Friday, January 12, 2007

our first Stage 7 objective

So, we began our Stage 7 adventure today. And I'm going to drag you all through the entire thing (lucky you!), so you won't miss a moment of it.

Stage 7: Self-Awareness -- Learning to evaluate your impact on others.

Here's how our first objective reads:

"Catalog personal preferences in relative degrees"

To work on this, this morning I created a game for the kids and I to play together. We started by taking a stack of index cards, and took turns writing down things that we each like to eat. (In the photo, you see Jacob eating his favorite thing, Cheese and Crackers.) This activity served as a review of some previous objectives we worked on -- making choices (Jacob chose which color marker to use each time it was his turn) and generating a list of preferences. Happy to say, Jacob was able to complete this pretty fluidly (and even was able to write down his own answers, a little bonus handwriting work that I wasn't even trying for!). Next, I produced a set of cards with the following categories written on them: "I like it", "I really like it", "It's my favorite", "I don't like it" and "I really don't like it". I also added cartoon faces to depict what we might look like to show the emotion behind liking, really liking, disliking, etc. (Degrees of change in emotion is also a previous objective.)

I set the preference cards out next to each other, then shuffled all of our food cards together. Then we each took turns drawing a card, and placing it under the right category for us. Spotlighting was acheived by making the emotion face at each other after placing the card under that category.

We played the game this way twice, then moved on to other things.

This afternoon, I pulled out a set of blocks, and the kids and I took turns adding blocks onto a building, with an empahsis on each of us having our own ideas. After completing a couple different structures (working also on when it was "done" enough before knocking it down and moving on to the next), the kids played with the blocks (a chance to work on independent creativity) while I got some cleaning done. I posted one of Jacob's block creations this evening.

After dinner, I pulled the card game out again, only this time I had another set of cards already prepared. I set out the preference cards as before, and we each took turns drawing our new cards. This time there were locations written on them -- some that I know the kids love, like the playground, their grandparents' house, McDonalds, and some that I know they really don't like, like the Doctor, the Dentist, as well as others that fall somewhere in-between. We played the same way as before, with us putting our cards under the right categories based on our preferences. We played the game twice this way, then added a twist.

In a first peek at our 2nd objective, "Catalog likes and dislikes of family members", I had Jacob and Zoo Boy draw cards for EACH OTHER and place them where they thought they should go based on the other's preferences. That was decidedly more difficult for both boys, but especially for Jacob. (Zoo Boy caught on pretty quickly.) Jacob got pretty upset when Zoo Boy guessed wrong about something (although I suspect that Zoo Boy did it on purpose to get a rise out of his brother -- ah, the joys of a non-autistic sibling!). I provided each boy with the opportunity to correct what the other guessed so that nobody was stuck feeling like they had to "really like" something they didn't like. However, when Jacob insisted that having his hair cut (traditionally one of our bigger challenges with him) was his "favorite thing", and that having his hair washed (most assuredly one of the things he hates the most in this world, somewhere on the scale of hatred between having blood drawn and entering a crowded noisy room) was something he liked, I became pretty uncertain that this was working the way I'd hoped it would. As with all activities I set up to work on RDI, I made a video tape of it, so I can send that segment off to my consultant to see what she thinks is going on and what I should do about it.

The good news is that Jacob isn't having much problem coming up with answers in these types of situations. The problem is, I'm not sure they are really HIS answers, and not just what he thinks I want him to say. Which raises the question, does he even understand that he has preferences? (I certainly know what they are based on his reaction to things!) And if not, how do we go about flipping that switch to the "on" position? Because, truly, without that, we're going to be spinning our wheels with this stage.


At 11:28 PM, Anonymous kyra said...

what great games! you know, i was thinking as i read this of when you first started working on jacob making choices, when you were standing in the aisle, asking him to decide between one notebook color or the other (this is what i remember at least!) and he could not make a move. and now look at him! and so, i think, YES, you are well on your way to helping to turn that switch ON. i absolutely do.


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