From object to picture

While many of the children have no difficulty in giving or pointing to a designated object a cup, hat, ball, car, etc. a certain number of children on the spectrum cannot identify picture representations of objects. For these children, the shift from three to two dimensions is too big a leap for them. To make this shift possible, we find that a 3D 2D strategy is helpful. This consists ofmounting a salient portion ofthe object on one side ofa card with an exact, two-dimensional replica of that...

Summary

This chapter considered a number of challenges that children on the autism spectrum face in achieving communication. The first of these is the body-other confusion so common among autistic children. This shows itself in a tendency to relate the signs they learn to themselves and not to the other. Another challenge to communication concerns the distinction between sign words for actions vs. sign words for objects. Often, the children can respond to and use action sign words more readily than...

Developmental Stages

There are three stages in cognitive-developmental systems theory The Sign Stage (from 0 to 18 months of age), Symbolic-Sign Stage (18 months to five years of age), and the Symbol Stage (five years +). Sign Stage refers to the period during which the child's behavior is more or less dominated by the stimulus properties of objects and events. Toward the latter part of this stage as the body-world relation becomes more differentiated the child becomes progressively more able to deliberately...

Signwords for actions vs signwords for objects

My decision to begin with sign words for actions over those for objects was based on the fact that signs such as come go, eat, push, pull, pick up, drop, get up sit down, and so forth closely resemble their action referents. These signs relate in a 1 1 manner to their actions. This similarity makes it relatively easy for the children to respond to these sign words and to use them effectively. Sign words for objects are more difficult for the children. For example, even though there is a clear...

Communication Receptive expressive and nonverbal

The quality of Monte's communication becomes clearer as we examine different facets. Receptively, he has difficulty distinguishing between his mouth and the mouth of another person. He can give a requested object from three feet away but rarely from six feet away. He has never succeeded in getting a requested object from another room. Sometimes, his mother reports, he responds to Come and Stop Monte has no expressive utterances. However, he does demonstrate good pre-communicative skills on a...

Recommendation

I strongly recommend that Randy be introduced to manual sign language. This means that each verbal direction would be paired with a manual sign related to the object or event. Our experience with the Sign and Spoken Language Program is that there is a rapid increase in the child's ability to process spoken language. It also results in the child communicating more effectively with both signs and spoken words. For Randy, sign language should be viewed as a temporary expedient, to strengthen his...

Features of the SSLP

An important rationale for using manual sign language is that it serves as a bridge between the spoken word and its referent. However, even with manual signs, a variety of distracting stimuli in everyday life may divert the disordered child from the intended relation between sign and referent. Having the children seated in front of a television or computer monitor with the teacher and aides seated behind them to keep them focused on the training material is one important step (see Figure 10.2)...

There Is Often A Bond Even When This Is Not Immediately Apparent

Parents and professionals need to know that even though a child might not be able to demonstrate feelings in the usual way, this does not mean that those feelings are not there. That bond will often show up indirectly when a new baby comes along, or the teacher becomes involved with another child. We have many times gotten reports that after a baby was born and the mother became preoccupied with nursing and caring for it, the special child suddenly became very distressed, aggressive, or...

Adaptive verbal communication

The child uses single words to indicate his her needs. 71. After you supply the first few words of a song or story, the child completes it. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 72. The child uses multi-word sentences to communicate his her wishes. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 73. The child looks at you while using his her words and waits for a reply. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 74. The child varies his her sentences by changing subjects and verbs appropriately as needed. Never...

Increasing the childs awareness of you and others

We begin with Damon's letters of the alphabet system not because we are interested at this time in teaching the alphabet, but because of the orderly nature of the different forms and how they fit their insets. The orderliness of the forms each in their special inset often captures children like Damon. However, the method described here to build people awareness applies to any system with which the child is engaged such as lining up cars, blocks, and so forth. 1 PLOP is an acronym for person,...

Exploiting Natural Events For Symbolic And Communication Gains

The systematic use of natural events to develop symbolic function, and sequencing, as well as language, first developed after a hurricane that uprooted many large trees near the Language and Cognitive Development Center (LCDC). Observing the children's awe at the gaping holes left in the ground and noting in particular how fascinated they were with one mammoth tree that had, as it fell, largely flattened an automobile we decided to turn it into a causal sequence with the following steps...

Field Applications Of Symbol Accentuation

The first field application of the SA Reading Program was conducted at Wrentham State School in Massachusetts (Marko 1968) with a population of trainable developmentally delayed residents who had not previously been able to learn how to read. The program was applied over a period of 18 months with 70 developmentally delayed residents with a mean chronological age (CA) of 21 years, mean Stanford-Binet mental age (MA) of four years eight months, and mean IQof 38. These developmentally delayed...

Why So Much Emphasis On Using Manual Signs

There are a number of important reasons for emphasizing the use of signs with autistic children. The first reason is that spoken words are sounded one moment and are gone the next. This ephemeral quality makes it difficult for special children to hold words long enough to derive meanings from them. They literally do not know how to hear spoken words. All this changes, however, when spoken words are presented with manual signs that closely resemble their actions or object meanings. For example,...

