This morning, we planned for a long training session with our families and teachers. The session today included our usual training, in which we covered toilet training. In addition to that, we had Melissa, who is currently traveling, Skyping us to talk about inclusive education and our follow-up program.
Sarah, our amazing lead BCBA, was so creative in creating an activity for parents and teachers today to practice the skills we covered during the session. After covering most of the applied procedure for toilet training, Sarah asked the parents and teachers to split up into pairs, a teacher and a child, and gave each pair a bottle of water and asked them to imagine that this bottle is the child’s bladder. Holding the bottle upside down means that the child has used the bathroom. Also, one part of the activity was to have the child choose a strong reinforcer using a simple and a quick preference assessment to use it to reinforce successful trials. Parents and teachers enjoyed the activity, and wished that the real-life practice with a child could be as easy and fun as this practice!
After that, Melissa started a conversation about inclusive education via Skype. She discussed some statistics and studies that showed several positive impacts of inclusion on children with disabilities as well as their typically developing peers. The session was very interactive; parents and teachers were enthusiastic to share their thoughts and comments about the benefits of inclusion. Also, Melissa talked about the importance of advocating for inclusion, and gave the teachers an assignment to advocate for inclusion in their schools or other schools by planning a meeting with someone who has the authority in their community to make the decision of including children with disabilities in regular education classrooms. Teachers were given the choice to work on this assignment individually or as a group. They also brainstormed some ways and some people they can reach out to.
Towards the end of the session, Melissa discussed some points about the virtual follow-up program we offer for families and teachers for a year after the program is done. The main part of this program requires parents and teachers to send our team a 3 to 5 minute videos, either in the classroom setting or home setting, to take our team’s feedback on it and continue to improve their skills in teaching children with autism.
After we finished the session, we came back to our apartment to take a quick break and start planning for tomorrow’s community outing and support sessions.