Oh, the things we take for granted!

I was supervising in the classroom when I overheard this simple exchange between Judy, an ABA therapist, and Olivia, a 6-year-old with ASD:

Olivia: “Where is the iPad, Miss Judy?”

Judy: “Check the drawer, see if it’s in there”

Olivia goes to the drawer at the other end of the room, checks for the iPad in the drawers behind the freestanding whiteboard.

Judy: (Olivia is still behind the board) “Did you find the iPad?”

Olivia comes out from behind the whiteboard, looks Judy in the eyes, and with a huge smile says, “Yes, I did!”

And then walks off to enjoy her reinforcer for the allotted time.

Seemingly simple, right? What’s the big deal, you ask?

So, Olivia came to The Puzzle Place with very few skills. She had a simple vocabulary and her communication consisted of labeling items in her environment, mostly to herself. She did not make eye contact at all. She did not ask, nor respond to questions. She was not able to follow directions that involved walking more than a couple feet away without constant prompting. Olivia did not display any affect during interactions (she did go through the entire range of emotions while she engaged in stimulatory behavior), and did not allow anyone to take the iPad away, ever- she did not understand the concept of the timer.

Yet here we are, just over 6 months later, and I am observing this totally typical interaction.

Do you understand why I’m walking around on a high? ???? ????

Have a wonderful day!