Why Jack And Not Frank

When Jack's progress is compared with Frank's, one wonders why Jack achieved full language capability while Frank did not. After all, both started at the LCDC at about the same age and both had the same gifted therapist working with them. And both had a pre-existing relationship with at least one parent Frank with his father and Jack with his mother The answer seems to go back to the children's system functioning. Frank, a child with system-forming disorder, had aside from his relationship with...

The Lcdcs Programs Parentchild training PCT

Parents after completing the Miller Diagnostic Survey bring their children to the LCDC for three days of assessment and intensive work. The first day includes an Umwelt assessment of the child (see Chapter 3) while the second and third days consist of trial interventions to determine the most effective way of treating the child. Parents participate during all three days. At the end of the third day there is a family conference where we share our understanding. Typically, PCTs are conducted by...

Will I ever be grown up

All children but particularly those on the spectrum have difficulty grasping the fact that they are growing physically as well as in capability and that they will one day be fully grown adults. There are two good ways to help establish the fact that they are indeed growing. One is to place next to the can do board a panel with marks to show the changing height of the child as he or she gets taller in the course of the year. When the teacher or parent marks the most recent growth he or she also...

What Makes the Miller Method Unique

The single most unique and important aspect of the Miller Method (MM) is its work with systems. But what is a system By system we mean any organized behavior with an object or event that the child produces. Even upsetting behaviors such as throwing or dropping things, opening and closing doors, or lining things up are systems, although they do not seem to others to serve any particular function. We are interested in such behaviors because they are directed, are organized, and lead to some...

Expansions for the scattered child

The expansions are basically the same for the scattered child with system-forming disorder as they were for the ritual-captured child with closed system disorder. Instead of letters and numbers, you work with bottles (or whatever objects you used to establish the basic system). In general, the scattered child needs more hand-over-hand assistance and more repetitions both to form a new system and to incorporate new expansions. Each expansion usually requires more time and might not go as...

Other features of the Elevated Square

The two-and-a-half-feet height of the structure places most three- to six-year-old children at or near eye level with most adults making it easier to establish eye contact with the children. The short side connectors of the square are removable, making it possible for the therapist to stand in the middle in easy reach of the child. Removing a side connector also creates a U shape in which the child must make a detour in order to get to a desired person on the opposite side. The steps used with...

Videoconferencing Miller Method consultation

For the last ten years the LCDC has perfected methods for delivering consultation and treatment to schools and families remote from the center with the help of videoconferencing (VCO) technology. Recently, in addition to videoconferencing work with schools and families in six states, the LCDC has expanded its VCO capability to include families in Israel and the Alia Center for Early Intervention (for autistic children) in the Kingdom of Bahrain. VCO sessions for schools range from one to four...

Holding or perseverating with objects

Often the children need to hold particular objects throughout the day. Alternatively, they may be repetitively involved with one or more objects such as flicking light switches on and off, opening and closing doors, or lining things up. Tantrums frequently occur when the children are required to give up an object or transition from one activity (system) to another. Children may need to hold their precious objects because doing this provides them with comfort as well as a limited but predictable...

Using object replicas

In the preceding chapter I described the use of the template calendar to help the children forecast what events are scheduled next in the course of the day. The template calendar is to the extent it forecasts for the children what is to happen next an early form ofsymbolic reference. Object replicas like those used with the template calendar may also be used by the children to help them spontaneously represent their experience. This is done with the help of an exact replica of the Elevated...

Transforming systems

The general mission with this set of strategies is to find ways to channel the energy used by children with autism to maintain their rituals into systems which are both flexible and interactive. When this succeeds, the child develops a repertoire of new ways to interact with people. This new repertoire combined with the high support high demand attitude on the part of caregivers and professionals, enables the child to move closer to typical functioning. However, before the child's systems can...

Arnold Miller

Forewords by Diane Twachtmon-Cullen and Stuart G. Shanker The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome ISBN-13 978 1 84310 495 7 ISBN-10 1 84310 495 4 A Guide for Parents and Professionals ISBN-13 978 1 85302 577 8 ISBN-10 1 85302 577 1 Lone Gammeltof and Marianne Sollok Nordenhof Translated by Erik van Acker ISBN-13 978 1 84310 520 6 ISBN-10 1 84310 520 9 Practical Sensory Programmes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Special Needs ISBN-13 978 1 84310 479 7 ISBN-10 1 84310 479 2

Three Children on the Autism Spectrum

These three children showed different system dispositions and varied levels of reactivity to their surroundings One child, Damon, three and a half years old, we have discussed in terms of transforming his lining-up-blocks system (see Figure 4.1). But, for Damon, transforming his systems is not enough. He needs help filling in developmental gaps through the creation of new systems. Jim, six years old and diagnosed autistic with system-forming disorder, seems oblivious and completely unresponsive...

