Update on Keke from the preschool. Could the head teacher impede his development?
By The Horse
Walnut Creek, California
September 22, 2022 12:36am CST
I have written before about Keke, my Autistic friend. He is about 29-months-old, and I believe his "early" diagnosis to be correct. But, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have made some pretty great strides with him, and he is now opening up to playing with other children. Over the time I have worked with him (only a month or so) he has a) spoken his first words, including sheep, duck, no, and several numbers; b) made deep eye-contact with me when I sing to him; c) demonstrated an ability to name numbers when he sees them; d) started engaging in what psychologists call "parallel play" with his peers; e) formed an attachment with me, as evidenced by him seeking me out when he needs help self-regulating; f) learned to wash his own hands; g) started smiling and making eye-contact (with her) when he sees his mother coming to pick him up...and so on. Over the past couple of days we have had two "behavior specialists" working with Keke. They seem to be using mostly "reinforcement theory" (behaviorism) to work with him, and I think they are doing a decent job. My only objection would be that they are hovering over him so closely, they are inhibiting his ability to explore his environment and form attachments with other children. Today, Michelle, my difficult "Head Teacher" told us in a "staff meeting" that we should not approach Keke or initiate interaction with him. We should let the "behavior specialists" do their jobs. Fortunately for me, she added that it was OK to interact with the child if he approached us. Today, when he was "dis-regulated" (essentially having a melt-down), I was lucky that it was "snack time." The specialists didn't know what to do. I have been charged with taking Keke in to wash his hands for snack, so I said to the specialists, "Sometimes he regulates when he goes in to wash his hands. He knows the routine." He put his arms up to me, and I picked him up, took him in, and together we washed our hands. He likes warm water. He calmed down when I picked him up, and calmed down further as we were washing our hands together. I said things like "You and I both like warm water," and helped him adjust the water temperature. His melt-down was over. Later in the morning he was able to find me, playing with other kids, and simply plopped down in my lap. I sang to him, and he grunted along, watching my eyes and my lips (I pulled down my mask for a few seconds) as I sang. Still later, I was able to play with him and the numbered concentric cups that he loves. Again, he casually looked at the cups, said the numbers on them, and then dropped them to the floor. I have a bunch of questions here. I am NOT an expert in autism. My work as a kid psychologist is based largely on attachment theory (Mary D. Salter Ainsworth) and modeling (Albert Bandura). Can different approaches work together? Will the behavior therapists come to give Keke more latitude to explore his environment? Will my difficult head teacher yell at my for interacting with Keke, as I was asked to do by the preschool's Director? Tune in for future episodes . This IS reality, not a Reality Show.
13 people like this
• Walnut Creek, California
@DaddyEvil Alas, I have worked with many who don't make sense as a teacher in a preschool. When I was working as a "mentor" for STAND, I was able to work with many qualified and competent clinicians. That was...rewarding.
Listen, there are not "good methods" and "bad methods" there are good teachers/therapist and bad teachers/therapists. Most of them follow a scheme, they do not know enough the kids they need to help and they go with "the user manual" that may work for some and not for others. They are making mistakes with Keke.
• Walnut Creek, California
But, as you say, there are good and bad therapists. Perhaps they are good. They appear to come from a "behaviorist" background. I come from an attachment theory/anxiety reduction/modeling background. I am hoping we can work well together.
• Bosnia And Herzegovina
so the situation isn't that different over there. people here also agree with that "we should let them do their job" and sometimes i feel like that's better than letting someone who's not a professional try working with kids. but you're a kid psychologist, it's not that you have no idea what you're doing and i think you did a good job there i think that different approaches can work together, because that's what i've been studying for four years. apparently, different approaches can work together but only if everyone's willing to contribute and cooperate with others. but the thing is that often they can't make it happen. i'm glad i could attend this conference about autism because i gained new knowledge and heard how professionals from different countries work and which methods they use. i specially liked mrs. Anna Krajcin, i don't know if you can find her work online or something - if you want to read/hear more about autism and how to work with kids. she was talking about purposes of behavior and how to motivate them to work. i also like this video: i believe it could help parents to identify autism and help their kids. i'm sorry if it's too much information, i just felt like (over)sharing
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