A family relocated to Nigeria from the UK,started Therapy for their last child a 6 year old girl with autism and hyperactive disorder.
Kay is very high functioning but had a list of distracting strategies for cognitive based activities except gross motor skills(jumping,hide and seek etc) which she loved and could do all day, tirelessly.
Trying to revert back to cognitively/academic drills based activities, is usually met with ceaseless giggling, running and screaming if the others don’t work but at rare times when she calms down to learn, she is almost a genius.
We decided to combine sensory integrative exercises, play based and structured cognitive learning into her IEP.
Bola an educational Therapist was assigned to her. Bola could be too serious; I always complained that she was too firm and needed to loosen up, rarely laughs. She has a dry sense of humour but is very organized and creative in breaking down tasks.We chose her because Kay needed somebody firm and organized.
Three days later, during our review to see how therapist and child are settling in, Bola complained that it was really challenging for her,
"The naughty chair and other time out activities do not work for Kay o! In fact she even loves it, no matter how uncomfortable you make it, she sees it as an adventure, I think she purposely requests for time outs.”
"So what is the plan?"
"Not to worry, Ollie, her mum and I have devised another method, it's really working for us."
Note: When the parents are involved, therapy is easier not only for the child, but also for the therapist.
A month later, during the IEP review meeting, I noticed Bola was with a cane, before I could say something, she quickly said, "No o, I don’t use it but when she sees it, she behaves."
Kay's mom corroborated the story, "When the therapist says, sit and eat, sharp sharp, she sits down and eats obediently, no more chasing after her....if you say 'Kay, it's work timeee', she stands up arranges her materials...even academic activities she sits obediently to write, no complaining. I have seen a lot of improvement."
I had to make sure that we were all on the same page,
"Madam, we don’t approve of caning o"
she replied, "Abegiii, this is “ naija therapy” it is really working for my child, abi are my complaining? Its not as if Bola beats her, rather they have bonded well”
“Now she knows when to work, when to play, when to be quiet and she learns better both in school and at home. Everyone is happy, leave it like that for us ooo.
Good thing is, the cane was never used and we definitely don't use it as part of our program...but a show of discipline has definitely helped therapy progress well. She is still undergoing therapy and we are using other ways to make sure she behaves properly and based on our reviews, she has really improved....
Please feel free to drop your thoughts and comments on this or if you have a child with similar special needs, how do you tackle it?
Images courtesy of vishwacareclinic.blogspot.com, sfari.org, www.jaynelifetherapy.co.uk, focusededucation.com.au, nupafeedusa.com, annejuicy.blogspot.com