Training workshops

Miller with members of his staff conducts an intensive four-day training workshop in the Miller Method approach. Workshops are conducted either live at the LCDC or by videoconferencing. Parents of special children may attend at a reduced rate. This workshop is the first phase leading to certification in the Miller Method . Certification entails closely supervised work with children with both closed system and system-forming disorders. The trainee must demonstrate...

Two Ways Of Applying The Mm

In working with autistic children using the MM, two sets of strategies are employed. One, transforming systems, is used when the child has preexisting although aberrant systems the second, creating systems, is used to establish new systems. Transforming systems means that one takes the disordered systems that the child brings to the situation and attempts to transform them into more functional activities that serve a particular goal. Creating systems, on the other hand, refers to a set of...

Toileting

Many of the children come to school unable to toilet themselves an issue of much concern for parents, many of whom have younger children in addition to their disordered child. Complicating the issue is the fact that many nonverbal children have only limited awareness of their bodies. If a child does not react to pain when he or she falls over, for example, the probability is that the child will not be sensitive to pressures from the bladder or colon indicating a need to urinate or defecate. The...

The Sign And Spoken Language Program

Use of manual signs adapted from American Sign Language (ASL) and paired with spoken words is an important strategy in Miller Method (MM) programs for developing communicative capacity. Signs are often readily grasped because they resemble the events they represent. The Sign and Spoken Language Program (SSLP) extends the work described in Chapter 4 (Getting Started with the Miller Method ) and Chapter 5, on the Elevated Square. This program presents the manual signs in a way that takes into...

List of Tables

1.1 Contrasting children with closed system and system-forming disorders 31 3.1 General strategies used during the Miller Umwelt Assessment 44 10.1 Concepts in four categories introduced in the Sign and Spoken Language Program 10.2 Phase 1 Words taught by transforming pictures into printed words 241 10.3 Phase 3 Letter-sound relations blended into words 245 11.1 Achievement of signs and spoken words by 19 nonverbal autistic children 246

Representational drawing

Just as it is impossible to predict precisely when a child will cross the gap from actions to names (as in the Helen Keller insight described in Chapter 8), so there is no way of knowing when the child will shift from even the most elaborate complex of lines, dots, and circles into the first representational drawing. One child spontaneously achieved representation when, in the course of drawing curved lines, he remarked that he was drawing peeing. Apparently, the curved lines reminded him of...

Symbolic Functioning

Does the child match pictures to objects Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 78. If so, does he she understand that it is possible to point to a picture to express his her wish for that object Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 79. Does the child scribble on paper Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 80. Does the child complete a drawing of a face if the teacher or caregiver draws a circle with some of the facial parts put in Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 81. Does the child draw...

Contents

FOREWORD BY DIANE TWACHTMAN-CULLEN 13 FOREWORD BY STUART G. SHANKER 14 Part I About Children's Systems 21 Chapter 1 What Makes the Miller Method Unique 23 Chapter 2 Children as Victims or Masters of Their Systems 34 Chapter 3 Searching for Capacity 42 Chapter 4 Getting Started with the Miller Method 69 Chapter 5 Elevating the Special Child Creating an Enhanced Reality 89 Chapter 6 Exploiting Systems to Develop Social Capacity 110 Chapter 7 Prelude to Communication, by Kristina Chr tien 137...

Tantrum utilization

The treatment strategies described here under the heading of tantrum utilization allow parents or professionals to use parts of a child's tantrum to help the child become organized. These strategies work best in a one-to-one situation between therapist and child or between parent and child. One utilization strategy effective with children who have some receptive understanding involves narrating the child's tantrum. Here, the therapist might say, Daniel is very upset. He is kicking his feet,...

Recommendations

To help empower Monte and at the same time teach him how his hands work, he needs to be introduced hand-over-hand to a variety of activities common to children aged from 12 to 18 months. He needs to learn how to pick up and drop objects, to squeeze water out of sponges, to push over blocks, and to carry relatively heavy objects (taped phone books are fine) from one place to another. While he is doing these things, his parent or therapist should be narrating the behavior, for example Monte picks...

The pull of context

Still another aspect of the relation between the sign word and its object is the child's experience of objects as locked into their familiar settings. For them, it is as if the object and its usual context are one entity. Place the object in a new setting and the object may suddenly not exist for them. Tito, the nonverbal autistic boy from India who learned to communicate his experience in writing (Mukhopadhyay 2000), described what it felt like to see his familiar toys in the new home his...

The Cognitivedevelopmental Art Program

Based on the work of Kellogg (1970), and her belief that scribbling offers a way to discern more clearly children's developing vision and mental processes, we have been using scribbling spheres as a way ofencouraging the development of symbolic functioning. It seemed likely that a cognitive-developmental art program (C-D AP) could help disordered children develop a transition to representational drawing. In proceeding, we assumed that scribbles were to graphic symbols what babbling was to...

