getting lots of treats and new things to chew on, while I try to keep her out of the way. I have been filling my days with the things required to run a house: laundry, dishes, and shopping - I mean, research on the internet. I'm reading, finishing up a needlepoint I started before Moe was born, and setting up my sewing station. I haven't yet sewn anything, but the sewing area looks pretty inviting.

In many ways, things aren't that different for Moe than they would be for any other two year old. He gets up and has breakfast, plays for a couple of hours, has a snack, plays some more, eats lunch, takes a nap, has a snack and plays some more. Then it's dinner, bathtime and off to bed. Having people in and out of the house all day is strange and a little uncomfortable for me, but right now Moe just gets a new playmate every few hours.

The first couple of weeks of therapy are considered "pairing." The therapists get to know Moe and he gets to know them. They are working with him, but haven't been pushing too hard. This week, he is also being formally evaluated on a number of skills which should set a baseline for tracking progress. Friday, we have our first "clinic," a meeting of the entire team, including us, the program director and supervisor, and all of the therapists. I think this is where we start to design the formal programs that we will all be working on with Moe.

So far, I like that the program feels like play. The therapists use a developmentally based approach, which can be worked into our everyday lives. I'm learning good techniques from the therapists and I think the program will be good for Moe. I'm a little concerned that he doesn't have any interaction with other kids most days, but as the program progresses, we can add in social and playgroups that are also run out of the center that manages the ABA.

I've also started reading a great book called Overcoming Autism, co-authored by Lynn Kern Koegel, one of the founders of Pivotal Response Training. Dr. S had recommended PRT for Moe, and this program, though not strictly PRT, uses a similar approach techniques, from what I understand. We all have a lot to learn, but I'm feeling good that we are headed down what feels like the right road.

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