Today was the second day of cooperative sessions for the week. Our team planned for the sessions in the morning by organizing the demonstrations and rotations for the parents and the teachers and planning the activities and materials based on the toys each child likes. We started the sessions with a quick review of the previous training about receptive communication. Instead of having two of our team members demonstrate the skills, we had the parents and teachers participate directly in the demonstrations. Each parent and each teacher got the chance to be a student and a teacher once. The skills we worked on today continued to target expressive communication skills and added in receptive communication skills-building activities. We also focused on having the teachers become ‘source of fun’ for the children. This meant that for the first few minutes working with the child, the teachers were not placing any demands.
Our morning session was with Reema and Ali, their parents and the teachers. Reema enjoyed playing with the ball and eating chips. The teachers who worked with Reema gave her those items only if she requested them using a 2-word request (I want the ball or I want chips) in Arabic. She successfully made many spontaneous requests without prompting. Using the puzzles, the blocks and the clothespins, the teachers worked on receptive communication skills like identifying the colors and putting the puzzle pieces together.
For Ali, our main goal in this session was to fade away the presence of his mother in the session, as we noticed in the previous sessions that Ali was very dependent on her. We had separate rooms for Ali and Reema today to help achieve this goal. The first stage was to keep Ali’s mother sitting next to the door and to not have her give any type of attention to Ali. Then his mother left the room for 5 minutes, and came back again. After that she left the room for 20 minutes. At the beginning, Ali was very upset after his mother left the room. However, few minutes later, he started playing with the teacher and was enjoying blowing bubbles and rolling the truck on his arms. He successfully followed the teacher’s instructions that targeted receptive communication skills.
Our afternoon session was with Hani, his mother and the teachers. After the quick review and the demonstration with his mother and the teachers, one teacher started working with Hani. For most of the session, Hani was very motivated to request the crayons to draw and color the paper. Other times he liked playing with the ball and the playdough. The receptive skills he worked on mainly included asking him to draw different shapes, letters and numbers. Hani requested for the items he liked using up to a 3-word requests. Hani knew his colors independently but was struggling to pronounce the color green in Arabic (Ahdar). When his mother prompted him to say “ah,” he would complete the word by saying “dar.” We were so excited when he finally pronounced the word correctly and apparently he caught on to our excitement over his imitation because when Hana translated the words “What is it?” to Sarah, Hani repeated “What is it?” in perfect English!
Today we also conducted short interviews with the teachers to give us general feedback about the training. Stay tuned to know more about our teachers’ comments!