The Childs Disorder Is Not The Fault Of Parents

It is completely understandable for parents to take their child's unrespons-iveness as a rejection. However, it is important to get past this notion as soon as possible for two very important reasons. First, the child's aberrant, non-responsive behavior is not a rejection of parents or caregivers and the child tends to behave like this with everybody. The distressing behaviors of self-preoccupation, eye avoidance, and failure to respond to affection are part of the child's bioneurologically...

The Grand Central Station strategy

This strategy gains its name from the hubbub which occurs as groups of hurried people at the station work around each other to go to their different destinations (see Figure 6.2). Similarly, a child's awareness of other children can often be improved by dividing a class of six children so that three are crossing a 14-inch wide elevated board two and a half feet above the ground in one direction, while the other three children are trying to get past them to go in the opposite direction. In order...

The can do board

Another way to accent the child's body experience and his or her competence is to establish a can do bulletin board for the child. Each child in the class should have a can do board with photographs of the child showing him or her performing different activities. These can include riding a tricycle or bicycle, carrying something, pushing, pulling, going down the slide, washing the blackboard, cleaning up a mess, and so forth. Periodically, the teacher should add new pictures to each child's...

Teaching the Child to Cope

As a small child I remember struggling to open a large, heavy, metal door at the entrance to my apartment building. For a time, I could only pull the door open a few inches not enough to slip inside before it would close. One day, after tugging at the door handle with all my strength, the door creaked open enough for me to enter. Long after I could open that door with ease, I continued to recall the pleasurable sense of competence that opening that heavy door had induced within me. (A.M.) The...

Teaching the child to hear and be guided by your requests

Before a special child can be guided by the spoken word she must first experience the spoken word as part of the action-object ritual with which she is engaged. The principle of inclusion accounts for how this occurs. Essentially, the principle of inclusion (Miller and Eller-Miller 1989, 2000) states that when a spoken word is paired with an action-object system (ritual) the child begins to experience the word as an integral part of that ritual system. Then, when the word is presented by...

Kinds of expansions

As briefly described in Chapter 1, expansions include the introduction of people, location, object, and position changes1 within the child's systems. Of these, the most important given the nature of the child's encapsulation is people. Once a child like Damon accepts a person into his previously solitary engagement with lining things up, the activity becomes interactive because it now involves the child and another person a significant step forward for children with this disorder. In addition...

Foreword

An earlier work by Arnold Miller and his late wife, Eileen Eller-Miller, From Ritual to Repertoire A Cognitive-Developmental Systems Approach with Behavior-Disordered Children, captured my attention in the early 1990s. I found its theory-into-practice approach both intriguing and fascinating. This new work by Dr. Miller builds on the core view regarding the education and treatment of children on the autism spectrum expressed in his earlier book, and does so in a manner that is even easier to...

Brief History

The Language and Cognitive Development Center (LCDC) has metamorphosed several times over the last 41 years. In 1965 my wife, Eileen Eller-Miller, a speech and language pathologist, and I, a clinical psychologist, started a private practice specializing in children with developmental and communication issues. This practice expanded rapidly. Wishing to become a research as well as a service center, we decided in 1971 to become a nonprofit entity and, at the same time, to apply for and become a...

Sad Story

Some years ago working as consultants my wife and I were asked to observe the independent functioning of a class of eight developmentally delayed children ranging in age from 8 to 12. All the children were seated around a large table. Each had a large reference book and a notebook in which they were carefully writing. Periodically, one or the other would reach for and open the large reference book, move an index finger down the page, stop at a certain point, and then carefully write in the...

Necklaces or ties

Another useful strategy for establishing self-other awareness is having the children take turns with the therapist in placing neckties or necklaces around each other's necks. In doing this the child must take into account the existence of the therapist and the precise location of his or her head. A useful expansion is having the child place the necklaces around the heads of different designated people situated around the square. The therapist points at and names each person. The child must then...

Disadvantaged preschool children

A doctoral dissertation involving a field application of SA was conducted by Messier (1970) with five-year-old economically disadvantaged children enrolled in Head Start Programs in Brockton, Massachusetts. Using control and experimental groups (20 children in each), Messier found that children taught with the SA Program achieved significantly higher gains on Metropolitan Readiness and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Tests than those children exposed to conventional readiness preparation for the...

Getting Started with the Miller Method

If I'm in his way he walks over me as if I am a piece of furniture. When he does look at me he seems to look right through me as if I'm transparent. These are some of the poignant comments that parents have shared with us over the years. The challenge is to help the special child come alive or to break through so that when one knocks, someone answers. But what does a breakthrough mean It means several things. It means that the child responds to parents and familiar...

Large Scale Miller Method Study

Recently, a large study using the Miller Diagnostic Survey (MDS) with parents of 71 children on the autism spectrum (Miller, Shore and Rankin 2006) documented gains of children from four schools using MM programs. Parents filled out the MDS's 107 questions covering children's functioning in body organization (gross and fine motor), problem solving, receptive and expressive communication, and symbolic functioning. The MDS was filled out by parents both before and after their children were in an...

