We had another busy day of cooperative sessions today. In the morning session, one of the key things that we worked on with Ali’s mother and teachers was ensuring that he was motivated by a toy, activity or social interaction before attempting to teach. Everyone who spent time with him found something that motivated him; he enjoyed bubbles, tickles and, most successfully, playing songs on a tablet. When his teacher started using this he immediately came over to her and she was able to start teaching him to request for it using a vocal approximation rather than just grabbing for it. Ali sometimes finds it difficult to leave his mother to spend time with other adults, but he did particularly well in this session as he was able to build relationships with two teachers who were new to him.
In the afternoon we had an intensive role play session with teachers. I enjoyed this because it meant that I got to act as a child again! We gave each teacher some basic information about the “child”, for example, in one scenario I pretended to be a child who could make some vocal approximations and banged my feet on the floor in order to try and gain attention. We also gave the teachers some goals and then let them work out how best to teach these and interact with the “child”. The teachers had to combine all the skills that they’ve been taught so far and they also practised some new skills, such as using a token board.
Amal did some fantastic coaching in these sessions and it was great to find that so many times when I wanted her to translate something for me she’d already just given feedback on the very same thing. Although I was being taught skills such as identifying different items, sorting objects and responding to social greetings, it was often genuine teaching as I was being taught in a language that I do not know; I’m pleased to say that thanks to my teachers I learnt some new Arabic words today!