For me this morning was one of the highlights of the entire programme. We went with Amjed and his parents for a community outing to the barbers. His parents have been having difficulty cutting his hair and they reported that on previous visits the he would not tolerate sitting in the chair, they had had to hold him still in order to cut his hair, that he was always crying and screaming.
We coached them through some strategies, provided advice and answered their questions. Amjed was very motivated by watching videos on his mother’s phone and we made this contingent on sitting and having his hair cut. This means that whenever he was sitting in the barber’s chair and allowing his hair to be touched or cut he was able to watch the video, but if he started screaming or crying, or pushing the barber away then the video was removed.
This worked really well and Amjed was able to leave with a very smart haircut. His dad told us that this was the first time that he had ever seen him sitting so calmly to have his hair cut. The barber was also very pleased and told us that he was going to use these strategies with some other children who come to him for haircuts. He even started to get carried away by wanting to blow dry and style Amjed’s hair! We had to remind everyone to take small steps and make sure to finish on a positive note rather than pushing Amjed too much at once.
This afternoon we had a support group with parents and siblings of children with autism, and did some really nice activities with them. Everyone shared a story about when they had seen their child/sibling with autism ‘at their best’. Some of our favourites were Haya knowing without direct teaching to put the correct pillow and blanket on the bed of each member of her family, and Ali starting to count in English when he saw the numbers on his sister’s watch.
Everyone then shared a time when they’d seen others in the group at their best, and we had some really touching (and a few funny) observations that people had made about each other. The parents spoke about times when they’d seen each other being sweet, optimistic, smart and organised, and all of them mentioned about how they feel that they have gained close friends from this group.