Aberrant Behavior

The child twiddles or spins certain objects that he she comes across. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 94. The child rocks, arm-flaps, or walks on toes. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 95. When distressed the child hits self, bites hands, bangs his her head. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always 96. In a new setting the child will either repetitively run in circles or run from one wall of the room to the other. Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always

Systems For The Scattered Child Systemforming Disorder

We now go on to the scattered child on the autism spectrum. In doing so let's first reiterate that most children do not fit neatly into any of the categories. Most often what we find is a child with an emphasis on one kind of pattern but who nevertheless shows properties of the other pattern. It is, for example, not unusual for a scattered child while showing primarily scattered behaviors to sometimes shift to behavior suggestive of the ritual-captured child. That is, the child may run around...

Combining scribble spheres

If each introduced scribble is considered a minisphere, then combining different scribbles produces a multisphere in that each scribble is arbitrarily related to another. In helping children achieve scribble combinations lines going through circles, dots inside circles each scribble is best interrupted at Single vertical line Single horizontal line Single diagonal line Single curved line Multiple vertical line Multiple horizontal line Multiple diagonal line Multiple curved line Roving open line...

Learning how things work

Andy, an autistic five-year-old, limited-verbal child, made a dramatic shift from a child who groaned, cried and hung on his mother wheneverdemands were made of him, to a highly focused, competent child with the help of two chairs and a table with removable legs. Andy's groaning and whining disappeared as he watched, wide-eyed, while we pulled the legs one at a time off the chairs. We then gave him a hammer and helped him hammer each chair leg back into its proper slot. When the legs were...

Systems For The Ritualcaptured Child

Children like Damon (described in Chapter 5) usually have developed a number of simple, repetitive action-object systems (rituals) by the time they are three years old. They show strong preference for specific objects and become intensely focused on them. They might also become fixated on certain repetitive actions such as throwing objects. Other things which often seem to capture them are ceiling fans, running water (including toilet flushing), and swinging doors. The Wheel of Fortune is...

Teaching For Relevance

Teaching for relevance depends on three things 1. knowledge of the children's developmental and learning needs 2. knowledge of how to present materials to address these needs 3. adopting an I'm from Missouri stance in which the teacher assumes that the children do not understand what is being taught until they clearly demonstrate that they do. Often, the way material is presented can make the difference between a child getting it and simply echoing what has been said. In this chapter I...

Subject Index

Action-object systems 64-5, 113, 272 becoming part of 113-16 inserting therapist into 168-9 for scattered child 157-9 action systems 23, 24, 43-5 action words 100 communicating with 182-3 meaning of 255-6 signs for 172-3 addition and subtraction 247-9 anticipation of events 207-8 applied behavior analysis (ABA) 17 architecture 275 assessment instruments Miller Diagnostic Survey 57-65 Scale 43-55 Systems Analysis 55-7 attacks, transforming 77 autism, approaches to 16-17 awareness of others 38,...

Mapping the classroom

Just as the parent can help the child map familiar spaces at home, so may the teacher help the child map the classroom. In building a classroom map it is useful to have small photos of salient items in the room. Children can move the photos around on an outline representing the classroom and place them in the correct relative position to the real objects in the classroom. Then, in addition to repairing the messed up classroom, the teacher introduces treasure hunts, where children have to locate...

System functioning

Over the years we have found that children on the autism spectrum seem to emphasize one of two ways of dealing with objects and people in their immediate surroundings closed system disorder and system-forming disorder (see Chapter 1). Randy's behavior clearly fits with the closed system disorders. Our experience with such children is that they can often make rapid progress in all sectors if there is a knowledgeable therapist available to help the child expand and complicate systems and learn...

See you

This intervention is useful for children who have achieved some verbal capacity. It may be used in two ways 1. During the morning orientation, each child is called up to the teacher who sings the hello song, including the name of the child, while tapping him or her on the chest, and also sees and reports something distinctive about the child a new haircut, a new pair of shoes, or simply the color of the child's shirt. Just as the teacher sees different aspects of the child, the child is...

Autistic and schizophrenic children

A field application of SA with severely disordered children (E.E. Miller 1970) was conducted at the League School of Boston with ten children (mean CA eight years seven months). Eight of the ten children had been unable to achieve any measurable skill in reading and writing at the time the program was initiated. After ten months of SA training, seven of the eight had made substantial gains in reading and writing and had improved their Metropolitan Readiness Test scores a mean of 23.6 percentile...

Steps in developing functional use of a rake

Establish a repetitive system with small objects (blocks or discs in a bottle, pegs in a pegboard, etc.). Do location expansion with the small object so that the child must reach for it in order to complete the system. Interpose a rake with its arm around the small object (which is now out of the child's reach). Place the child's hand on the rake, and initiate small pulling motions until the child takes over. Usually that is all that is required for the child to start using the rake adaptively...

