When our supervisor began working with Leo, he rarely paid attention to people and spent most of his time repetitively manipulating toys, giving little eye contact to others. Leo babbled with a few sounds but did not say words. He struggled to complete simple 2-piece puzzles, needing hand over hand guidance to complete them. Leo’s mum had ABA targets in place, but found the data sheets and programmes overwhelming and was unsure how to run the programmes that had been put in place.
The Open Avenues supervisor began working with Leo in close collaboration with Leo’s family, and with regular hands-on visits to really get to know him. Our supervisor simplified the folder to make the data collection more manageable, and provided a number of resources needed to teach the targets. Practical, hands-on training was given to the family to show them step-by-step how to motivate Leo, how to teach the targets, and how they could work on targets little and often throughout their day.
The supervisor used repetitive, simple social interaction activities to increase his eye contact with, and interest in, other people; for example a “ready, steady……..GO!” ‘game’ where the supervisor would run at Leo and give him tickles. When he heard “ready, steady…” Leo would look around in anticipation of tickles! This helped to cue Leo into paying attention to other people, a pre-requisite for listening to and following instructions in order to learn.
Our supervisor prioritised his imitation skills (“copy me!”), and once Leo became more proficient with copying actions this was used to teach him to copy sounds (“say ‘buh’!”). Once Leo copied his first sound, within a week he was able to copy words and was very quickly able to use these words to communicate his wants and needs. His parents were thrilled that their son was able to use his voice.
Leo is very sociable and regularly approaches his parents and tutors for cuddles or piggybacks. He is able to complete a 20-piece jigsaw independently, showing great focus and concentration. The practical, hands-on approach of our supervisor enabled Leo’s mum to feel comfortable with how to teach her son, and that all the resources needed would be taken care of.