ABA Checklist Continued

To expand on my previous post, Linda has very effectively summarised Learning Ladders' understanding and experience on the ABA programme and I very much encourage any interested parents to read this post to get an advanced in-depth knowledge of what it is exactly we do in Learning Ladders in terms of providing therapy and assistance to our children.

Please don't believe everything you hear

Dear Parents,

I was recently alarmed to hear stories of opportunists falsely claiming themselves to be ABA consultants/therapists. ABA or applied behaviour analysis, which I am sure you know by now, is the type of therapy that our children at Learning Ladders, including Raiyan, employs. At the same time, I am not all that surprised since with the rising rates of autism, and with ABA having gained a credible reputation to be scientifically proven to help children with autism progress, naturally there will be those reckless few who would outwardly declare that they are qualified to draw up and implement such ABA programmes when they are absolutely not in the position to do so.

Perhaps some elements of ABA are sometimes practised; such as rewarding and reinforcing good behaviour, making the child look at you when you talk to him and where possible vice versa and making use of puzzles and flash cards. But I urge all parents out there, please do not think that this is the extent of ABA. I can safely say that this is DEFINITELY not the extent of what Raiyan has been following for the past 6 months as it vastly surpasses all that I have mentioned. Not only is the programme VERY VERY systematic in the chronological order of things being taught, drills are also carefully structured so as to keep the interest of the child and massive amounts of data, in terms of skills that are introduced, mastered, generalised and maintained are accurately recorded at EVERY therapy session. The resources used also change ALL the time (Raiyan has not an item more than once since he started therapy). And, each session must last AT LEAST 2 hours at a time.

That's as far as I know to share my experience with ABA through undergoing Raiyan's programme. Please, please I encourage parents to read in more detail what is required of an ABA consultant and therapist from this Learning Ladders post. Best of luck!

Old Challenges, New Successes!

Today Raiyan did two new things that he never even tried to do before!

1. We had lunch at pizza hut and instead of "just" chips which he would always have and nothing else, today he had BOTH chocolate milkshake (which he kept calling chocolate ice cream and eating it with a spoon!) AND a slice of pizza!

Yummy Chocolate Milkshake!

Ok, let's try a bit of this pizza, then... hmm not bad!
The best thing was it didn't take much for us to convince him to try these foods too! He actually showed interest himself to try them! It's simply amazing!

2. Then Raiyan had a go on these animal rides in front of utama grand. Before, he was so so terrified of these things and not only did he not want to go on them, he would avoid going near them altogether! But just now, he did show some reluctance for about 2 minutes but after seeing Alisha on it, he decided to just go on it and did he enjoy himself or what!

Hopefully he'll be open minded to try out more new things in the future! Amin!

Play Doh Farmer

This is Raiyan's farmer which he independently made with his playdoh birthday present. Since he has mixed all of the colours in the set to make a rainbow, the result of all those mixed colours is now this mucky green.. which to me makes this farmer a tad freaky looking.. I thought it looked more like a scarecrow, but Raiyan was quick to correct me (the corrector that he is) and still insisted that it is a farmer!

Oh and the horse and the cow next to the farmer is from the counting animals book that babah bought him for his birthday present!

Friday's ISB Motor Skills Programme

Raiyan had such a BLAST at yesterday's motor skills programme at ISB seeing how he hasn't gone for almost a month (due to chicken pox and school holidays). If you don't know, this programme is part of the activities that Learning Ladders members get to enjoy. You can read more about the whole Learning Ladders Programme here. He was having so much fun and I was so delighted to see him talking and communicating with everyone there :D:D

Of course Raiyan was excited to see all his buddies and friends. ("Buddies" are the IB students who play and mind them at the playground). When asked beforehand, he said he wants to see Adek, Danial, Fadhil, Raiyyan I and Haris (all of them are featured on the cover of any Learning Ladders publications a.k.a Learning Ladders Models!). Upon arriving ISB he immediately saw Chris, one of the volunteers and said "Hi Chris!" and went on to hold Chris' hand!

Then Chris said "Raiyan, I have to go open the gate (of the playground)"

Since we were at the entrance of ISB and that gate was open, Raiyan then said "But the gate is open!"
Chris and I both laughed and explained to him that Chris needs to open the gate of the playground.. hehehe

At the playground, I actually overheard Raiyan telling Chris and Rajiv (his IB buddies) "Babah and mama took me to the beach!" Hehe pandai lagi becerita2 tu!

As I have previously told in past stories, Raiyan is being kinda clingy with Adek (Sharina's son) now so the whole time before Adek came, he kept saying "Where's Adek? Find Adek!" So when Adek finally came, Chris straight away told Raiyan "Raiyan! I found Adek!". And everyone came clamouring around to see the long expected reunion of these 2 best friends. These are the pweshes shots I got of Raiyan as soon as he saw Adek: AAWWWW....

This is Adek and Raiyan going on the new "bumper" cars that Learning Ladders have purchased for the children:

The funniest thing I overheard with Raiyan was him going up to Adek who has just finished eating his crisps whilst sat at the table and not really wanting to play just yet.

Raiyan: Adek, do you want to get on the car?

Adek: No

Raiyan: Why not? You finished your crisps...

Haha memajal lagitu! I think I know where he gets that from (erm..his mama).