Becoming part of the childs actionobject systems

The mother can become part of these systems in a variety of different ways. For example, if the child is engaged in lining up blocks, as we described in Chapter 5, the mother becomes the repository of all the blocks the child needs. In order to continue lining up blocks the child must come to her to get them. As the child reaches for the block, the mother holds it in front of her face so that the child inadvertently looks at her face as well as at the object. If the child is engaged in opening...

Representing and accenting the bodyself

Once the child achieves basic body awareness, it is helpful to have the child represent himself or herself and others in drawings. Teaching children to represent themselves and others helps the child to conceptualize himself or herself as a separate being in relation to others. To make progress with representation and in the ability to shift to the other's perspective the children need to first be able to discriminate body parts and distinguish them from those of another person. They must also...

Physically engaging the child

The range of activities important for the mother to use during this phase which were described in Chapter 5 in the vignette about Damon include face-touching, restabilizing, tickling, peek-a-boo, chase games, I'm going to get you as well as body games such as getting the child's nose, foot, arm, and so forth. Of these activities, mutual face-touching (see Figure 6.1) is particularly important since the rhythmic face- touching abruptly interrupted by the adult blowing on the child's hands...

Signwordguided vs contextguided children

If a child has developed a stable reference between a sign word and its object independent of the surrounding context we refer to that child as word-guided. If, on the other hand, a child's ability to refer to an object depends on a fixed context (as in the example above) we refer to the child as context-guided. A context-guided child has not yet found a way to firmly hold the meaning of the sign words heard. Consequently, when the child hears the request to give or bring an object, the...

Hide and seek

This is more advanced than the peek-a-boo game and is more difficult to establish. Usually a child will have little difficulty with the seeking part of the game, but will have more difficulty grasping the concept of hiding. Often when a therapist is seeking the child and wondering out loud if the child is under the table, in the closet, etc., the child will then yell out to let the seeker know where he or she is. In addition, the concept of hiding from the seeker is difficult for the child....

Exploiting Systems to Develop Social Capacity

A mother knowledgeable about psychological issues observed her four-year-old son carefully sawing an earthworm in half with a sharp piece of stone. Immediately, she worried about her child's sadistic tendencies and thought about therapy for him. As he completed the separation, he very softly started to speak. She leaned closer and heard him say, There, now you have a friend. Like the mother described above, we need to make certain that the inferences we make about our special children are...

High risk firstgrade children

This second SEIMC-sponsored class was termed a high risk first grade because the 12 children in it had spent two years in kindergarten, had low readiness scores, or were considered poorly motivated. The mean chronological age of the class (six years nine months) was closer to the norm for children beginning second grade than first grade. The teacher reported that by the end of the ten-month program, all of the children were well into second-grade-level reading materials. The SEIMC report...

Summary of the process for establishing motherchild bonding

The mother can physically engage her child through (a) face-touching and restabilizing (b) rough-and-tumble play with tickling (e) playing a chase game (I'm going to get you ) 2. Catalogue the child's action-object systems. 3. Become part of the child's action-object systems by (a) becoming essential to the child's lining-up systems (b) becoming part of the child's repetitive rituals (appear behind the door the child opens and closes) (c) carefully intruding into the child's space during...

Mapping the childs space

The query of a parent and my response to it indicate a child's problem with space and how this might be resolved at home My little girl with special needs 26 months old screams and tantrums when she has to leave the bathroom or kitchen to go to her room. What can I do to help her For your daughter the different spaces in your home may seem disconnected from each other. That means that leaving thefamiliarspace of bathroom and kitchen may be for her like walking off the end of the earth. You can...

For The Teacher

Sam and the Boys may be read in conjunction with children who have had training in lessons 16 through 20 of the Symbol Accentuation Reading Program. Alternatively, it may be read as an introduction to these lessons. To help the children gain as much as possible from Sam and the Boys, the teacher reading the story should pause at appropriate places to provide the children with opportunity to make the relevant sound effects. The sounds in the order they appear in the story are as follows

Building structures

With a series of planks 18 inches long, 5.5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches thick, it is possible to build different kinds oftowers as well as a tunnel. To build the tower, the adult first places two of the boards parallel to each other and then helps the child place the next two parallel but at right angles to the first (see Figure 9.3). This pattern is alternated until the child has a substantial structure on which he or she can stand to be as tall or taller than Mom or Dad or tall enough to...

Getting the child to trade objects

Up to now, we have described how with the use of a cup or other vehicle we can teach the child to come to us for a needed object. More challenging, however, is teaching a child to understand the concept of a trade where the child gives one object in exchange for another. To help the child exchange objects and to get something she needs while giving something to the other person, we again organize the interventions around the child's ritual. Start by setting up, for example, two puzzles one for...

Social Gains Among Typical Infants

Ross and Kay (1980) conducted a study using a procedure involving the systematic use of interruption with 16 typical infants 12 months of age. Ross and Kay's study supports the present view as to the efficacy of interrupted systems in developing referential function. They reported as follows The infants spent an average of 12 minutes playing with one of two adults (one male, one female) who were strangers at the beginning of the study. Typical games included playing peekaboo, passing a ball...

