Wednesday, 17 August 2011

You will find me under the desk.

Today I spent the afternoon on all fours under my desk; no I was not preparing for an Earthquake drill.

In afternoon ABA, it all of the sudden struck me that my little monkey was getting a little edgy. Taking a break was out of the question at that moment, he had not earned all his tokens and I wasn't about to falter there; how was I going to regain the focus I had lost, and what exactly was I competing with anyway? How could I simultaneously meet what I perceive to be sensory needs, while not inadvertently reinforcing a behaviour which could be misused as an escape at a later point. What a puzzle.

In a moment of genius I remembered a note I had read on increasing focus and self regulations by using heavy activities in lesson plan. I instructed the little monkey to "first go under the table, then get on your knees, next look at me"; I repeated it twice, because even I knew it was a bit random, for lack of a better word.

We continued with the same activity we had been doing table-top, only now it was on the ground, on all fours. I drew a square, passed the pen over to the little monkey, and said "your turn". We went back and forth until the page was full of squares and triangles (those are the two current targets); each time in addition to practicing copying shapes, we also practiced saying "your turn" "my turn". Such beautiful concentration, such fantastic precision and hand-eye coordination; not only that, a smile from ear to ear as if to say "you get it!"

After 20 minutes of copying shapes under the table, we came back up for air and decided it was time for a snack break (by this point, all of the tokens had been earned from the hard work done). After a crunchy snack of carrots and a quick trip to the gym to roll on a yoga ball (and sing the preferred "Rolly Polly" as we roll), we were ready to get back into it.

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