Tuesday, May 06, 2008

First Full Day of Work

Today was my first full day of work. I was really just shadowing someone today, and will be again tomorrow, but I was at the school all day, interacting somewhat with my future student. It was nice. The fellow who's going to be my student is very interesting. he's a nice kid. He's non-vocal, but likes very much to communicate. His only problems generally have to do with not being understood. he's getting better at using PECS (picture exchange communication system) and hopefully once I start things will be even more smooth.
The fellow who teaches the class proper is very nice, as is my students current tutor. The current tutor has been with him for four years, and things have fallen into a routine. That's one of the problems. It's likely to happen with anyone. The student is very bright, and has perfected, to an art, getting people to do things for him. He takes cues that you didn't know you were giving. His current aide prompts him more than necessary, and after all, he has been with him for four years, even back when he needed so much prompting.
Not much data is being taken on the students improvement though. One of the key things about the way that I've been trained (and the things I already know about behavioural therapy) is that it all must be observed carefully, and recorded. They don't really know how well or how badly the student is doing because they haven't been keeping track meticulously. I've never been someone who liked keeping records. I rather hate it in fact. But in this instance it's the best way to do things.
There are a lot of open opportunities to apply various behavioural techniques. These opportunities aren't being used now, but I'm excited to exploit them myself. This kid is quite awesome, and I think that if we tighten up the program, get the trials in order (behavioural training, not like draconian stuff, more like. Do this, get a reward.), and shake things up a little he should do really well. It's sad that he's as disabled as he is. If we had gotten in, doing the ABA (applied behavioural analysis) when he was young, he would blend in with any normal thirteen year old. Walking around, he does. He probably won't have that anytime soon, but I think we can improve things for him a lot. It's going to be exciting.

and that was just the first day.

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