Four Ways Of Interacting With Another Person

Unless a child learns various ways of interacting with others particularly other children he or she is at a loss. Sometimes children with autism, wishing to play with and interact with other children, but not knowing how, will interact inappropriately by jumping on or hitting other children. Our children need to learn the rules of the game and to gradually learn to see things from the perspective of the other, if they are to make it with other children. The four interaction skills the children...

Searching for Capacity1

Our task is to help the children use every capacity or fragment of capacity to cope with a confusing and inconstant world. Our search for children's capacities is essentially a search for the kinds of systems a child brings to a situation we need to know to what extent a child is dominated by his or her systems. Is there enough body-world separation to permit the child to explore his or her new surroundings We need to know about the relative rigidity of these systems, their complexity, and the...

Competing

The competition cup game is effective with special children who have some dawning awareness ofthe other person as an independent being. The goal for the competition cup game is to set up a situation in which the special child can compete first with the therapist and then with another child to gain a desired object under a cup. There are two phases involved in setting up the competition cup game The first phase establishes a need for an item under a cup the second involves competing for that...

Deaf children

Two complete SA Programs were made available to St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo, New York, with the open-ended instruction to use the materials in any way that might seem useful with deaf children at different ages. Subsequently, four teachers used the materials in highly individual ways with their children. The SEIMC report stated Teachers of deaf children were quite excited about the SA Program's ability to induce progress among children they could not previously move. The teachers...

Motherchild Bonding

The failure of mother-child bonding to take place is one of the tragic effects of classical infantile autism as described by Kanner (1943). It is devastating for a mother to find that she is not a special person for her child. One mother, alarmed by her son's retreat and her loss of eye contact with him, consulted with me and then wrote to describe how it had changed her approach with her two-and-a-half-year-old child, Joshua. Thank you for your suggestions about making contact with Joshua....

Representing child with adult in drawings

In later sessions, stand next to the child so that both of you face the mirror. Indicate with gesture and pointing that your image is bigger than the child's. On another large sheet of paper see if the child can represent this distinction of you being bigger next to a smaller image of the child. This is more difficult and may take a number of sessions to achieve. If the child cannot do this, draw two circles one should be higher on the page to represent you, the teacher (or parent) the other...

Kristina Chrtien

In this chapter, I will share with you some of the systems (activities) that I have found helpful when working with children with autism at the Language and Cognitive Development Center (LCDC). In the previous chapters, you have become familiar with two types of children on the autism spectrum the ritual-captured child (closed system disorder), and the scattered child (system-forming disorder). Though no one child fits perfectly into either of these categories, these divisions are helpful when...

Preface Beyond Compliance

Profoundly disordered children on the autism spectrum are often intimidating to both the parents who live with them and the professionals who try to help them. Faced with the range ofbehavior the children present, professionals often ask themselves, Where do I start Complicating things further, the child is often very appealing, perhaps beautiful, but behaves as if the people around him or her do not exist. The felt need is to elicit some kind of response a fleeting glance, a smile anything...

Im going to get you

Threatening to catch the child and tickle or bounce him or her is an excellent way to stimulate heightened awareness that both the child and you exist and that you will catch the child if he or she doesn't quickly run away from you. When the child runs away giggling and looks over a shoulder to see how close you are to catching up, the game is going well. An important variation of the game is to make it reciprocal Just before you catch the child, suddenly turn and start to run in the opposite...

Peekaboo game

This is an excellent game for developing self-other awareness among many young children on the autism spectrum. After playing rough and tumble for a few minutes, interrupt the play by suddenly dropping a cloth over your face. When the child removes the cloth say, Here is Mommy (etc.). Later, place the cloth over the child's face and ask, Where is David When the child pulls the cloth off his face, tap him on his chest and say, There is David Still later you can begin to merge this game into hide...

Levels of signword guidance

An autistic child may have sufficient sign word guidance to give a requested object when that object is in its familiar place in the room but not outside that room. More advanced is the child who when the object is requested can get an object from another room as long at that object is in its familiar place (milk in the refrigerator shoes on the floor) but is at a loss when the requested object cannot be found in its expected place, such as when the shoes are on the table. Most advanced is the...

Noting the childs actionobject systems

Autistic children who fail to bond with their mothers often have an array of action-object systems that exclude people. These may include lining up blocks, animals, cars, etc. repetitive throwing of blocks or scribbling endlessly pouring water from one cup to another flicking light switches flushing toilets or opening and closing doors. Once the mother with the help of a trained therapist has catalogued the different action-object systems in the child's repertoire, the next task is to find ways...

Elevating the Special Child Creating an Enhanced Reality

I stand there screaming my lungs out 'Stop Stop ' but he keeps chasing those birds right into the traffic. Finally, thank God, somebody grabs him and brings him to me Another time he's gotten himself all wet and dirty splashing in a puddle not 20 feet from me. I say 'Mike, come Come to Mommy ' but he just ignores me. Incidents like those cited above are typical of the reports which mothers of some special children have shared. Sometimes mothers attribute their child's failure to respond to...