I can tell that Raiyan really craves to have friends with him all the time now. So much that he would wave some random child of his age when he's in the car or he would say hello to them at shops! So sweet.. we just have to teach him more social skills to enable him to sustain the friendship!

Week 21 Progress

Alhamdulillah, Raiyan can't seem to shut up these days. I never dreamt and envisioned how this can happen so soon but our family is eternally grateful that he's actually reached this point now. Sure, sometimes he talks and talks with no inkling of whether or not his audience is attuned to what he's saying, but for us, just hearing actual, comprehensible words coming out of mouth and for him to initiate conversations with others is just heavenly. (Attunement can come later...:D)

Raiyan had his half term break away from school the whole of last week, which meant that he needed extra attention from us at home, in what I can only perceive to be him trying to compensate what he's obviously missing from school. Hence, the endless questions and requests ensues throughout.. If it's not him wanting to draw together, it's him wanting to make rainbows with the play-doh, or him wanting to "sikut"(said with an English accent of course) and chase Alisha and many others, incessantly asked until we adults have to put down whatever we are doing and indulge him with his many wants. He really doesn't take no for an answer! (Note: Yes, we recognise the need to work more on this.. but it's sooo hard! With him talking, he's a hundred times more adorable and it's sooo easy to just give in!!)
Anyway, his progress lately:
  1. Kerri says that he's just a whisker away from being able to answer "how" questions. Her only advice is for us parents to try and generalise it more. In particular, we have to make sure that he doesn't answer with "because", which is actually how he starts off answering any question these days! As I mentioned in the previous progress post, Raiyan can describe how to blow a balloon, and blow bubbles etc. I admit to be lacking in the creativity department lately in trying to think of other situations I can ask Raiyan to describe and so I've been relying too much on the flashcards. Since Raiyan already has gone through the flashcards millions of time (since he's getting 17 hours a week now), he very very reluctantly and very quickly answers my how questions and immediately after shouts "No, I DON'T!"
  2. His receptive understanding of the Malay language is getting a lot better. The other day in the car, Alisha was crying out for her Barney DVD to be played so I said "Mana ada TV dalam kereta Lish" and then Raiyan continued for me "Only music Alisha". And yesterday, my mum told how she and Ida and Nor were talking amongst themselves saying "mana tia animals nya ani" and Raiyan all the way on the other side of the room yelled "the animals are here!" hahaha.. see not only can't we underestimate his receptive understanding these days, but the same thing also goes for his amazing hearing!
  3. His therapy programme is still working on the tenses mainly. He can uniformly answer this sequence of questions now: (when asked to clap his hands) i. before clapping you ask "what are you going to do?" R: "I'm going to clap my hands". ii. when clapping you ask "what are you doing?" R:"I am clapping my hands" and iii. after he claps you ask "what did you do?"R: I clapped my hands."We have to continue generalising this in other situations (see more on the past tense below) and also we need to work more on the past tense of irregular verbs such as "blew", "ate", "hung" and "drank."
  4. On past tenses, I am slowly seeing him being able to tell me about what he did earlier that day. One of my dreams is for Raiyan to tell me about what he did in school. And because we've started him on past tense, I think he's slowly getting it. Yesterday I asked him and he said "train book. go to north pole. party. polar bear." then he steered off in his normal ways as to where a polar bear lives etc etc.. sigh... (the first part was correct though because I DO know they are reading a book about a train in class);
  5. On that note, another thing we are working with is trying to make him stick to ONE conversation. Raiyan loves to go off on a tangent when talking to others and a lot of times, answers our questions probably 3 of them at most and then starts talking away about something else (more than often, it would be about animals!). So everyone talking to Raiyan has to make sure that he's following the conversation through to the end. This will hopefully help him being able to have typical conversations with others.
  6. Babah bought a "counting animals" book and Auntie Wen Wen bought him playdoh for his birthday (which was on Monday btw-my big baby is 5 years old!) and naturally he insisted to bring it everywhere yesterday (Tuesday). Kerri said to just let him because he's just likely to want to show others (just like typical kids) as opposed to the items being the flavour of the week. And true enough, this morning I told him he can't bring the stuff to school again and he said "okay".

Some speech improvement stories:

- Nenek girl wanted Alisha to salam her good bye and Alisha was being cranky and refused to do so. Then Raiyan nyampuk "Nenek, Alisha says no. She don't want to salam. Alisha's too BUSY (again, imagine real posh brit accent)" Thankfully my mother in law saw the humour in it and laughed. Raiyan apa lagi, iski lah and kept on saying it again and again, and again.. hehe

-Whenever I'm about to go to the gym, I ask him "why does mama go to the gym" he would say "to exercise!"

-My parents' old television is acting up these days so sometimes it just switches off by itself. Whenever that happens, instead of getting frustrated, Raiyan just says "Oh, TV is tired. give ten minutes to rest!"

As I mentioned, Raiyan has gone up to 17 hours a week (he started with 11) so insyaAllah, this will help drill in the learning materials quicker and easier.. Amin!

Till next week!

Learning to be Independent

Raiyan helping himself to his favourite glass of cold chocolate milk, diluted with fresh milk.. Well Done Raiyan!

PURPOSE:Hoping for more understanding and less judgment from all.

 To show the importances of early intervention and an evidence based treatment to help reach the full potential of the child.

 Offering other parents hope to have faith in the positive progress of their child.

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