Cooperative interaction

The essence of cooperative interaction takes place when an adult and child (see Figure 6.4), or two or more children, must combine their efforts in order to achieve a particular outcome. For example, in the course of repairing the messed-up classroom (see Chapter 1), teachers turn over some rather heavy tables and desks. Righting this furniture requires two or more children to work cooperatively under the teacher's guidance. The same principle may be applied when there is a need to push a heavy...

Children as Victims or Masters of Their Systems

Asked why he repeatedly flapped his arms, Mike, a 12-year-old autistic boy, replied, It helps me to think. As we compare the involvement with various systems ofautistic children with that of typical children, it becomes clear that while typical children are generally in charge of their systems, autistic children are generally dominated by them. The following vignettes of three children (one typical, two autistic), who were observed after being given a pile of assorted blocks, illustrate the...

Elevated Boards And Sign Language With 19 Nonverbal Autistic Children

The 19 nonverbal autistic subjects who participated in cognitive-developmental training (Miller and Miller 1973) represented a population of the most severely disordered and unresponsive children from four therapeutic centers. All had little or no ability to understand or use spoken words when they began the program. The median chronological age of the 12 boys and 7 girls was 11 years. Training over a median of 13 months included regular sessions on elevated structures. On these structures,...

Coping With The Environment

Children on the autism spectrum are often lost in space because they lack the ability to ground themselves in their immediate realities. Consequently, they may not understand the layout of their house or apartment, or how to move from one room to another. In school, they may not understand, for example, the relation ofthe classroom to the entrance ofthe school building. The Elevated Square, because of its predictability and circumscribed area, is an ideal vehicle for teaching the children how...

Establishing the childs awareness of you as a source of information about the needed object

Toward the end of the first year, the average child will start to interact with people around an object. The child hands you her empty bottle and expects it back filled with milk, or she hands you her juice bottle and expects you to open it and give it back to her. But she also hands you objects for no obvious reason other than the novelty of watching the object pass back and forth between herself and the other person. This hand-to-hand exchange is one of the pre-language communication...

Creating Systems

Transforming behavior, by itself, is not sufficient to move children with autism forward. What is also needed is a way of dealing with developmental gaps or lags. The children need to develop an array of systems that are common to typical development. These may include body systems, such as how to hop or skip or object systems, where the children learn how, for example, an inclined plane works, or how tools work as extensions of the body. To build these systems, you will often have to use some...

Awareness Of Self And Other

The fragility of autistic children's sense of body self is suggested by the following question posed by a parent My seven-year-old limited-verbal child on the autism spectrum becomes distressed in movie theatres yet enjoys watching television at home. When taken to SeaWorld and Disney World he becomes very upset when taken into a dark enclosure or tunnel and begins crying and stating No Out until he is taken back outside. Why does he react like this Many children on the autism spectrum have a...

Disrupting clothing or accessories

This next intervention helps establish awareness of the other. Some years ago, while consulting at a program for children on the autism spectrum, on a whim Figure 6.2 Simulating Grand Central Station at rush hour Figure 6.2 Simulating Grand Central Station at rush hour I put on a baseball cap cocked sharply to one side. Abruptly, a 14-year-old boy with autism who had been quietly rocking about 20 feet away dashed toward me, straightened out my cap, and then ran back to where he had been to...

Developing tool use

Tools may be thought of as extensions of the body. Using a stick to bring an out-of-reach ball or object closer occurs, according to Uzgiris and Hunt Figure 9.1 Ben, an autistic boy, being taught the inclined plane by his therapist Figure 9.1 Ben, an autistic boy, being taught the inclined plane by his therapist (1980), in typical development when the child is about ten months of age. Yet many autistic children ages three and older have still not achieved this basic skill. The children's...

Functional Use Of Tools And Objects

Teaching autistic and other special children how things work is another important way of building a child's sense of competence and strengthening the body self concept. For example, some nonverbal autistic children cannot use a rake to bring an out-of-reach object closer. Others cannot use a doorknob to open a door or open a multi-turn jar. To use a doorknob the child must learn to both pull and turn since neither single action will open the door. Similarly, to open a multi-turn jar, a child...

Scattered and disconnected behavior

Scattered children turn toward any stimulating event, without becoming involved with any of them. Often, for example, when presented with puzzles, children with system-forming disorder show a disconnect between their eyes and hands their eyes looking one way while their hands fumble with the puzzle. Scattered behavior implies that the child has not been able to integrate, sequence, or motor plan various steps of an activity in order to form an integrative activity (system). To help the child...

Range of scribbles

Each week the teacher introduces new scribbles. For example, Week 1 might introduce the children to the line. The process used could be drawing lines on paper (Figure 10.6) with markers, crayons, or pencil, using line strips of paper pasted in collages or lines, or using painted lines on paper. The teacher introduces a particular scribble working hand over hand with the child while saying, Line, line, line. or using a straight edge for support until the child takes over the activity. The...